Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Paper Marbling Class at Cat Tail Run Hand Book Bindery - A Wonderful Experience

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of taking a class in paper marbling with Regina and Dan St. Johns, of Chena River Marblers, at Cat Tail Run Hand Book Bindery in Winchester, Virginia.   It was so much fun!

Marbling had been suggested to me as a possible demonstration (beside Jeff when he is blackmsithing) at historical events.  While I loved marbling, the 18th-century process can pretty much only be done by a handful of people and I am not one of them at this point!  Dan St. John is one such individual, I should point out.  The historical process is very complex and involves much study and specially-handcrafted paints.  I hope to learn that one day, but suffice it to say, I still have much to learn with modern materials! Neither Jeff nor I believe in trying to teach something we aren't proficient in -- that's not fair to anyone -- so I am tabling the idea of demonstrating marbling for the time being.  Instead, I am going to enjoy it for myself!

Regina and Dan are incredibly patient and skilled teachers, and I thoroughly enjoyed being with them and the other students for two days.  There is a lot of bad marbling out there, and to see it done very, very well was a treat.  And, to learn some pointers from them was even more special!  Students came from all over the country because the St. Johns are so well-recognized in their field.

Some students had taken the same class for the past 4 years!  As for myself, I was a newbie and am still trying to avoid air bubbles in my work, but I improved over the two days and discovered a love of color and a love for the process.   I can't wait to learn more.

And, I want to mention that Cat Tail Run Book Bindery is an amazing place on its own.  Jill, the owner, and her staff are so talented and welcoming that it is a treat to drive down the lane and enter the property, where books are loved and cats roam the property.  While it doesn't come up much, I do have a master's degree in English Literature, so I am very happy among both books and cats!  Jill offers a slew of classes on book binding, as well, if you are so interested.

So, many thanks to Dan and Regina St. John, and Jill and the rest of the staff at Cat Tail Run Hand Book Bindery for a wonderful class in paper marbling!

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