Seaweed as my canvas


Building a design on seaweed

A passion for marbling happened by accident in 2001 when I stumbled across a small book about the technique in a London art shop.

It was shortly after finishing an MA course at Central St Martins. My chosen academic and practical studies centred around finding new ways of working with silk. I had employed a technical design approach and found myself craving the complete opposite, pattern and colour.

On opening the little book I knew I had discovered something exciting.  Co-incidentally I had booked two trips to Italy, the home of traditional Florentine marbling. I also knew instantly that although the designs were magical, I wanted to develop my own approach with the process and work with silk, a fabric I had always painted and printed on from an early age. I have always been entranced by the way it radiates colour and captures light.

It took about two years of experimentation and sourcing equipment and materials from around the globe before I felt I had developed the process in a way that would work in product form. Information and materials were hard to find.

Some of my designs don’t look as if they have been marbled at all, just something very unique. My aim is always that they are beautiful pieces in their own right.

Research and experimentation is never ending. I continually seek new techniques/ processes/ ways of drawing with the size (the gel that I float the colour on). I always question what I can do next and which other textile techniques can be combined. As sustainability is so important to me,( this plays a crucial factor.

Marbling is very clearly a strong trend at the moment. In many ways this is good as people can enjoy and celebrate the beautiful patterning. The downside is that design integrity and approach isn’t always as beautiful as it can be. I know the possibilities!

Marbling is an easy technique to pick up with the right materials, but to master the process with sensitivity, like all things takes time and experience.

Now I sell and license my work internationally and create bespoke limited edition product ranges.


Emma D'Arcey