Ingrid Butler, paper and silk marbler and artist

480 Gate 5 Rd. Studio #302, Sausalito, CA 94965

Tel: 415-383-7213

It all began in my Grandfather Kirkpatrick’s grand old library, dark wood, sliding ladder, and many ancient books that had marbled end papers.

I was smitten by the beauty and visual mystery of these papers beginning and ending each volume. I was ten, and I never forgot the swirls and fine patterns.

Later, at the Rhode Island School of Design where I studied for four years, I searched for information on the technique for the marbling process. No luck, although, I did learn about the wonders of color from Joseph Albers my color theory teacher.

After graduation from RISD, I traveled throughout Italy for three years immersing myself in Italian art and architecture. I did see traditional marbled papers in Venice and Florence, but never found the laboratories where the papers were printed.

Finally, in San Francisco in 1983, I took a marbling class taught by a German woman, Anna Wolf, who had studied with a Turkish marbling master. She influenced my future life.
What joy and excitement I experienced that day. I was consumed by a desire to master the traditional techniques and images of marbling and make them contemporary. I succeeded.

For twenty-six years, I have been a production marbler, creating thousands of decorated sheets for bookbinders, picture framers, paper collectors and art supply stores. Moth Marblers is the name of my business.

My studio in Sausalito is my haven. In this creative space, my keen sense of color and love of design, combine in the creation of fascinating and timeless papers. The modern designs have classical roots, whose patterns range from subtle to bold, and traditional to contemporary.

History: The Persians developed marbling in the 16th century to decorate manuscripts and legal documents. The process was secret.

Process: I float color prepared with ox gall on water thickened with carageenan. Next the colors are teased into patterns, using a variety of tools. Once the desired pattern is achieved, I lay a piece of acid-free paper upon the image floating on the water and then withdraw it. The design is transferred to the paper permanently. The marbled sheet is washed and hung to dry. For the next paper I begin the procedure anew. On a good day, I can create about 50 decorated papers. Then I go home to my “white room” and collapse.

Currently: During the past few years I have made eighteen one of a kind books entitled “Twenty Years of Marbled and Decorated Paper.” The Houghton Library at Harvard University just acquired my first volume which pleases me greatly.


Watch my YouTube video!