Featured Artists Dean and Linda Moran

Artsy Shark presents the portfolio of Dean and Linda Moran, who have taken their work with fibers and marbling to a new level. Visit their website to more about these fascinating artists.

 

We are self-taught artists, who along the way in our other careers (teaching and retail warehousing) looked for artistic outlets for stress. Dean caned chairs, a lost art he taught himself and then repaired many an antique in New England. Linda dabbled in crochet, needlepoint, pen and ink, until she found her passion in fiber. We joke that if Linda wants to do something, she finds a book about it.

Which is exactly what happened with getting into marbling. Linda was strolling through Ben Franklin on her way to a Bob Ross class when she saw a book on marbling and decided that would be cool fabric for fiber work. Dean spent three months trying to find supplies. When they dropped their first piece of fabric on the paints, they were hooked.

Fast forward to 20-plus years of learning how to marble fabric. Dean is the primary marbler, dropping colors like an expert, which just amazes Linda. She does the completed fiber work, creating pieces that have shown around the country and are in private collections nationwide. This is a complex – and many times unforgiving – process. Watch the Turkish marbles on YouTube and get an idea of what we strive for. We are still learning, paint formulas are changing, pretreatments off-shore are more common, and water supplies can change. Any one of these variables can ruin a marbling session. At one point we went through a “dry” two-year period, where we couldn’t marble anything – streaks, blotches – you name it and we had a problem.

Marbling is very labor-intensive. We pretreat fabric to eliminate sizings and other chemicals, then treat it with alum to help the paint adhere. There’s a lot of ironing for the finished product, especially for fabrics like ultra-suede and velveteen. We have an attitude of “no fabric is safe from marbling.” We have tried all kinds of fabrics and found canvas, duck, and open-weaves don’t work well. There are purists who say only marble on cotton and silk, but we have done some art pieces on satin polyesters that have been gorgeous.

 

 

When we first started, people wanted to know what to do with the fabric. Our first outlet was for quilters, but that soon evolved into an interesting development of fiber art pieces, many of which have been juried into shows around the country. “Nature 1: Rock Garden” was juried into “Expressions in Fibers” in 2003.

 

 

“Nature 3: Alaskan Waters” was juried into Fish Follies at the Cordova HIstorical Museum in Cordova, Alaska, in 2004.

 

 

“Gaia 2: Beginnings” showed at Textures Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, in 2005 and remains one of our favorite pieces. It is a series of woven strips, all machine quilted, that represent the volcanic origins of the earth.

 

 

Our goals continue to be to expand our marbling skills, increase our markets for marbled fabrics, increase gallery representation in fibers, and expand into “Digital Marbling” (TN). Digital marbling is the process of starting with a piece of marbled fabric, deconstructing it in a photo program, and then creating a totally new work of art. “Alaskan Whale” made the rounds of juried shows and was completed with the help of Linda’s digital partner, S. L. Drury of Sedona, AZ.

 

 

“Botanicals 1” is a combination of marbled fabric and flowers photographed by Dean.

Inspiration comes in all forms – we love walking in nature and thinking about how we can take a stream or a rock bed and translate it into marbled fabric. We completed one commission for a Sedona, AZ buyer, who is a hiker. We were able to capture the colors of Sedona, as well as some of the rocky trails.

 

 

We love trying new and unusual fabrics to see what results. We really like to show fiber art to people who are used to seeing paintings. Fiber is a growing field, and the materials are so exciting to use and incorporate into a variety of work. Plus, digital manipulation allows us to take a great piece of fabric and use it for inspiration many times over. Linda recently has been playing with some images from the art deco period. This is an example of marbling incorporated into the initial art deco image.

Retirement brings the time to work together as a creative team. We’re marbling a couple times a week, now that we have the time together, and we foresee many new directions in both fiber and digital art.

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