Examples of the marbling designs in original wearable art by Paul and Susan Marling.

“Art is best when worn – a guiding philosophy in creating our hand-marbled wearables,” according to artists Paul and Susan Marling.

The Marlings create their art wearables using the ancient art of marbling.

The earliest known samples of marbling date to 12th century Japan. The technique was known then as “suminagashi,” which means “floating ink,” and was used to create marbled papers.

Similar methods were seen in central Asia, Turkey and India in the 15th century. Because the designs are impossible to recreate, the papers were sometimes used to help prevent document forgery.

By the 16th century, the marbling technique made its way to Europe, where is became popular as a way to create decorative endpapers in books.

The basics of the old techniques are used today for modern fabric marbling.

Each piece of fabric is created by “floating” paints on a liquid in a large tray. The liquid causes the paint to stay on the surface.

Custom-made rakes and combs are pulled through the floating paints to create delicate feathered or swirled patterns.

Then, a piece of white silk is laid directly onto the floating paint pattern. The paint saturates the silk, thus creating an original work of fabric art.

The Marlings then use their one-of-a-kind pieces of fabric to create their unique garments, which they design to accentuate the movement of the paints.

Paul and Susan are inspired by and carefully design their unique color combinations from the beauty they see in nature. As avid hikers, they create to express and give life to all of the colors of each season.

Each garment and accessory is an original that can never be exactly duplicated, allowing the owner to showcase a true piece of wearable art.

Paul and Susan Marling are full-time artists and have been creating their marbled wearables for the past 16 years. They currently work from their home studio in Acworth, Ga.

Their work is available locally at Studio B Marketplace, 1476 Fording Island Rd. in Bluffton.