Monday, September 7, 2009

The story behind the poster

In all the years that Christopher had marbled it was his greatest wish to one day travel to see collections and meeting other marblers. He had applied to quite a few grands but was rejected every time. I believe it was 1986 that he met Stephane Ipert at Phoebe Easton and the two were talking about traveling together in the future. We didn't have the money for it but in early 1987 I had the strong feeling that we should take that chance financially, pay later for once and go because the opportunity was perfect for him not traveling alone. Many people had thought Chris had already traveled having discovered so much information on the Indian miniatures but it all happened locally. I won't go into detail where he went in May 1987 because he wrote about it in Ink& Gall Recent Travels Vol.11 No.1, 1988. So here just a little story he told me about a paper he gave away in Istanbul. He showed Yilmaz Uyar his marbled papers and suddenly the Gentlemen took one paper and told Chris that he had to have it and that he would see later why. Then in July, a couple of month after Chris returned home a tube arrived showing his paper design and inside a poster. It was a poster of The Great Love of Suleyman the Magnificent. You can see what Mr. Uyar saw in the colors of Chris's papers being similar to the image. What an honor as an American marbler to have his paper chosen. The signed poster reads: "Thanks to Christopher Weimann who is the worlds greatest marbling artist, for his contribution with his work." Yilmaz Uyar, Curator of the exhibition "Suleyman the Magnificent." 7. 7. 1987 Sometimes you have to trust a decision like this trip he took without having the means, in my gut it felt right and I encouraged him to go.
Within a week of Christopher's return we got a notice that he had been awarded a grand from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation for exactly the amount the trip cost him. Looking back now it is a great joy to remember that at least he was able to travel this one time, see collections and meet other marblers'. For him it was always wanting to learn more about the history and to share what he had learned. Even in his last lecture in October of 1988 the month before he passed he said that he was still learning, still searching yet he was the most confident in his lecture than ever before and looking to the future.
I remember a Teacher commenting afterwards that he was impressed that Chris never said "I did this and I did that" but always "We are still learning."'

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Information highway

When Christopher started out in the early 70s it was nearly impossible to find information on marbling and it took us years spending weekends at libraries, book stores, art stores etc. to find not only text but also images. Unless we saw endpapers in old books unaffordable to us we only saw snippets of marbled papers. This was also the major reason to make the samples large in his first book Marbled Papers 1978 so a large surface of a paper could be enjoyed. I doubt very much that Chris would have put in so many years experimenting without seeing anyone else marbling and information so easily at hand today with the click of a mouse; amazing and I wonder what he would think of that. Maybe because it was more mysterious and challenging to say the least he kept going and at first envisioned making a living with it. Eventually as he realized it was impossible to produce papers in an apartment he decided to do research and experiment. Working he took copious notes and often I would sit with him after work taking notes. I even hand copied a lent copy of the Charles Woolnough book, the devoted wife and collaborator and ardent supporter!

A few years ago when Muir Dawson was visiting me and I was looking through a drawer full of notes and papers I came across this recreated marbled miniature made by Chris, he outlined it with gold. I had never seen it before. The original had been published in R.F.Martin's The Miniature Painting and Painters of Persia, India and Turkey. London, 1912.vol.11, page 231 Turkish School. I know it was Chris' goal to make a book with original stenciled and resist technique miniatures and he practiced creating them, sadly his time was cut short but at least I can share his dreams and the one reason I did the Tribute book and gave a few lectures. For him it all had to be a challenge and a learning process and he told me that no other woman would have put up with that but I think to see a creative mind exploring and working at it how better could you share a life!

Again, let me say I do this blog on him and his work from my personel point of view, just to share a little joint history of a marbler and his quest. My rewards are the many friends I have made over the years with marblers. Below on the right a resist he made of me.