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Hello everyone, I've been kicking around this website for awhile now gathering info on my new obsession and decided that it's time to become part of the conversation! My story is as follow... 

While visiting family during christmas 2018 my mother in law was sorting through a box of belongings her parents had given her after recently selling their house. While passing by, a bag of marbles caught my eye, and as i picked them up to examine them she offered them to me.  I felt like i had won the lottery, being a potter who had never even considered clay marbles before, i was immediately struck with curiosity which eventually expanded to full blown marble fever.  This collection was handed down from my wife's grandfather's much older brother, and was clearly the result of hard won games played for keeps.  I later learned that the collection i have is only 1/5 of the original collection (as they divided it among my mother in law's siblings) which I've tried to coax away from each of them without any luck so far.

I do have memories of playing marbles in the halls of my elementary school in the 90's during a marble fad, and specifically remember spilling an losing several of my collection on the school bus on the way home.  I have vague memories of stuffing the remainder of my childhood collection into a time capsule i very effectively hid somewhere on my parent's property.  I have been unable to find this capsule, but I quickly began a new marble collection of my own (keeping grandpa baker's collection separately intact), and as a means of not spending to much money on my collection, began experimenting to make the best clay marbles i could possibly make to supplement my addiction. 

If anyone is interested I do occasionally put some of my marbles on Ebay, but so far i haven't seen much demand for contemporary clay marbles. I would be most interested in trading my handmade marbles for others, but eBay's terms scare people away from this suggestion when i've mentioned it. I'd love some feedback on them, and i'm looking forward to being a part of the community!

 

These are Grandpa Baker's marbles:DSC_4287.thumb.JPG.b90a9f5acd8fc335f5ec4b69265384ec.JPG 

 

and some i've made...IMG_4516.thumb.JPG.09b16528e1fda6c5b325ad5354f82e74.JPGIMG_4544.thumb.JPG.ef53bf4cd1cbf1a6a23d84b992337872.JPGIMG_4534.thumb.JPG.ffded8efc03bc38d249085a6e22bfbf1.JPG

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The older clays were sometimes called "commies" because they were so common.  

I think the ones you made are beautiful. Might take a bit to develop a following but it could happen.      I can think of a couple of makers of ceramic marbles who established their works as collectible. 

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Klay-taw-n you’ve certainly made some interesting looking mibs! They remind me of more colorful lined crockeries or jaspers. Welcome to the board and I hope you have a blast following these little round things...

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Thanks Steph and Royal3,

It has been as much fun for me to make them and see how they turn out as it has been finding jars of machine mades in antique malls. It took a lot of experimentation and trial and error just to get them very close to round and still have crisp lines. I was initially tempted to try to imitate the more classic crockery style, cobalt and copper streaks in a white clay body, but I'm conscious of people reselling them claiming they are antiques, so i've tried to choose colorants that have only become available in recent ceramic engineering history. Although, i've already come across someone on eBay trying to resell some he bought directly from me as "unknown artist unknown age very rare," so the burden of research is always on the consumer... buyers beware!  I pledge to not contribute to any intentional fakery. 

I've done a little bit of research trying to find other contemporary clay marble makers, but so far i've mostly just found people wrapping glass mibs in sculpy... which can have incredible results when done right, but doesn't really interest me. If anyone could recommend some clay artists and makers for me to look into I would appreciate it. I'm always on the lookout for new techniques and inspiration. 

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The past ceramic artists I had in mind who made names for themselves in the marble world were Nadine MacDonald and Tom Thornburgh.  A different style from yours.  

I've sent a feeler to my contemporary guru to see if she's aware of anyone else who might be relevant to you. 


Edit:  the only additional names were for polymer clay guys such as Carl Fisher which I gather is not what you had in mind.

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On 2/25/2020 at 9:27 AM, klay-taw-n said:

Thanks Steph and Royal3,

It has been as much fun for me to make them and see how they turn out as it has been finding jars of machine mades in antique malls. It took a lot of experimentation and trial and error just to get them very close to round and still have crisp lines. I was initially tempted to try to imitate the more classic crockery style, cobalt and copper streaks in a white clay body, but I'm conscious of people reselling them claiming they are antiques, so i've tried to choose colorants that have only become available in recent ceramic engineering history. Although, i've already come across someone on eBay trying to resell some he bought directly from me as "unknown artist unknown age very rare," so the burden of research is always on the consumer... buyers beware!  I pledge to not contribute to any intentional fakery. 

I've done a little bit of research trying to find other contemporary clay marble makers, but so far i've mostly just found people wrapping glass mibs in sculpy... which can have incredible results when done right, but doesn't really interest me. If anyone could recommend some clay artists and makers for me to look into I would appreciate it. I'm always on the lookout for new techniques and inspiration. 

I commend you for your intelligent approach to the market and your attempt to keep it safe - if only all sellers had your scruples! As you’ve unfortunately found such is not the case, there’s always a Fast Buck Freddie out there willing to “screw the other guy and pass the savings on to you.” Keep up the good work and the good fight, and caveat emptor. 
 

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