Monday, 14 November 2011

lets face it,.. we specialise in balls

Dani using her mad skills to round one up. Metallically influenced.

Some photogenic marbles posing for a snap and getting stacked in foam ready for bowerbird.

Completed some Christmas ornaments for an ANZ bank holiday function. We like money'z but don't have much, so when the bank asks for our services we make 150 balls for 12 hours.

The Bowerbird Bazaar was indeed a hit.. Some people still don't understand what we're on about, but, thankfully, more than enough people decided our wares were cool,... even though we are clearly not.

Fine design, made with goo.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

the balls are a rollin

Its a buisy month for the maniacs. But at the root of it all, the making of the marbs.

We've got lots n lots of things a hapnin.
Avant Card has graced us with a massive run of printed postcards that are available for free Australia wide. So, THATS cool! We have gotten some lovely feedback already, keep it comin.

We are completing our first major commission for the Canadream RV Company in Canada.
112 custom coloured marbles for their christmas corporate gifting with fancy bags to boot. going all oevr the world beleive it or not. Thanks Canadream, you are more than swell. We are realising that the realm of corporate gifting might be our golden egg. Our format is so customisable, simple, indestructaBALL and cheap to ship. if you or any one you know wants a run of custom marbles done for the commemoration of any person, event, or achievement.. you let us know and we'll make it a spirally and shiny occasion for you :)

We are also gearing up to slang the spheres at the super rad Bowerbird Bazaar in Adelaide at the end of the month. It located in the old Queens Theatre just off light square downtown,, please come along friday night, sat, and sun all day long! We will have $20-$30 marbles (with a deal on a pair) accompanied by sexy flocked bags printed with our flash new logo, as well as Marble Merchant MAde christmas baubles, fancy glass tumblers, and a few other fancier bits and pieces. Get there.

And lastly a note about shops and purchasing.
We have always considered our marbles to be a strictly 'market' object. We just don't think they will fly with a retail mark up attached. This being said you can count on us to get some sort of online shop thing happening soon (as soon as we get our heads around how to properly catalogue 100's of individual tiny artworks) and furthermore if you or anyone you know would like to buy them for your shop and think you can sell them on for $40-$70 each.. let us know and we'll try to work something out.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

the trick is...

 We make marbles using soft, furnace melted glass. This approach resembles an Italian tradition of glass cane making; wherein glass colours are layered, heated and stretched out into long strips (canes) to be used in subsequent objects and designs. We mimic this process by stacking and arranging the hot glass colours to achieve the marble design we desire.

 in this way, colours are designed and built  from the inside out. We call it 'building stock'.

in most cases, clear glass is added over top of the interior colour construction.

The mass is then heated and pulled into a thick, uniform cane in which the design stretches from end to end.

In the next step we heat up sections of the stock to twist and form the glass by hand into these juicy, colour saturated, spirally spheres! 
However,..we just refer to that part as magic.

To complete each marble, a small stump of glass must be ground away and polished. The stump is the tiny point where each marble is separated from the stock.

First, two grades of abrasive belts get rid of the excess glass and makes the marble round.

then a cork lined belt prepares the surface to be polished.

Lastly, a felt lined wheel embedded with a polishing goo makes the marble all shiny.

Needless to say, each marble gets picked up and loved several times before it gets to sit with the finished bunch. 
This combination of techniques is our appropriation of traditional marble making. Its not the only way and there are many ways to do the dance. We like this way, its funky.

Monday, 30 May 2011

spheres of influence

What are the chances?,
Adelaide artist James Dodd recently completed a sweet mural which included some suits knuckling down on the street!

check out the mural and the rest of his exceptional work on his blog

Friday, 6 May 2011

a fresh approach

Marble Merchants is alive because just the right set of circumstances came together.
it was a combination of,
 2 helplessly addicted glass junkies,
some (not much) exceptional design sense
some (not much) traditional marble making instruction,
lots of collaborative, technical glass investigation,
lots of conceptual brainstorming and product development,
and somehow, amidst that jumble of ambition, we arrived at our style of marble making- A fresh approach to an  ageing object that is due to come back into fashion.
We don't make clouds or constellations or flowers or vortex's
We make Scatterbrains, Bumble Bees, Tiger Stripes and Rainbows!!
a steady blend of old and new.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

For the love of MARBLES!

Welcome to the Marbles Merchants BLOG!
 Posting our exploits as we attempt to take over the world with our crazy twisty balls!!
We are young glass designers from Adelaide and who have become fixed on manufacture of  hand made glass marbles.
Theres just something about them. Marbles have influenced several cultures and have had many uses over time. 3Although 'play' is now commonly synonymous  with 'electric looking screens', we think that marbles are just too cool and quirky to leave behind on the streets in the circles.

So we make new ones!
Our marbz are hand made , one by one at the mouth of a hot glass furnace. They are STACKED with colour! Pattern and twist are paramount in our designs and they can only evolve more magically from here!

We've already done a heap of work on this idea and are set to do heaps more,  please follow along to see what we get up to...