Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Art of Ebru

In spite of myself, I am attempting to learn a new art form.  Though I told myself that I would not start any new hobbies and stick to the ones I already have invested in, I couldn’t help myself when I saw a Youtube video on Ebru.   Ebru is the art of marbling paper and fabric.  It originated in Turkey and has been around for many hundreds of years. 

The process is fairly simple.  Getting good results is... Well, it’s definitely an art! 

Marbling is accomplished by splattering paint or pigment onto water that is thickened with carageenan.  This is called the size.   Carageenan (aka Irish Moss) is a type of sea weed and is also used as a thickening agent in food.  It’s also hard to come by and it’s not cheap.  Diligent research revealed a more readily available and cost effective substance:  cellulose.  I am using common wall paper paste with reasonable results. 

Once the water is thick – but not too thick! – the fun can begin.  The mess begins as well and I’ll have to rearrange my studio so that I don’t splatter the pieces that are drying on the rack.

After the paint has been splattered a marbling effect is achieved by drawing a thin rod or a comb through it to swirl the paint and make specific patterns.  Then, if one so desires, pictures can be painted on top of the marbled background by dropping tiny blobs of paint onto the water and then manipulating them with the rod into various shapes.  The possibilities are endless.  My abilities are – so far – somewhat limited.

A quick bath in clean water to rinse off the cellulose and the work is ready to dry on a rack.  Later it will be ironed to get rid of the wrinkles and – one day – be framed for display. 

Here are some samples of my first attempts at Ebru...
Here I am drawing flowers
on a marbled background.

And this is what it looks like on the paper.
After drying and ironing, it looks better.  

The "Valentine" after being rinsed
and waiting to dry.  

Hearts still on the size.

With a bit more practice, I’m fairly confident that I will be able to create some interesting pieces.  I might even get brave some day and try making silk scarves.  Maybe!  We’ll see.  That is definitely a down-the-road thing.  

1 comment:

  1. Oh, lovely! You're so creative - and brave!


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