Marbling is an umbrella term for aqueous surface design techniques. It essentially means you can create a pattern by dropping paint onto a liquid surface. There are two main branches of the art; Turksih Ebru and Japaneses Suminagashi.
Ebru patterns are swirly and colorful, while Sumihashi patterns mostly display black concentric circles. While the two marbling techniques share similarities with other print-making techniques, the concept of transferring paint from a liquid surface to paper and fabric is fundamentally different. Water is in constant flux and it is impossible to fix the paint in specific positions. It rather swirls and rolls on the waves of the water creating fleeting moments of beauty,
which is exactly why we love these mediums.
Ebru - Turkish style marbling
Ebru essentially means "cloud" in Turkish, probably because the floating paint resemble clouds slowly moving across the sky. You have probably seen plenty of Ebru patterns without realising it, as Ebru printed paper was the fashion in book binding up until the turn of the century. Ancient marblers developed techniques that allowed them to repeat an array of patterns on spines, linings and covers of books. Our work, however, looks a bit different than the traditional expressions. Not only have we adapted the materials to a contemporary context, our interest is also not in perfect repetition, but rather the technique’s ability to capture a flash of time. Our curiosity is intrigued by what happens when you leave the marbling tray to itself. Maybe you made a 'classic' print and some paint residual pigments are left on the surface, could those randomly positioned pigments be salvaged and reveal a moment of beauty? Or how long does it take 'time' to shape a beautiful pattern? Sometimes we even add fresh drops of paint onto a 'dirty' tray to see how the new and the old colors interacts. (below you find examples of our work)
Suminagahsi – Japaneese marbling
Suminagashi means “spilled ink” in Japanese and it differs from Turkish marbling in three distinct ways. Firstly, Suminagashi is done on water rather than a thickened liquid. Secondly, the inks traditionally used in Suminagahsi are calligraphy inks made from pine soot, while the Ebru technique allows a range of materials such as gauche, water color and acrylics. Finally the inks are carefully applied to surface by creating concentric circles while in Ebru color is splashed onto the tray. These concentric circles can be manipulated with wind, vibrations and movement creating transient patterns, which can be perpetuated by Japanese paper or fabric with high thread count.