Siminagashi Marbling- Day 8

So, you might have guessed it… more ink play! 

Back on day 4, I talked a bit about a technique I discovered while exploring more on the use of alcohol inks.  During that adventure, I discovered the art of suminagashi, or ink floating.  This ancient practice dates back to the 12th century and then latter popped up in Turkey and Persia.  There they added “size” or a water thickener basically so they could float different types of ink to get greater control of the pattern.  That paint marbling is super cool too… but for another day!

As painting marbling spread through Europe, people became very tight lipped with the secrets of how to marble paper.  Marble Masters emerged.  With the invention of the printing press, people slowly revealed the secrets of paper marbling through the 1800s.  Mass printing capabilities all but diminished the need for individually marbled papers and the art form slowly was lost.

Luckily for me, the internet has brought it all back!  I discovered suminagashi inks at Dick Blick along with several tutorials on youtube.  With the right ink, all you really need is water, some brushes and some paper.  So lets check it out!

Fill a clean bin with a couple of inches of water.  All of the tutorials I saw simply floated the ink on the water easily with “any brush.”  With that in mind… I got started!

I tried dropping the ink on the surface using the bottles supplied… they sank.

ink sink

I tried dropping the ink on the paper “floaters” they supplied… they sank.

ink fail 2

I tried very gently touching the ink to the water surface with a paint brush… they sank.

Clearly, something was not right.  So, back to the internet I went.

One place I found the requirement for a surfactant.  One place I found the need for a specific type of brush…  ugh.

Finally, one site said to dilute the ink with both surfactant and water.  The experimenter in me said… hey… give that a try!

So, I added ink and an equal part of water to tiny ink wells I found.  I dipped a watercolor brush and a generic brush into 2 different inks.

It worked!!!

suminagashi ink floating

With that, I started to play.

multi images

And play.

pink and black suminagashi

And play.

When my kids came home…

multicolored suminagashi ink marble

They played!

It seems that this need to add water is a weird thing.  Nearly no where on the internet did I find this requirement and it was not in the instructions that I read.  Maybe in my haste to get started with it all I just missed it!  It was however the difference between my ink sinking and my ink floating!  No surfactant required.

It was so much fun to create beautiful papers and I look forward to using the papers to create other things!    The only question is… what?!

Thanks for stopping by!

7 thoughts on “Siminagashi Marbling- Day 8

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