The frog foot, the fishtail, and the swirl. They sound like the latest dance moves, but in fact, they are just a few of the, seemingly, infinite patterns one can produce when practicing ebru, the art of water marbling. Water marbling is the technique of creating patterns by floating color on plain water or on a dense viscous solution known as size. The pattern is then transferred onto a smooth surface.
Traditionally, the images are freeform and abstract in appearance, but the art form has evolved; with contemporary artists creating more stylized patterns and representations of flowers in their work.
Early marbling was executed on paper and the oldest example of ebru is in Istanbul University Library. It is estimated that it was made before 1519. The highly decorative paper was most often reserved for calligraphy and bookbinding for sacred text like the Qur’an. (Click here to see an example)
Today it is still used in fine bookbinding, but you can also see examples of the technique used to lovely effect on fabric and even finger nails; a truly unique spin on the nail art trend. (Click HERE to see the nail marbling videos by Simple Little Pleasures)
For the Weekly Photo Challenge: Infinite, I’m sharing a few shots from a marbling workshop conducted by Eko-Lab and hosted at BLDG 92. With basic instruction and a little practice the workshop participants were able to create their own unique silk kerchiefs. It was a fun afternoon. In the end, all left the workshop with a new fashion accessory, a sense of accomplishment, and some basic skills. Their own imagination will be the inspiration for an infinite number of designs and patterns.
Finally, if you want to see this amazing technique executed, YouTube has many interesting videos. Click HERE to see my search results for ebru art. Click HERE to see my search results for silk marbling.