Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An afternoon of Japanese Marbling

Yesterday I decided to do a new batch of Suminagashi papers. Suminagashi marbling is a much gentler and more subtle style of marbling compared with the Turkish Ebru marbling that I do. Both styles have their own beauty - both in technique and results. There's a good website here, suminagashi.com, with a brief history and introduction to the art of Suminagashi. Also, there is one book that you might be able to get, by Anne Chambers, called Suminagashi: The Japanese Art of Marbling.

Suminagashi began in Japan by the 12th Century and is the first known marbling technique. The Turkish method, using paint, emerged a few hundred years later.

Bamboo brushes and ink on water.

Some of the finished papers.


Lucia Sasaki said...

Hi Rhonda!
Greetings from Guarulhos, Brazil!
Thanks a lot for your post, your papers are very beautiful.
I started to learn suminagashi in the last year, in August, when I became very sick and I needed to stay at home. Suminagashi (well, marbling paper at all) helped me to be less harsh with myself, less perfectionist.
Thanks again!

Unknown said...

Morning Rhonda,
Interesting to see your Japanese marbling.
The link was interesting, but just a few questions?
Do you add anything to the water (as you do in turkish marbling)?
If you are using ink do you need to use a dispersant?
Hoping to try some soon

Louise from Sydney

MyHandboundBooks said...

Thanks Lucia and Lousie.

Louise, there is nothing added to the water. Just water. Some inks will float and spread on their own. But usually a tiny drop of dispersant is used, like photo-flo. On that website, there is a step-by-step guide, starting at this link, then click through to step 2, step 3 etc. http://suminagashi.com/step-1-gather-tools-and-materials/.

Salvatore Valentino said...

wonderful papers! I've done Turkish Ebru in the past but I've never tried suminagashi. Your work is kind of inspiring to try the technique! I think as a dispersant you can use also a light solution of liquid dish soap in water to obtain the rings of inks! I've a question: Is it possible to use common pellikan inks? Thank You for your hints!

deemallon said...

oh what beautiful results you achieved! I love how soft the colors are and, of course, how fluid the lines...

MyHandboundBooks said...

thank you Salvatore and Dee.

Salvatore, yes you can use diluted soap as a dispersant. Originally, the Japanese used pine resin, which is obtained by crushing the needles of the pine tree.

I don't know about pellikan inks. But it would be easy to expiriment. If you try it, maybe you can share your results!

It is also traditionally done using calligraphy ink sticks, ground on a stone and mixed with water. Now of course, prepared calligraphy ink is easy to find and it should work well. I use Japanese Boku-Undo inks, which are specifically made for marbling. (A good source of supplies: http://www.colophonbookarts.com/oriental.html)

Unknown said...


Sorry for the misplaced topic. I am in Halifax in late June, which supply stores would you recommend for book binding supplies?

Thanks, Rick

Unknown said...

Sorry for the random comment: Can you recommend some art supply locations in Halifax for bookbinding supplies. I will be visiting end of June.


MyHandboundBooks said...

Rick, there really isn't a great source of supplies here. I buy most of my supplies online. The NSCAD art supply store is the one place that intentionally carries bookbinding supplies. If there is something in particular that you're looking for, I might be able to direct you a bit more.

Unknown said...


noting in particular. Same as you, I am constantly looking for supplies locally and in person. I was just hoping there was something closer than Montreal for Japanese paper and large size containers of PVA. I will check out the NSCAD offerings.


MyHandboundBooks said...

There is a Halifax rep for the Japanese Paper Place - she has an enormous selection. She also carries St Armand papers. Email me (Pertelote@ns.sympatico.ca) if you want her contact info.

amysala said...

Hello, I love your papers, such nice colours. I have had trouble finding the right paper and hoped you could help? watercolour paper doesn't hold the ink at all, rice paper didn't either. the only one that has really worked is photo qulaity inkjet paper, but it's not very interesting as a paper stock. do you think it depends on the ink you use? I've been using India ink. Hope to hear from you... thanks! :-) Amy