Like many others this past long weekend I was fortunate enough to escape the city and get back to nature at a friend’s cottage. I knew going up there that it would be the perfect environment to do some material exploration so I brought along with me our Suminagashi Marbling kit and decided to try my hand at some floating ink marbling.
Our store owner Heather had created some really beautiful samples using our Usu Kuchi Heavy, so I brought some of that along with me as well to test out along with a couple of sheets of our wood veneer. Being someone who enjoys working with natural and found materials I also harvested some birch bark from the woods surrounding the cottage to experiment with.
Heather’s marbling samples using the Suminagashi Marbling kit and Usu Kuchi Heavy.
The marbling kit works by filling a clean shallow pan with water and then dropping the high-grade cosmetic pigment ink onto a small circle of float paper that helps keep them on the surface. The ink can then be swirled and manipulated using a stick or your finger before you place the material (paper, cloth, hide, wood, etc) face down on the ink to let it sink in.
I’ll admit that my first time cottage attempts at marbling didn’t turn out as well as Heather’s samples, but the process of doing it was really fun and I found the contrast of the bright marbled ink on the natural birch to be a really interesting juxtaposition even though the details of the marble didn’t come through as strongly as I had hoped.
My first attempts on paper and wood veneer (which be warned, will curl in the water, but really soaks up the ink nicely).
As far as cottage activities go the Marbling kit was both relaxing and meditative and fun to share with my friends. I can see it being both a great tool for artists wishing to create their own one of a kind patterned paper and a fun activity for kids to experiment with during craft time (the inks are non-toxic so safe for kids 6 and above to use). I’m definitely looking forward to more adventures in marbling and have a newfound appreciation for artists such as Robert Wu, whose prints we carry and sell in store, who have clearly mastered the technique.