There always seems to many ideas and not enough time to follow all the threads that new skills and techniques generate! Having been familiar with using ink as a drawing medium,I have been thinking about how the process of suminagashi, and marbling might be incorporated into my existing practice.
Last Autumn I decided to take up the challenge of 'Inktober' (work can be viewed on instagram). The challenge was to produce an ink drawing everyday for the month. This exercise produced a number of drawings - some I consider complete others as 'beginnings'. I decided to experiment by combining the Suminagashi process over the initial marks. I was excited by the combination and feel it has further potential. The Suminagashi marks add a delicate layer of transparent lines. Finally, some of the drawings had a final layer of graphite marks added to make them complete. Definitely something to explore further!
Combining a layer of Suminagashi
Ink drawing, suminagashi, graphite drawing.
Having experimented with Suminagashi, I wanted to learn more about the traditional methods of marbling. Having evolved through the Middle Ages, marbling was once so highly prized artists would jealously guard their processes and designs. My father initially trained as a bookbinder, so I grew up with some the books he had restored. There was always something magical about opening those old books with their beautiful marbled endpapers. I owe my love of art and books to him.
While Suminagashi is a fairly straightforward process and can be easily set up in a studio or kitchen, marbling with carrageenan moss is a more involved process. Size is required to be added to the water to hold the gouache on the surface. There are more variables that can affect the outcome. For the process to be successful the correct balance is essential - for example the temperature can have an influence, as can the hardness of the water used.
However when all is in balance the results can be extremely satisfying. I quickly became absorbed by two particular patterns - the vein and the stone pattern.