Tag Archives: floating ink

The Art of Suminagashi

Suminagashi (“ink floating” or “flowing ink paper”) is the earliest form of Japanese marbling that originated over a 1,000 years ago. Today I attended the 3-hour suminagashi workshop offered by Candace Thayer-Coe in partnership with CBBAG Lower mainland.

The tools are pretty simple. You need a suminagashi marbling kit, rice paper, brushes, big shallow water containers, a piece of plywood.

Suminagashi Suminagashi

The technique is pretty simple. Holding two brushes filled with two different colours, you dip the tip of the brush on the water surface, one hand after the other. The ink creates a circle that floats on water. And you keep alternating hands, in a continuous motion. It’s very meditative.

Suminagashi Suminagashi

One you’ve done enough circles and the surface is filled with ink, you can either place a piece of paper right away to lift the design.

Suminagashi Suminagashi

Or you could chose to modify the design by:

  • blowing gently on it
  • using a fan

Suminagashi

  • or using a piece of your hair to drag the ink.

The hair technique quickly became our favorite methods and was well worth the ‘hair sacrifice’ and the pain from pulling one’s hair.

Suminagashi Suminagashi

Suminagashi  Suminagashi

What surprised us the most was how quickly the design would change. We were creating circles until we were satisfied with the design.

Suminagashi Suminagashi

But by the time you came back from getting a sheet of rice paper, the design was completely different.  The circles had expanded to create marbling shapes.

Suminagashi Suminagashi

The transformation was part of the process. We just had to accept it.

Suminagashi Suminagashi  Suminagashi

The teacher gave us a frame so we could display our artwork.

Suminagashi Suminagashi

It was a fun afternoon. Considering a marbling kit cost less than $20, I would probably do some again.

Suminagashi    Suminagashi

Here are more photos from the class:

Suminagashi Suminagashi  Suminagashi Suminagashi  Suminagashi Suminagashi