Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Art of Sumigashi

 Look at this flowing decorated paper I just created. Its technical term is Sumigashi, or Japanese water marbling.
I attended a workshop with my local fellow bookmakers. We are always trying to learn a new technique to teach each other and  apply to our handmade books. 
This is a natural extension of my art as a Calligrapher here in Sedona,  creating by hand the vessel to hold my handwritten words. There was also a lesson on how to create this diagonal Pocket folder, which can hold a hand made book or card. Now that was a  lesson unto itself! We put on a backing  to make it into this folded form.Back to the paper...
The process starts with a pan of still water. Into this container I put the tip of a Japanese sumi brush, or its equivalent, which  has as nice pointed tip. Only touching the surface, it will spread out into a circular designs.
Using primarily black ink, we did a lot of experimenting with adding colored inks. They went in bright, but diluted quite a bit with the final rinsing process. I must add I was using a pink paper to start with  since it seemed to hold up better than the thin rice paper, although that does work. Just be careful taking it out. 
The paper is folded and lowered into the pan center first, then the edges at the end.  It is the down side of the paper that will be the printed side we look at.  This is a fun art and definitely Not for those who want control.
I think I will call it the art of the Surprise!


  1. so fluid and calm...thanks for sharing your newest art experience!

  2. Absolutely right up my alley! Love the "accidentally created art form"!
    Must try someday! Home restoration on schedule. Pastel Society International show upcoming - heavily involved. My Best. How is the shoulder?

  3. Used to make marbled-looking paper like this with a water and oil paint process... the oil paint laid on the surface of the water and after the colors were swirled around with a palette knife, I lowered my paper onto the mix for only a few seconds. The results were bright, full of movement and looked like the frontispiece of old books. It's a fun process and you're right, it's full of surprises!