Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Suminagashi : Marbling with India Ink and Water

I've been wondering what else I can do with the India Ink I used for the 2LO Texture-making class.  Earlier this week, I saw a video about marbling with food coloring on milk, a project you can do with kids when I ran across this video by serendipitous accident, and decided to give it a try.

Here is the tray with paper face-down atop the ink floating on the water.  I could see the ink through the back of the paper.  I expected the ink on the front side to be darker, but it wasn't.

Very simply, here are the steps :
1)  In a tray of water, you drip India Ink onto the top of water -- carefully so the ink stays on top of the water, and doesn't sink below.  No sizing required for this method.  I liked the apparent simplicity.
2) You can move the ink around -- here's where you can marble it, and swirl it, fan it, blow on it ... 
3) Then you pull a print -- kind of like Gelli Printing, except the substraight is gushier (It's water!).
4) The Artist in the video used rice paper, but since I didn't have any, I just used regular printer paper--and was delighted with the results!  Card stock didn't work at all.  The paper needs to be absorbent, so Yupo didn't work very well, either. 
5) Then you set it to dry on a towel.

Thoughts on the process :  For this initial experiment, I used regular printer / copy paper.  I think if I were using the recommended rice paper with alum sizing, the ink might stick better, and be brighter.  The originals came out pretty light / faint, and a little wrinkly.  I was able to boost the contrast and add a tint digitally in post-production.    Also, some of this copy paper had flaws and wrinkles in it, that I didn't notice until after I pulled the prints--like this one (Even with a line through it, it's still pretty cool!): 


Here's the "I'm feeling lucky" version.  Interesting how it picked up reds. I did add a little blue ink, too.  

I tended to process these in 3s.
The light gray in the upper right corner is the original.
I then upped the contrast and shadows to create the mostly black-and-white version.
But my favorite most often was the blue tinted one (done in post-production).

Here's another set of 3.  
Pretty remarkable results!
I will be experimenting more with this surface design technique.  Sizing in the water will help the inks/paints stay on top of the water, and not sink to the bottom.  There were only so many pages I could pull before the remaining ink was pushed to the bottom of the tray, under the water.

The aqua ink didn't work very well at all.  Maybe I need to stick with paints and / or the Sumi ink?

There is an art to how you mix and swirl the inks, too.  I'm not talking so much about the traditional marbled patterns, though those will be fun to play with, too.

Here are some more :

1 comment:

The Idaho Beauty said...

I have watched this demonstrated a long time ago - I'm thinking maybe even as part of the Simply Quilts series. I remember being so intrigued that this could work with just water and ink. The woman demoing was a master, holding the dropper of ink in one hand, a brush (or maybe it was a bamboo skewer) I believe in the other, then alternating a drop of ink and a movement of the brush until the entire surface was covered. Then she demonstrated the gentle blowing to move the ink. I sensed this was something that even I, with all my patience, would quickly mess up.

But you have gotten some good results here. You might indeed get better results with an acrylic ink or ink-like paint like Dye-a-flow. But once again, you have also shown how you can take so so results and turn them into successes with your computer.