Thursday, October 11, 2007


I recently tried Suminagashi, which is an ancient Japanese art of marbling. There are several books on the subject as well as info online, so I will leave it to those that can explain it much better than me.
I have to admit that my first attempts were less than desirable and I grew a bit frustrated. I googled suminagashi to see what I was doing wrong (turns out quite a few things, but more on that later) and found a post on Nita Leland's blog about her experiments with it a couple of years ago. (Nita has written some wonderful books on exploring color, creativity and collage.) Anyway, here is a portion of what she wrote about her experiments (quoted with her gracious permission or you can click here to read her whole post on the subject): "I followed directions in a book, but my attempt was a complete failure. I was so disappointed, but I was determined to make it work. The ink I was using kept sinking and the more I added, the more it sank. It was frustrating, because the book said you could use almost any kind of ink or paper, but nothing I tried would work."
Gee, she described my morning! Not everything we try is going to work out and it certainly helped that Nita was willing to share the frustration with her results. Nita's comments helped me more at that moment than reading specific directions on the subject. I think we are more willing to post our successful work and yet I think posting our trials and errors (bloopers) helps others as well.
I purchased the materials from Diane Maurer, she has written a book on the subject (and check out the wonderful work on her website), so I sent an SOS e-mail. She responded right away and told me to give her a call. She immediately knew what I was doing wrong and kindly set me on the right path. Encouraged by Nita's blog and Diane's advice, I did more experimenting that afternoon on paper and canvas (the blurry picture is water color paper), much happier with my results! Even with my afternoon batch that came out much better, I realized several things I still was not doing properly and plan to correct the next time I experiment.
I think to grow as artists' we must be willing to fail!!! I hope this post encourages someone else when they read this blog. And, if anyone wants to try this, feel free to contact me and I can tell you what NOT to do!!

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