MARBLING IS A FASCINATING ART
An artist who has fully mastered its language will be able to see an entirely different world - an abstract world of beauty - unfolding before them, and soon after comes the realisation that their pulse beats to the same language of colors and abstract shapes in the tray.
Every tray that is prepared leads to a distinct and unique adventure of exploration, an almost mystical experience in its own right. The resulting work does not present an image or depiction of any phenomenon, but impressions, snapshots of this journey taken to eternal beauty.
Marbling, which enjoys a special place among Turkish Book Arts, is a precious traditional form of art in which natural earth pigments are sprinkled onto water with the help of special brushes (I call them my wands). These brushes are made with horse tail hair and a rose wood branch and the water is thickened with Tragacanth gum or Carrageenan. The resulting patterns on the water are then transferred onto paper by laying the paper onto the thickened water.
Etymologically, Ebru the Turkish word for marbling is derived from the Chagatai word "Ebre", which translates as "moire", possibly referencing the ripple effects created on the water as opposed to a repetitive pattern. Whilst details of the exact journey the art of Ebru took to arrive in Turkey, it is believed to have been brought via the silk road from Persia where it was referred to as "Abru", which means "water surface" or, "Ebri" meaning "cloud-like".
Many people will have been introduced to marbling through book binding where traditionally it can be seen on either page edges or inside book covers. Perhaps the introduction came via background and corner decorations for calligraphic art, or it's use on important documentation from governments or banks. However, the art form is not limited to use on paper and can often be seen on fabrics, ceramics, leather, glass and wood.
Ebru is not just about how to play with colours, it is deeper than what we perceive with our eyes and teaches us patience, self control, mindfulness, limitless expression and a space to find your own beauty with care.
I am a Marbling artist and tutor within the Surrey area. I currently teach at Surrey Art School and regularly hold Adult / Adult and Children (Family) / Children and Youth workshops.
Marbling is an ancient form of visual art which appeared in 14th century, but possibly dates back even further. Marbling also often referred to as Turkish Paper or by it's original name; Ebru.
My own love affair with this incredible art form was almost preordained, as my given name is also Ebru.
I studied and graduated with a Masters degree from the prestigious Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul - I had the privilege of being taught by the wonderful Hikmet Barutçuǧil, one of the most inspirational living masters of the art.
During my academic education I had the opportunity to learn this ancient art form from the roots up. From crafting my own brushes to creating my own paints from raw natural pigments , I quickly discovered that there was real magic in the art of marbling.
Like life itself, marbling is an adventure where there is never repetition and I believe this art form can teach us a great deal, providing a unique insight into ourselves every time. I love sharing in this journey with those I teach and to watch the results unfold is the greatest gift for me.
Despite it's robust traditional roots I strongly believe marbling is a limitless and very open minded form of art.
I love to provide tutoring to everyone who wants to know more and meet with this amazing art and introduce them to how versatile and contemporary it can be.
Additionally, the therapeutic characteristics of marbling ''Art of Ebru '' is an unquestionable reality and I strongly support this aspect as part of my teaching . I see my workshops as an opportunity to show people how art , nature and ourselves can combine as one and how our energy can be transformed.
I relish being able to provide the opportunity to those who attend my workshops, to learn the roots of this amazing art and use the possibilities of the Art of Marbling \ Ebru and the potential within themselves, to be creative .
Mustafa Duzgunman, Daisy Marbling
Hikmet Barutcugil Collection
'' Ebru The Dream of Water , The Living Tradition, Ebristan Publication / Hikmet Barutcugil''
MATERIALS USED IN MARBLING
Basin / Bath / Tray:
Its dimensions should correspond with the size of the work we wish to make. for beginners an ideal size is A3 (Approx. 29cm x 42cm), kids I prefer using A4 ( 21cm x 29cm). The depth may vary between 3 to 5 cm. The tray may be made out of glass, wood, galvanised steel or plastic receptacles. There are no strict rules in this respect. Mostly my students and I use galvanised steel and plastic, I prefer these as they are more durable.
Water is not only vital for our body but it's also the same for Marbling / Ebru. We know old masters used rain water for their marbling to get the purest form possible. Water with low degrees of calcium , chlorine and lime and good quality portable waters are suitable for marbling. Several chemicals commonly mixed with water can cause unexpected results, and this in turn may dent our enthusiasm for the work. If we have any doubts about the quality of the water we should boil it first. Water softeners and filtering elements may also be used. To give a viscosity to water, tragacanth gum or Irish moss also known as carrageen moss is used. I generally prefer to use carrageen.
Brushes traditionally used in marbling are made of horsehair , generally tail hair, and rose branches. These are my preference as they are durable, flexible and light .
If you intend to approach the art of marbling with enthusiasm, making your own brushes becomes a rite of passage. This way, homogenous and controlled dispersion of the colours is ensured which creates better results. More importantly, the tradition will be maintained as all marbling artists made their own brushes, this is the start of their journey of learning and evolving .
Any kind of absorbent paper may be used in marbling. Heavily glazed or polished papers are not very suitable because of their non absorbent properties. Ideal papers are handmade and acid-free, but these are very expensive therefore only advisable for advanced levels. Ingres paper type is most suitable for marbling, but very thick papers are best avoided because they are not very flexible and can be difficult to process. Other cheaper, more easily accessible options are medium or higher quality photocopying papers, watercolour or painting papers, weighing between 60-100 gsm.
Paints that I use are traditionally made, natural earth pigments derived from metal oxides. Soot is used for black, white Lead for white and Iron oxide containing red soils for red are some of the examples. Natural colours are not limited, many colours exist in nature and each country has its own colour earth. All paints are hand made. The process is often hard and requires commitment and dedication but can be a very therapeutic hobby. The benefit of creating your own paints is you can obtain your own paint/dye from any soil that has colour. The use of natural paints gives a particular pleasure to marbling. Any of these colours can be used in combination with each other to obtain a perfect harmony, which is indeed the harmony we are used to seeing in nature.
Gall (Ox Gall):
This is obtained from large cattle or other animals, lowers the viscosity of the base liquid and enables the paint to disperse on the water surface. Paints without Gall will sink into the bottom of the tray. The Gall, with its adhesive character, helps the dye to cling to the paper, in other words it serves as a kind of glue. Additionally, Gall prevents the colours from mixing with each other on the surface of water.