Ebru or ‘’Cloud Art’’
Ebru is an ancient form of painting, where the design is made on the surface of the water, where with the use of a coagulant powder, the colors can float. The colors we use are earth minerals that we make or specialized colors that open up in the water depending on the material on which the artwork will be printed.
We pour the color with specialized brushes made of rose twigs and horse hair, and then we create the patterns with combs and other tools. The patterns are then captured on different surfaces like fabric, woord, ceramics, paper, leather.
The origin of the word Ebru is Persian and means “figure like a cloud”, that’s why it is also known as the “art of the cloud”.
Although it is not known when, by whom and in which country the art of marbling was born, there is no doubt that it is a decorative art coming from the Eastern countries. Most researchers conclude that this art was born in Bukhara in the 15th century and was transferred to Anatolia through the Road of the Silk. Shamans that used to live in that area would use this art to see the future through the colors on the water’s surface. For many centuries it was an art hidden in books, but from the start of the 20th century we are witnessing its revival.
In Europe it became known as marbling art. Centered in Turkey, where this ancient art bloomed again, some artists started discovering and evolving new forms and techniques. Today, we see Ebru or Marbling from fashion to visual arts.
Suminagashi or “Floating-Ink”
Is the traditional japanese version of marbling that has a history rooted even deeper in the centuries. It was practiced by the Japanese Shinto priests in the 12th century who allowed black ink drops to spread on a surface of water before they blotted them onto a fresh sheet of white rice paper for the purpose of divination, similarly to how Shamans would later do with Ebru.
Suminagashi uses clear water, where we gently pour the ink with Japanese brushes or wooden sticks, creating same-centered circles and with different techniques we spread the ink on the water’s surface. Because our base is pure water, we have much less control on the creation of patterns compared to Ebru. The patterns that are created are organic and full with flow. Ebru on the other hand allows for more control in the pattern creation process, but there is always the element of surprise since our canvas remains fluid.
Both these forms of water art, are regarded as meditative art forms with a profound philosophy. They offer a magical world for one to discover as you practice or watch it. If you look close enough, you’ll see that the patterns in Ebru resemble shapes we see in nature; clouds, waves, the inside of a trees, sandy deserts or spirals of galaxies, or cells of . They create a universe and they present the mystery that is found in the combination of the micro and the macro worlds.