In The Artroom

Marble Paper, Ebru Sanati or Suminagashi

In West its called Marble paper, in Japan its called Suminagashi, in eastern cultures such as Turkey its called Ebru Sanati. These cultures might use different materials and processes, but it is simply done by floating colored ink on a non-toxic solution.

This activity does nor requires pre-sketching, because the process allows you to create spontaneous and abstract compositions. Students will also learn about how abstraction can be perceived in many ways.

I have had students from 2nd.-12 grade doing this activity and they all love to play with the flooding colors. Through this lesson, students learn balance, movement, color coordination and the history of this technique.

The marbled papers can be displayed as a final product. I encourage my students to think that the art product can always be transformed into another art form. One great thing about this activity is that you can create a lot of work in a short period of time, so after students decide which one of them is their masterpiece, rest of the marled paper can be used as a background for another artwork, student can make collage by cutting and creating compositions with the pieces, these papers can also be used in making of personal journals and so on.

Materials: Carrageenan (Powdered Seaweed that thickness the water so the paint can float on it.) mixed at 2.5 Tablespoons per Gallon of water in the high-speed blender. Let it sit overnight.
Trays that are big enough for the papers to load on the water.
Small sticks such as a toothpick to move the paint around.
Marbling paint (from dickblick or you can use watered down acrylic paint)
Droppers to put the paint in. (You don't need a ton of paint just a couple of drops of paint is enough to work with)
Plastic to cover the tables.


Processes:Before students arrive, I set up workstations according to the student body and have students form groups. (2 groups and 2 stations are manageable.) I set up another table with plastic so students can take their finished project and lay it on the table under their names.

I talk about the materials and about the technique. They are all interested and can't wait o see how does the paint float on the liquid. I show them how to gently use the droppers. Because, If you squish it fast, the paint might just sink to the bottom of the tray, so gentle couple drops are perfect to get you started. Also, demonstrate how to use the toothpicks or small dowels to move the paint around, I make sure to tell them to not to stir the water too hard because the paint can turn muddy. So gentle movement of the sticks will create amazing results. I show them how to gently put the paper in the, don't press it all the way down under the liquid, the paper has to load for a couple of seconds on the surface. 3…2…1.. hold the paper gently from two corners and take it to the display table, gently press sponge to absorb the access liquid and let it dry.  

I am not getting into many details here, but teacher demonstration, safety rules, respect to each other while working in groups, and following the instructions are necessary to talk about before students get started.

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