The Art of Suminagashi

The Art of Suminagashi literally means ‘ink-floating’. This is a technique which originated in China over 2000 years ago, and was taken up seriously by Shinto priests in Japan over 800 years ago. This is a method akin to the more well-known marbling designs called Ebru, which originated in Turkey.

Suminagashi involves floating ink onto the surface of water. This is blown or fanned very gently to move the ink and form irregular patterns. A piece of absorbent paper, such as the Japanese Washi paper, is laid onto the patterned water. The paper immediately picks up the ink, and is carefully lifted off and set to one side to dry.

suminagashi by Osvalda Teiser

Members of the Chiltern branch tried suminagashi at the monthly meeting at Rainbow Silks in April.