Suminagashi on Paper & Silk with Diane Maurer

Sadly, Sunday was my last workshop at the Focus on Book Arts conference.

I was pretty bummed when I left campus to catch my plane home. Just to give you a taste of my red eye experience:

“I’m awake! I’m awake! I’m home!” THUD!

The Suminagashi workshop with Diane Maurer was the perfect workshop for my last day. I was pretty wiped out by then and the process was very mellow – a nice way to wind down from the fast pace of the conference.

Diane Maurer

Diane Maurer – the marbling marvel

Diane taught us how to use the Suminagashi method on both paper and silk. I made 15 sheets of paper during the workshop.

I’ve decided that the Suminagashi process is deceptively simple.

Using one brush per color, you add inks (we used Boku Undo inks) to the water tray by touching the paintbrush tip to the water. You use something called photo wetting solution to add clear rings to the pattern. You alternate between ink and photo wetting solution until you get the number of rings you desire. You can then gently blow or fan the inks to create more dramatic patterns.

The complexity comes from making intentional designs with the sometimes uncontrollable inks.

Method is easy, technique is hard.

Once you have achieved your final pattern, you gently lay a piece of paper on top of the floating inks. Oriental papers or those with a high cotton content work well for this process. Lift the paper out of the tray and you’re done! Colors don’t run once they’ve made contact with the paper.

What follows is a pictorial of the process:

Suminagashi marbling in process

Suminagashi marbling in process

Suminagashi marbling in process

Suminagashi marbling in process

Suminagashi marbling in process

Suminagashi marbling in process

Suminagashi marbling in process

What follows are some images of my papers. Please note that I am not Diane.

I went through a bit of a progression:

Suminagashi marbled paper

Taking it slowly, sticking to the basics

Suminagashi marbled paper

I’m done with basics, I’m going the crazy route

Suminagashi marbled paper

I found something I like – the “Cat in the Hat” series

We had so much time to experiment that I actually evolved – I rarely have the opportunity to evolve in a day. I could totally spend more time exploring this Cat in the Hat thing more. The shapes in those papers seem to moving and evolving with me.

As I mentioned earlier, not only did we learn how to use the Suminagashi technique on paper, but also on silk. We dyed small silk squares, let them dry, then ironed them.

After stretching the silk taut on foam core with stick pins, we used Cello Mount to create what was essentially bookcloth. We then adhered the silk to the mat board to make the frame. It was pretty easy.

Suminagashi-covered frame

For more information on Suminagashi, check out the following links:

4 Responses to “Suminagashi on Paper & Silk with Diane Maurer”

By Carol - 1 July 2009 Reply

What a beautiful, informative post. Diane’s work is wonderful but you produced some very nice Suminagashi, you must be very pleased. I’m quite sorry your week has ended, I’ve really enjoyed following your adventures.

By elissa - 2 July 2009 Reply

Carol –

I’m glad you enjoyed the series – it made me realize just how hard it is to post while you’re at a conference. Thankfully I have no more conferences scheduled this year. Not that I’d sneeze at going to another one…


By BookGirl - 8 July 2009 Reply

It’s been wonderful reading about your experiences at the conference. I’m still envious, but it’s been the next best thing to being there. Thanks for your great posts.


By elissa - 13 July 2009 Reply

Clara –

Two years to save up until the next one…


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