What is Ebru or water marbling?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

This is a guest post by Katya Ryazanova, who is a professional artist working in a wide variety of techniques. Today she tells us about a Turkish art called ebru or water marbling. Let's find out what it is! (Katya wrote a few guest posts for the blog. You can find all her DIY posts here.)

She has also found a good video for us that tells us a story of ebru. The process is just magical... Enjoy!


I will start with a story of how I got introduced to the ebru technique.

Two years ago my attention got drawn to some very unusual flower patterns on a marble background. I instantly got intrigued and decided to find out how they were made. I found a web-site that gave me a good idea. The more I read the more I liked it. 

It turned out those drawings were not that easy to create! All the materials needed to be very special. I would need a water tray, a water thickener, water-based paints with the addition of bovine bile (or tragacanth) for a start. Brushes would need to be special too, made of the rose branches and the horsehair. I was thrilled!

The ancient Turkish art is called Ebru (that can be translated from Farsi as "cloud"). Now it is called "water marbling". An ebru image is valued by the skill of an artist. The process of creating an image starts with the preparation of the water solution and the dyes. The process of drawing knows no eraser. It is a mystical and an enchanting meditative process with a deep spiritual meaning. Maybe that was the reason why the art has been traditionally done by men...

The main advantage of the ebru technique is the uniqueness of each painting. You can not reproduce what has been created  on water. This is why it is believed that each ebru image reflects the soul of an artist. Every image is a true one of a kind picture. This makes each picture truly unique. 

We know that ebru-paper ("Turkish paper") was used for the documents and personal confidential correspondence in France at some point. They appreciated its elegance and refinement.

In my next guest post I will introduce you to the modern masters of the ebru technique and show you the process of creating an ebru image. My kids love ebru and happy to share this exciting experience with me :-)

Katya Ryazanova


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