|Ruby, green enamel and diamond strawberry brooch, Circa 1940|
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Katya Ryzanova is one of my featured guest bloggers. She has quite a few guest posts here. You can find a list of them here.
Today I am going to finish my story about the art of ebru and show you how to create an ebru picture.
Ebru masters carefully prepare all the ingredients before they start drawing. First of all they prepare the kitre (tragacanth). Kitre is an enhanced water solution. Traditionally all brushes and paints needed to be specially made (all ingredients were natural). The paints were made of pigments, water and bovine bile. Brushes were made of horsehair and rose branches. Now we can draw on the water using modern materials. The acrylic paints are a lot brighter than the natural ebru paints. This is great for creating paintings for the silk scarves, for example. However, a picture looks better on a piece of paper if the paints are made of the natural pigments.
Pour kitre in a tray. Use small jars for mixing your paints. I use the fan bristle brushes and the metal knitting needles for drawing. You also need a big jar of water for rinsing the brushes and the paper towel for wiping the brushes and the needles.
Pick up some paint with your brush and start tapping its shaft against your other hand or a finger of your other hand, as if you are letting the brush fall on your finger. Drops of the paint will fall in the tray and make the circles on the surface of water. Note that the more the bile content is in the paint, the greater the circles the drops will make. But also note that the next color will make a smaller circle if placed inside the first circle! This means you would need to get some experience before you are able to predict the outcome of your actions. Until then it is pretty much unpredictable.
Use 3 to 4 colors for the paints' splashes on the water surface. You will get an abstract painting if you stop here and do not use the needles (you can call it the Battal ebru then).
If you make parallel lines along the tray back and forth (spacing 3-5 cm between them) with an awl (a knitting needle) and then across the tray as well (repeat it 3-4 times) your will get the ebru art called Low tide.
Let's try and draw an actual image... a heart, for example. Drop a tip of a needle into the paint of a desired color and touch the surface of the water with the drop of the paint just where the center of the heart is supposed to be.
Keep adding more drops of this color until it gets as big as you need or use different colors if you wish. Remember that other paints will create different widths of the circles (the unpredictable widths!). Add the paints drop by drop. Do not rush! Watch how the circles are being formed, then add the next color.
When your circle has reached the desired size, take the needle and draw a straight line in the middle from the top to the bottom of the picture until you make a heart. All your moves need to be slow, light and elegant. Enjoy the process of co-creation with the water and the paints!
It is time to transfer the image from the water surface to a piece of paper (I use regular printing paper or watercolor paper). Gently drop it onto the surface of water. Do it very lightly and without any effort at all. Make sure that the sheet does not move, otherwise it will "break" the picture.
In a few seconds you can lift one of the long edges (the one closest to you), take both ends with your hands and pull towards yourself. Pull so that the excess of water wipes against the edge of the tray. I dry paper on a mat, and then iron from the back side to flatten it.
If a drawing is being transferred to a fabric, then place the middle of your fabric in the tray first then let the edges fall onto the water. The paints on a fabric are also fixed with the iron. After ironing you should wash it to remove the ebru solution.
I enjoyed creating this DIY project in order to share it with you and I hope it is going to be helpful for those who will try!
I also would like to share this video created by Anna Ulianina who was my first teacher of the ebru art. I hope you will enjoy it also!