These are my ruminations on life, design, and the pursuit of happiness…

Paper Marbling

The Color Wheel Challenge has been extended, so here is a little paper marbling to stay in the color theme.

My friend Karen from the International Printing Museum is learning to do paper marbling, and let me come watch (and try out) the process.

You start with a shallow tray, that you fill with carageenan, a seaweed extract that is somewhat gelatinous.

Then using a whisk, you spatter the marbling paint onto the carageenan sizing. She was taught to start with black, and then red, and then move on to whatever other colors you want to add.

When the color is layered in the pan, a bamboo stick is pulled back and forth across the pan. This creates a git-gel pattern. Then you can pull a needle rake through the surface. The needles in the rake are about 1/4 inch apart.

After this a nail rake can be used to swirl the paint into other patterns. (This is the nail rake in an earlier blue marble)

When the surface is as you wish, a paper that is treated with alum (to bind the paint to the paper) is carefully laid down in the pan, and then pulled up and rinsed under water.

Hopefully you then have something beautiful like this:

On my first attempt, I was feeling pretty good about my lay down of color, and did a good job with the rakes.
(Karen said it was “Beginners Luck”)

Then I laid down the paper and went to rinse it at the sink, and this happened.

My alum treated paper was upside down, so all the ink washed down the drain. So much for luck.

Even though my first attempt was a fail, it was great fun, and mesmerizing just to watch. I can’t wait to try it again!

Have any of you tried this? How did your first experience go?


TrackBack URL for this entry:


No comments yet.