Water Marbling is the Art of Painting on the Surface of Water.
Water Marbling has been around for hundreds of years. It has historical roots in ancient Japan and Turkey. This art form often goes by different names such as Suminigashi, or Ebru, but the fundamentals are the same.
Very thin paints are dropped onto the surface of a thick tray of water, called size. Paints are dropped gently onto the water. The goal is to have each drop of paint float and spread without breaking the surface tension on the water in your tray. The size coats every drop of paint and prevents the them from blending or mixing on the surface.
Once the paint has been applied, Rakes and combs are used to drag designs into the paint. The designs are made by bisecting lines and and many different patterns can be constructed with just a few tools. Once the design is made it’s time to create your print. The artist dips down a piece of silk or paper directly onto the surface of the water. The paint instantly absorbs and when you lift it out of the water you have a one of a kind print.
The Self Made Marbler - My Water Marbling Journey
I started water marbling in 2017 after watching a silk scarf being dipped on YouTube. At the time, I was teaching wine glass painting classes at, At The Barn Winery, in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. I loved painting glass, but when I saw water marbling bring a custom scarf to life in minutes I became completely obsessed.
First of all, I am completely self taught in the art of marbling, A Self Made Marbler, if you will.
The reason my artwork looks like no other artists is because I found my own way through grueling trial and error. It took two months of science experiments in my garage to get the paint to float for the first time. I built my own tools and my own six foot long wood frames. My husband thought I was crazy when I started purchasing 6ft by 4ft sheets of wood at the hardware store. I was OBSESSED with the thought of designing scarves from my home in Cincinnati, Ohio.
I have a degree in Apparel Design and Fashion Merchandising, but there are not many outlets in Cincinnati to practice these skills. I was looking for something fulfilling as a stay at home mom, and water marbling was calling my name.
The First Time It Worked...
The first time my paint floated instead of sinking, and the design stuck instead of washing away, I was absolutely over the moon. I knew that if I could make this art accessible, then women all over would be clamoring to make there own silk scarf. I danced around my garage showing my four year old the pretty painting mommy had just made. He humored me, applauded, and then immediately became my first water marbling student.
Because I was able to do it once, I kept going. I solved the little issues and the big ones. I had to brainstorm ideas on my own. I was desperate to improve the process. I could see how well people would respond to this new painting trend.
Once I streamlined EVERYTHING, I started having classes at local wineries and breweries. There is nothing I love more than to hear women cheer for each other as they lift their beautiful dripping custom silk from the water. There is something so unifying about creating and crafting with friend, huge bonus points that the scarves are almost always beautiful.
Scarves are my favorite thing to marble because no one can every believe you made something so beautiful on your first attempt.
Then Covid Happened
At then end of 2019 I was counting my blessings. My second season of water marbling classes and craft shows had netted a five figure income. I was creating beautiful things, earning a great part time income, and had a flexible schedule.
Then Covid brought everything to a screeching halt. Everything needed to change.
I was sitting in front of the tv watching my income for 2020 circling the drain. I was filled with anxiety about the future, and becoming obsessed with the non stop coverage from around the world.
I have had so many people tell me that watching marbling brought them joy. That water marbling was relaxing to watch, and that people were continuously amazed by the ebbing and flowing of the paint on water. I decided to start creating silk scarves live in the CoraVina Scarves Facebook Group
I created scarves and papers Monday – Friday at 5pm from April until late December of 2020. I made an absolute ton of scarves. I honed my craft. I approached marbling from new angles and made many beautiful things. I was scared, terrified even, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to grow as an artist and a person.
I know everyone says this, but I have the best Dewdrop followers I could ask for.
I am headding into 2021 with renewed excitement for marbling. I cannot wait to see where this year leads.
Diane Vollner – CEO of CoraVina