Marbling #2 – Turkish/Ebru marbling -Size and Mordant


Turkish/ebru marbling, the colorful style known for its use in bookbinding, does require a few special materials for good prints.

1. Carageenan – this is used mixed with water for the “size”, the liquid on which the ink or paint floats. It thickens the water so that the ink will sit on the surface, and helps the ink spread at a reasonable rate. It costs about $2-3/oz. and is usually sold in 8oz or 16oz bags at art/craft stores or online.

Carageenan used to be more common, as it was used for thickening food products (like ice cream); there considered to be some toxicity, however, and it is not used as much these days. However, it’s very safe to work with, so you can use kitchen supplies to measure and mix it.

2. Alum – this is mixed with hot water as a mordant to get the finished pattern to stick to the paper or fabric being marbled. It costs about $1/oz and is also sold in 8oz/16oz bags at art/craft stores or online.
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Marbling #1 – Suminagashi

Since I have begun learning about paper marbling, I wanted to share some methods and materials, especially with an eye towards keeping things as simple and inexpensive as possible. You don’t have to have the finest inks and papers to marble, and there is no need to buy many special supplies to get started.


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An Altered Cover


Some time ago, in a Sew Somerset mag, a writer penned a piece on an artist who used images of African – American women in her work. If you have “borrowed” vintage photos of African-American images in your artwork, then you may have had the same thought as I; Why are these pictures so tough to find? Am I looking in the wrong places?

Had it not been for that photo image of an African-American woman, the rag would have ended up in the trash.

Last weekend, I was in the mood to alter the cover of a composition book. I didn’t want to spend weeks doing it, though. My criteria ran: (a) quick and dirty (b) Autumn-themed because that’s my favorite season. (c)  Witchy. Nothing says allure like “witch.” Yep. I decided to use that photo in an altered composition book cover.

Enter the quick and dirty method.

In this method (a.k.a. no original artwork here), I glued pattern paper on to the cover of the composition book. I then snipped and glued the photo from the mag on to the “new” cover. Next came the washi tape and leaf stickers. Finally, I sealed the cover with modge podge. Modge Podge works greatly on light colored paper, giving a nice, clear finish.. In this case, though, the white stuff dried to a film that muted and dulled the colors. The book will serve as a planner/journal, nonetheless.  Finally, I added a scribble here and there with a white gel pen.