Technique of the Week #37 – Suminagashi Marbling on Fabric

Project Hours: 2 hours

Design and Materials: 1 hourExecution: 1 hour +

Suminagashi is a marbling technique for fabric or paper that is done with inks that float on top of the surface of water.  I learned about this technique from a recent meeting of the Fiber Art Divas, and went to Dick Blick to purchase the supplies to try it.
The cool thing about this technique (or the most frustrating part) is that the design is mostly up to how steady you are at dropping the ink onto the surface of the water, and any air current or bumping of the table you do.  If you like organic results, this is for you!
I got the above palate pan and filled it with about an inch and a half of water.  I got this marbling kit in the airbrush ink section.  It’s from Japan, made for this technique.  You use the paintbrushes to lightly dab the ink onto the surface of the water.  You then use a surfactant (like a little dish soap in water) to separate your colors and layers.  Blowing on the water or dragging a cat whisker through the water creates the patterns.  You lay your fabric down in a sort of roll to pick up the ink on the surface of the water.
I finished playing with this technique in about 2 hours, so it was a perfect distraction from my busy days.  My results are below, done on PFD (Prepared For Dyeing) fabric.  I cold over marble and do other things for greater effect, but I had a blast.  Now what to make out of the fabric?