Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Merhaba!  Nasil Sinez?  Hello, How are you?

One of the nice things about living in a country for an extended period of time is you go beyond the tourist surface sampling of a culture to in depth exploration and understanding.  I lived in Izmir on the coast of Turkey for two years and explored the rich and vibrant Turkish history of Turkish folk art and more distant archeological layers of earlier peoples.
Turkey and well as the Philippines were countries that welcomed me, embraced me and taught me about the world, its peoples and their expressions in art.  I would not trade either experience for anything.  In Turkey I was on a sabbatical to study Turkish Folk art and Islamic art.  I rode through the countryside with a wonderful tour guide who spoke fluent Turkish and had an old mercedes benz. We bumped along the village roads and into local markets where folk arts were still alive and well.  My guide was not what you might expect-she was a blonde American wife of a Dods school principal.  She was not tall, blue eyed and blonde hair...what a pair we made in the Turkish countryside!
One of the folks arts I became enamored with was the Turkish method of marbling paper.  To watch in person is quite amazing, to see the colors swirl with just the touch of a feather of a tiny droplet of ink. It is called Turkish marbling thought wikapedia will tell you it just happened to be where Europeans saw it first.  So lets go with is where this American saw it first.  I need to thank Dokuz Eylul University and the Izmir School of Turkish Historic arts for their time and education of this American art teacher.

Turkish Marbling of paper may have had its earlier beginnings in Persia or India, but at least it was being done simultaneously.  The Ottomans and later theTurks perfected the art and took it to a very high level of artistic skill.  As you can see if the photo below it can almost become meditational in just the act of doing.

"There are several methods for making marbled papers. A shallow tray is filled with water, and various kinds of ink or paint colors are carefully applied to the surface with an ink brush. Various additives or surfactant chemicals are used to help float the colors. A drop of "negative" color made of plain water with the addition of surfactant is used to drive the drop of color into a ring. The process is repeated until the surface of the water is covered with concentric rings.
The floating colors are then carefully manipulated either by blowing on them directly or through a straw, fanning the colors, or carefully using a human hair to stir the colors. In the 19th century, the Kyoto master Tokutaro Yagi developed a method for using a split piece of bamboo to gently stir the colors, resulting in concentric spiral designs. Finally, a sheet of washipaper is carefully laid onto the water surface to capture the floating design. The paper, which is often made of kozo (Paper Mulberry or Broussonetia papyrifera), must be unsized, and strong enough to withstand being immersed in water without tearing."  source Wikapedia  

THE EXQUISITE ART OF TURKISH PAPER MARBLING                                                      google image
in a later post we will look at the how to element for you personal use.
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