Suminagashi or “floating ink” is an ancient Japanese artform where water and ink create a marbling effect when transferred onto paper.
Verona area youth ages 12-18 got to try the colorful printmaking technique for themselves during the third meeting of the teen outdoor painting club on Friday, Aug. 13, led by librarian Leah Portz.
The club has been gathering this summer outside behind Verona Public Library. The last two meetings focused on watercolors and acrylics, respectively.
This past week, Portz taught a dozen students how to create swirling, wavy patterns with a special marbling ink that floats on top of water.
Outfitted with water-filled metal pie tins and cooking trays, the attendees injected designs into their water with pipettes and paintbrushes. The resulting patterns could be manipulated with toothpicks.
The young artists were encouraged by Portz to experiment with additives including isopropyl alcohol, dish soap, cooking oil and baby oil, which can help create lines, streaks and bubbles in the ink.
“Basically sit here and play with water,” she said.
And if the surface got too murky, the kids could just soak up any mess with newspaper and then keep going.
Rice paper was used to transfer the final designs from the waters’ surface to a permanent canvas.
The finished designs were hung out to dry in the hot afternoon sun, clipped onto clotheslines stretching between two trees.
The students enjoyed ice cream treats while they waited for their masterpieces to be ready to taken home.