Suminagashi, or Japanese marbling, is the art of floating (nagashi) ink (sumi) on water. It dates back to the Heian period in Japan (794-1185) and is the precursor for all other marbling techniques.
The secrecy surrounding the marbling process only became widely known in Japan toward the end of the 16c when the Imperial monopoly was dissolved.
The art of suminagashi was made available to the West from 1881 when the Second Domestic Industrial Exhibition was held in Japan and Western trading links began to be established.
Getting the ink lines to float on the water is a practical skill of touching an ink-laden brush to the surface followed by another brush of spreading agent to form myriad rings of ink. Keeping them from sinking or conversely sitting too thickly on the water is part of the skill of preparing the inks and then watching closely to see how they move on the water surface.
Sometimes the ink is blown, sometime stirred with a stick or fanned, the design emerging slowly.
The patterns often reference natural forms such as wood grain or a slow stream coursing through a valley.
The process is organic, unpredictable and ever so satisfying! Suminigashi is essentially an act of allowing and relinquishing control rather than striving to achieve a planned outcome.
Paper or washi is lowered onto the water surface to absorb the ink to then be lifted off and hung up to dry. The resulting print is a one-off, a monoprint; no design can be repeated as the conditions are never the same.
The designs are elegantly framed in handmade white oak and backlit by our special and subtle variable colour temperature lighting. Frame may come in a finish of your choice as each lamp is individually made. Due to the techniques each lamp is unique.
The price of a single panel lamp is £950 plus shipping .