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Friday 22nd February 2013 Jude Rilay

Jude Riley
"The Art of Marbling - Cloud Art or Spilled Ink"

Our guest speaker for this evening (Friday 22nd February 2913) was Jude Riley, an accomplished artist making art through the media of marbling. Jude gave an insightful talk accompanied by a slide show to give a brief history of the art of marbling. Jude has been marbling for nearly 25 years, having begun as a textile artist, spinning, weaving and dyeing textiles during a three year time period in Mexico. She became fascinated by marbling which took over from her textiles.

Marbling originated in Japan in the 12th century, this was the art of Suminagashi, which translates into "spilled ink". This art was kept secret and used ink made of pine soot floated on water with handmade Japanese papers which were highly absorbent. Often these pieces contained calligraphy and painted images - Jude displayed a slide which demonstrated this beautifully.

Marbling then took off in Turkish Islam and was used as a base for calligraphy and book binding. This art was called Ebru (cloud art) and you can look at numerous video clips of how this is done on . Marbling became popular in Europe in the late 1600s and was later displaced in the late 1900s by machine printing. Interestingly marbled paper was commonly used on financial ledgers so that it prevented the fraudulent behaviour of tearing out pages!

In the 19th century, the secret of marbling was finally exposed in a book which encouraged further knowledge of the process.

During the short break we were able to have a look at some papers that Jude had brought with her to share the beautiful colours and patterns that are achievable through this fascinating art. She also showed some planters that she has marbled using exactly the same process as marbling paper. She has made some of her marbled papers into stunning jewellery, samples of which were on display this evening.

After the break, Jude gave a demonstration of how to marble paper. She showed us the carragheen seaweed that she boils to use the liquid as a size (or medium). This gives a slightly thicker consistency to the water which enables the ink to float on top. The inks used were acrylic inks, with cartridge drawing paper prepared with alum. The alum helps the ink bond with the paper. Once dropping and splattering ink onto the surface of the medium, Jude gently laid a piece of paper onto the surface, then lifted it off. The colours and patterns were beautiful and unique. Several of the Art Society members were itching to have a go, so a few of us got stuck in and were amazed at the patterns we made! We even got to take our pieces home! Another thoroughly enjoyable evening - thank you Jude!