Ebru, a paper-marbling method that originated in Turkey and central Asia involves a thick liquid, called size, made from substances such as cornstarch. In this method the liquid has to be thickened because the colors used are water-based and would otherwise not float. To make the colors float and spread even better they are mixed with surfactants then dropped onto the size, which results in a pattern of floating color that can similarly be transferred onto paper.
This ancient art technique actually involves a lot of science! The colors float because they are less dense than water.It is also important that the colors and the water do not mix. Whether a liquid mixes with another depends on their individual molecular structures. The molecules that make up a liquid can be either polar or nonpolar. The simple rule “like dissolves like” says polar substances dissolve in polar liquids and nonpolar substances dissolve in nonpolar liquids. Water is polar whereas oil is nonpolar, which is why they don’t mix.
Substances that dissolve in water are called hydrophilic; those that do not are hydrophobic. Surfactants are added to the colors to influence their spreading behavior. These special molecules can do this because they have two ends: one hydrophilic, the other hydrophobic. This property of surfactants allows substances to spread out better because it decreases water’s surface tension, which results from water molecules holding together at the surface because they are slightly attracted to one another—more than they are to the air above.
Beautiful autumn is painting Wisconsin fall colors. It is the perfect time to learn the colorful history, philosophy, and technique of Turkish water marbling, ebru. Come and dive into the world of floating paints on the water. Yesterday, I was at the Butler Library and worked with some amazing people. The energy in the room was so high that we laughed often and some great patterns came out of the marbling tray. Young and old, artists and non-artists everyone had fun learning the interesting journey of Ebru art from Bukhara to Europe over centuries. My next demo is at Menomonee Falls Library on October 19.
I am always cautious when the topic is mental health. False hopes, fake news, and wrong remedies cause a lot of harm and impact our healing journey negatively. However, I always felt the therapeutic effects of water-marbling as an ebru practitioner. I got very excited when I came across this article in the Journal of Human Sciences. I wanted to share with you that now it is official! Science proved that ebru can help fight anxiety.
Impact of marbling art therapy activities on the anxiety levels of psychiatric patients
- Latife Utaş AkhanBulent Ecevit University
- Nuray AtasoyBulent Ecevit University
Keywords: Marbling, Art Therapy, Psychiatric Patients, Anxiety
Purpose: Study was conducted to explore the impact of marbling art therapy on the anxiety levels of patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Methods: Data for the study were at a university hospital and in the psychiatric service,polyclinic of a State Hospital with 34 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and 34 patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Investigations were carried out with study groups and a control group.
Findings:Following marbling, it was found that there were significant decreases in the PANSS negative, in the positive, general psychopathology in terms of the scores of the group of schizophrenia patients and in the BAI scores of patients with bipolar disorder.There was no significant difference in the BAI scores of the control group.
Clinical relevance:The study showed that the method of marbling therapy led to improvements in the negative and positive symptoms of schizophrenic patients and in both patient groups, it contributed to decreasing levels of anxiety.
For the whole PDF text of this research please check the link below:
During the 5 hour filming, I shared the history, philosophy and the technique of Turkish style water-marbling, ebru. I marbled paper, using traditional earth pigments. I also demonstrated how to marble silk, paper mache, cotton, canvas, and wood.
On Friday 13th, Tiffany and her crew came to my house to film me doing ebru art for their program, called “The Arts Page” . It was a very exciting experience for me. I and the whole family look forward to watching it on tv, probably near Christmas time!
Another falling in love with Ebru story!
Ebru is a wonderful medium to teach children different executive function skills. Patience (sustained attention), precision, planning ahead and following instructions are some of them. Especially in the fast paced technology age, children rarely slow down to focus on the task at hand. When you do water marbling, the process allows you to see the direct consequences of your actions. If you are too harsh at sprinkling the paint on the surface, the paint falls on the water too fast and it immediately sinks to the bottom without being able to float and spread. Then you won’t be able to manipulate the paint. Apparently, there is more to ebru than teaching soft skills. I came across with a study where water marbling was used to teach children about Astrophysics. Here is the summary of the study conducted by N. Yigit and M.S. Bulbul.
They believe that there is a connection between art and science and marbling technique serves as a great medium to model how galaxies or block-holes formed in the universe. This study is carried out to transfer ebru art to the
area of physics education. They teach that topic visually by using ebru art. Stars take shape with slack dispersion of nebulas through intensification with the effect of gravity. First they took some images to illustrate the similarities between marbling art images
and real photos of the formation of galaxies, galactic black holes, galaxies helical construction and nebulas. They say, one of the reasons for the similarity between these is the mechanism of Ebru. Due to use of water, dye spreads like free movements of clouds. Creating images of galaxies which have been formed in billion years, in the ebru pool helps students to learn it through hands on experience.
In their activity in order to obtain nebula figures, they dropped the paints randomly on to the water and spread them by using some tools. To obtain helical galaxies , they dropped the paints inside one another and moved from the centre towards outside to make helical shape in a way that all drops came to each others’ centre. After that they created a whirlpool in the centre using the stylus. The mix of the paints creates a dark shade of black colour at the centre color and this is used to describe the black holes of galaxies. The densest place in a galaxy is the centre of it. Black holes are also very dense astrophysical objects. What shapes galaxies are size of black holes and their rotation. Therefore, the modelling provides you a great opportunity to discuss all these topics and illustrate them on the aquous surface where you have little control on the result just like the outer space conditions without gravity.