Troubleshooting Suminagashi

I've recently been asked this, and since it's also taken me a few trials to grasp Suminagashi marbling, I've decided to write a post on this relatively easy yet incredibly therapeutic printmaking technique. If you follow these steps, you should be able to ALWAYS achieve nice, clearly defined concentric circles. The fun then comes with manipulating and experimenting circles, colours etc. Preparation and having the right material is key.

Suminagashi is possible on water (I think), but I do it as a marbling technique simply because marbling on a thick viscous base gives you better control over how the inks spread.

4 points:

1) The base - I use Carrageenan marbling base (Carrageenan is a seaweed extract to thicken water. It comes in a powder form that you blend with water. Prepare and refrigerate this 24 hours ahead of printmaking)

2) Brush A dipped in ink. (I use Jacquard marbling ink, it is concentrated, spreads well and fixes onto fabric or paper)

3) Brush B dipped in dispersant/surfactant (to disperse the ink) (I use Jacquard synthetic gall but it is very strong, so use it 50% diluted).

4) Alum. Preparing your paper or fabric with alum solution prior to pulling your prints will ensure that the inks do not just slide off. Having said that, I used no alum in my first marbling trial and still managed to pull some prints, just with less definition.

Alternate between dipping brush A and brush B onto the surface of the water. It's a practice in steady-hands, my idea of meditative fun!

Tips:

- To get darker circles/rings, you need the ink to be concentrated. And the more times you dip the inked brush tip onto the water surface, the more ink there'll be and the darker the resultant rings. Do that a few times before dipping the dispersant brush.

- Shorter time interval (faster dipping) between the dipping of inked brush vs dispersant brush will lead to tighter circles. For bigger gaps between rings, either increase concentration of dispersant on the brush or dip dispersant brush longer/more times onto the water surface.

Hope this helps! Happy printmaking ~~

 

 

Another farewell night on Lamma

Night-time on Lamma island, particularly in remote Pak Kok, feels special and intimate.

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Even after almost 3 years of living here, I'm still in awe of how wild this island is, a mere 25mins away from bustling Hong Kong island. Ingrid's farewell night, engaging conversations as usual between a few close Lamma friends, something quite magical in the mix of external environment and interesting people. Eric said, living in a house with a view like this gives one perspective. 

And since marbling is the theme of the month, what better farewell gift than a marbled card & envelope set!

Hand-marbled card & envelope set

Experimenting with Suminagashi marbling

It's been a productive 2 days marbling, and so satisfying to have pulled some amazing prints! The one on fabric is done using synthetic gall dispersal followed by Suminagashi swirls. 

Love the way the prints adhere to fabric, skims all the ink right off the surface, onto the fabric, for some truly tadaaa moments! LOVE working in black and white that somehow just allows me to concentrate on the lines without stressing out too much on the colour stories.

Holding my first ever marbling workshop here in H.K on 7th Oct! 

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Lotus-silk weaving in Inlelake, Myanmar

Finally gotten round to linking my Instagram account to this blog!

This was something I saw back in April this year whilst travelling in Myanmar that quite frankly, blew my mind away. Lotus silk weaving is unique to Myanmar. At Khit Sunn Yin Hand Weaving centre in the village of Innpawkhon, Inle Lake, they do a live demo of this craft and offer an amazing selection of silk and lotus-silk scarves for sale. Khit Sunn Yin is a 4th generation family business and by far one of the most established ones in the art of lotus silk. Got a silk + lotussilk mix scarf for around 40+ USD. A pure lotus silk scarf costs 75 USD.

The arduous task of extracting silk-like filaments from each lotus stalk to spin into weaving yarn is simply mind-blowing. Takes around 4000 lotus stalks to make 1 scarf!

Marbling marbling

Marbling is one of the easiest print-making techniques that can also be a 'hit or miss' for beginners. Done well and inks will spread and interact to create some truly amazing forms, lines and colours. Miss a step and your inks will sink and you'll get absolutely nada after a day of preparation (marbling mix and paper/fabric need to be prepared beforehand).                                     

Black & White is closest to heart for me,  both in purity of lines and depth of expression. But I've since dabbled with colours to do some justice to marbling's ability to produce some truly amazing, and always surprising colour stories.  

My best marbling works to date were those which I had the least control over. 

The colour prints were marbled using marbling material and JACQUARD inks available from:  https://www.dharmatrading.com/    The marbling base (thick viscous solution on which to float your inks) I use is made with Carrageenan powder.

MAPS - image on the tray

MAPS - image on the tray

MAPS - print when pulled onto paper pre-treated with alum

MAPS - print when pulled onto paper pre-treated with alum

MONOCHROME series

MONOCHROME series

MONOCHROME series

MONOCHROME series

Welcome 2017! Centre of Innovative Material & Technology (CIMT)

First entry of the year, hola 2017! How swiftly you arrive, how foreign still it feels to write 2017.  

I made a trip to the Hong Kong Design Institute today for a talk on Bauhaus costume and was lucky enough to be given a tour of the Centre of Innovative Material & Technology (CIMT).

Loved the section with swatches of innovative material sourced from Material Connexion  https://www.materialconnexion.com/newyork/

LEFT: High density polyethylene (HDPE) monofilaments + aluminium. Reflective, weather-resistant and flame retardant screens. RIGHT: Lightweight bobbinet tulle fabric composed of 91% polyamide (PA 6.6) and pure silver (9%). Tear resistant, electro-magnetic shielding. Used in technical shielding and flexible electronics.

LEFT: High density polyethylene (HDPE) monofilaments + aluminium. Reflective, weather-resistant and flame retardant screens.

RIGHT: Lightweight bobbinet tulle fabric composed of 91% polyamide (PA 6.6) and pure silver (9%). Tear resistant, electro-magnetic shielding. Used in technical shielding and flexible electronics.

LEFT: Compressed lightweight panels made of recycled denim cut into small pieces and mixed with a modified starch 

LEFT: Compressed lightweight panels made of recycled denim cut into small pieces and mixed with a modified starch 

LEFT: Yarn in resin RIGHT: Knitted straw + yarn

LEFT: Yarn in resin

RIGHT: Knitted straw + yarn

Then there were these incredibly cool textile artworks made by a local student. Layers of organza intricately stitched and layered in a 3-dimensional way to create a layered hologram effect.

Hanoi

So, I made a short trip to Hanoi last week and 2 things about this city struck me: Fonts and Gates. There is an incredibly decorative element to Hanoi that is integral to its visual identity, a mix of Western art-decor (French influence?) style with Chinese finesse.

I was obsessed with the richness of decorative motifs in every corner...a breath of fresh air where fonts were concerned. No white-washing with ultra modern sleek fonts, but rather, improvisation and an organic hotchpotch of contrasting visual identities, old and new.

 

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And I'm extremely happy with these BEEAUUTIFUL pouches I purchased from Craft Link! http://www.craftlink.com.vn/

 

Threads

I discovered this incredibly inspiring book at the Asian Art Archive the other day. From Vanuatu baskets to Pacific mats, these traditional textiles looked surprisingly modern. Loved the use of technicolored woollen yarn against a natural straw base...