Monday, April 27, 2009

The Art of Ebru

I love old books. I love the quaintness of both the information and the illustrations. I love the character of an aged, and well-worn volume.

A handful of the books in my possession have beautiful marbled edges. The Turkish name for marbling is ebru, or cloud art.

I enjoy researching the history of art forms I find intriguing. If you find history at all interesting, the following synopsis may entertain you. Otherwise, I bid you adieu.

Turkish marbling seems to have originated in either 15th century Turkistan or Persia, and it spread along the trade routes.
Marbling was introduced to Europe in the 16th century by travelers returning from Turkey. It made it's way to England by the 17th century.

Bookbinders used it for decorative purposes, and to hide the edge wear on reference volumes that would receive a lot of use. Ledgers were often marbled as a security measure because any removed pages would be noticeable in the design.

Early artisans were secretive of the process until the late 19th century, when at least two tell-all books were published in England.

To give an overly simplified explanation of the technique;
Color is floated on water that has a thickening agent added. Designs are created using tools such as feathers, combs, straws, and needles. The paper is then dipped to pick up the color. Each dip produces a unique monoprint.

The concept sounds simple, but the intricacy of the designs that can be created by a skilled artisan is amazing.
Click on this link to Google images to see more.


tory said...

Cool I didn't know all that, thanks

Jiles The Great said...

Vay that's crazy, I had no idea they did that. But I think it's awesome.