Marbling is very old technique that I have discovered for myself in the last few years. Known as Ebru in Turkey or suminagashi in Japan, it was originally done on paper. Many people confuse it with tie-dye. The process is very different.
Silk or paper must be treated in advance of marbling or the paint will slide off and not adhere. After treatment, individual pieces have to air dry and then are carefully ironed.
With marbling, paint or ink are floated on a liquid. The artist manipulates drops of paint to create a design. Then the paper or silk is placed on top, transferring the design. To marble silk, hours of prep time are involved beyond the few minutes of “painting”.
The marbling tray must be large enough for the scarf, paper, or whatever I’m marbling to spread completely flat. The tray is filled with a solution that is mixed at least a day in advance. The solution is thicker than water and very slippery! If it is not mixed correctly, the paint will sink to the bottom of the tray or will disperse on the surface.
After creating the design, the scarf is placed on top. It only takes a few seconds for the paint to adhere. After air drying, it’s back to the ironing board. This helps set the color. I give my scarves a quick wash (by hand) to get any remaining goo out, and yet another ironing.