We are going to take a look at traditional Suminagashi from its root origins to modern Suminagashi artwork done by artists all over the world. Including Suminagashi artworks created by artist Xandra Sammana.
First, let’s take a look at what exactly traditional Suminagashi is all about:
Around the 12th century, possibly even earlier, Suminagashi, meaning “floating ink” in Japanese became a form of water marbling. Water marbling are ink designs created on the surface of water that is transposed onto a variety of surfaces. Although the materials used are simplistic, the actual technique takes time, skill and practice to achieve.
The Sumingashi designs can vary in simplicity and intricacy. In ancient Japan, poets hand-wrote poems on fabric or paper and then use Sumingashi as the background artwork for them. It was a way to beautify poetry. Once the Japanese royal courts became interested in Sumingashi, they changed their technique to using sumi-ink and then dipping the paper in the water to create the background designs. Some say Japan are the first to begin water marbling, water marbling techniques, mediums, and even materials varied as it spread in popularity throughout Turkey, Middle East and Europe.
As time continued on, Suminagashi began to change its approach to be varied. However, concentric circles and white space became more prevalent as the advanced skill behind water marbling.
Evolution of Sumingashi into modern day artwork:
However, now water marbling has taken an even deeper approach, involving concentric circles and perceivable form to create mesmerizing Suminagashi artwork with actual realistic shapes and even storytelling such as animals, flowers, and music instruments.
Modern Suminagashi artist XANDRA DOE showcases examples of her storytelling and anthropomorphic impressionist style in her one-of-a-kind Suminagashi paintings using only ink, water, a shallow dish, and surfaces to transpose her designs onto, such as thick paper and textiles. She uses a combination of brush, drip, breath work, and even singing / humming to create her amazing Suminagashi paintings.
In the 17th century, Master Sumingashi artists rarely revealed their secrets. The reality is Suminagashi is a special art form in need of experimentation to acheive the results you want. There are books published about Suminagashi and its “troubleshooting” techniques. XANDRA DOE does not employ any of these techniques or learned skills to her breathtaking work. She uses experimentation as her greatest teacher.
For more Suminagashi artwork and anthropomorphic impressionist paintings by artist XANDRA SAMMANA, check out her instagram page: @XANDRA.ARTIST. In October 2022, her solo exhibition Shinto will be held at the Yume Japanese Gardens in Tucson, Arizona. From October 2022 until 2023.