This week I played with sink art. "Sink Art" is a term coined by the late Dick Beasley, a calligrapher from Arizona who utilized calligraphy as art. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to study with him one week in Indiana many years ago.
A few years ago I took a workshop from one of Dick's proteges, Sherrie Lovler, where (with a broken hand in a brace) I did this piece of sink art, among others. The broken hand was an impediment both to lettering and to properly wetting the paper, but it was fun, nevertheless.
I wouldn't use this piece as it is, but the following photos show that there are many intriguing little bits that would make a good background or embellishable piece.
This week's experiments were a mixed bag of results. At first, loathe to ruin 'good' paper, I used drawing paper and Moon Palace Sumi ink. Eehhh - not so good.
Laurie Doctor suggested I use better paper, and when I pulled out the go-to Arches Text Wove paper the results were better. Arches Text Wove, also now called Arches Velin, is a 100% rag pH neutral paper which takes a lot of abuse and folds nicely: an excellent book paper.
To do sink art, you letter or mark on 'good' paper with a non-waterproof ink. The more waterproof it is, the less of the image you will be able to remove. You have to experiment to find what works best, and you have to let it sit a little while, but not too long or the ink will be totally dry and basically immovable. Take the still wet piece of inked paper to the sink and run water over it. (It's messy!) Depending upon your goal, you can move the paper around and/or 'scrub' at the marks to release more ink. When you see patterns you like, it's time to quit. If you wash too long, there will be no good marks left. You can use colored inks with Sink art. Experiment!
I selected these rectangles from a larger sheet by moving a template around on it and tracing the inside border, cutting them out later with scissors.
What will I do with these rectangular bits of art? I will glue them to book pages and embellish them with ink and pencil. Stay tuned! I hope to have a finished book to post in a few days. Below are two Arches Text wove 'books in the raw'. I imagine the smaller of the two will be the basis for the sink art book. In a Rosie Kelly book workshop I took, Rosie had beautiful snippets of sink art in some of her books, and they remain my inspiration.