It was a sunny afternoon in Almaty when I walked into Elena’s creative space, not knowing that I was about to embark on an unforgettable artistic journey.
The world of Ebru art had always been intriguing to me, and finally, I was about to dip my toes into its enchanting waters.
Elena greeted us with a warm smile and started sharing the stories behind her mesmerizing artworks, each telling its unique tale, inspiring us to create out own works of art.
Our workshop began with the traditional Turkish style of Ebru painting. Elena, with the finesse that only a seasoned artist possesses, guided our team small team of three through the intricate process. We started with the delicate act of sprinkling colored pigments on a tray of water, setting the base for what was to become a work of art.
Then came the moment we had been waiting for – painting the iconic tulips. With a light, Elena demonstrated the technique. The way the colors danced and mingled on the water’s surface was truly hypnotic.
Did you know?
The symbolism of the tulip is tied to Islam because the Arabic word for tulip is similar to Allah and the writing of Allah in Arabic resembles the shape of the flower. According to legend, after marbling was introduced from eastern and central Asia, ebru developed in the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century to prevent forgery of official documents and to decorate prayer books. There are two predominant theories for the etymology of ebru: that it derives from the Persian words for either “water surface” or “clouded water.” In either case, skill with water is a must!
I was ecstatic to see my own creation being born and enjoyed modifying my tulip by adding two more buds, a small yet meaningful details to me.
But the day was not just about tradition. Elena introduced us to the world of abstract Ebru art next. This was a domain where imagination ran wild. We played with colors, making them collide, merge, and sometimes even explode in unpredictable patterns. Each stroke was a surprise, each result an unexpected delight. The abstract art was liberating, offering a stark contrast to the meticulous nature of traditional painting.
As the day neared its end, we took a moment to admire our creations. Beside the structured beauty of the tulips was the wild allure of abstract patterns. It was a testament to the versatility of Ebru art and its ability to captivate both the experienced and beginner artists.
Walking out of Elena’s studio that evening, we carried not just a piece of art, but also a newfound appreciation for the wonders of Ebru. To all art enthusiasts living or visiting Almaty, do try making ecru art with Elena.
Follow her on Instagram @ebrueurasia to see more of her vibrant work.
Written by Slava Noor