Re: [Marbling] Danilo's comments
- It is at times just paper. It can also be a spiritual experience. What that means to each person is likely different. When you are marbling you can be bored to tears, while making hundreds of the same paper, or you can be creating art and getting into an almost trance like state at the wonder of it all. Sometimes....pardon my saying so I hate it. Usually on those repetitive orders! Sometimes I hate it or get mad at it because it humbles me and lets me know I do not have ultimate control over it and I mess up big time. Who is to say, it depends on what is happening at the moment.
It is important to laugh, even at oneself, especially at oneself. One day I was full of myself for finding another little marbling discovery. Later that day a friend came over who is a fireman.....that day he had saved an old lady from a fire, and rescued an attemped suicide. I suddenly felt so unimportant....like it really was just pretty paper....no more.
----- Original Message -----
From: Jake Benson<mailto:handbindery@...>
Sent: Sunday, January 02, 2005 4:52 PM
Subject: [Marbling] Danilo's comments
It seems that the dogmatic tenor of some have reached a new level, or
rather, a new low! When I hear comments like these, it really makes me
start to wonder if I've been wasting my time, not only here, but in
general, all these years. My initial knee-jerk response is "Shall I
just throw in the towel and call it quits?". I've had my fill of this
talk to last several lifetimes!
It seems that no matter how seriously one tries to approach the study
of this art, no matter how many years one spends struggling to learn
difficult languages, study evidence, or systematically review claims,
not to mention simply make the stuff, it makes no difference in the
end. People will simply prefer what want to believe and take whatever
they can use to promote themselves as "distinguished" or "original"
Is the tradition of ebru a 1,000 year old spiritual tradition? Is it
even 1,000 years old? I've discussed this before, and rather than
repeat myself, please feel free to explore the list archives for my
musings on this subject.
A grandiose story is surely designed to IMPRESS the listener. Yet If
one demonstrates how certain the impressive claims are unsubstantiated,
it doesn't deter others from continuing to make them. People will find
a reason to ignore it, get upset and offended, take issue with you, or
just put you down and belittle you, as an uninitiated "outsider" who
couldn't POSSIBLY know what they are talking about. Responding to the
comments in a positive, encouraging, or objective manner seems elusive
at best. Subjective criticism is of no real help or benefit to anyone,
even the critic who utters it. Suffice it to say that I've found it
far more difficult and also more rewarding to maintain objectivity.
A few years ago I was greatly heartened to meet a Turkish woman who was
fortunate to visit the late Turkish master Mustafa Düzgünman at his
apothecary shop in Üsküdar in the 70's. She told me that he kept
repeating "it's merely paper!". While he is known to have taken
himself very seriously and felt a special duty to preserve his
traditional art form... this incident makes me openly wonder to what
degree that others have placed an even greater emphasis on what may
just have been either his or his teacher's inspired musings and
In one sense, that is an aspect of any "tradition". It is what the
student of a particular master chooses to emphasize to their own
students in turn. Oddly enough, and with perhaps one exception, the
majority who promote the notion of ebru as a 1,000 year old spiritual
practice, are NOT students of Mustafa.
Please feel free to correct me if I am mistaken. I am always ready and
willing to listen and learn and revise my views. All you have to do is
provide me with some good data to show me why I should do so. I
encourage anyone to spend a little bit of time researching this area
For some time I have studied the topic of marbling and mysticism, and
have drafted a very lengthy essay that scrutinizes this issue in great
detail, but I remain hesitant to share it because I know it is bound to
offend someone. I'm not trying to do that, of course, but rather
attempting to encourage that if you believe as much, to provide better
documentation and evidence to support the claim. I also don't need to
burden the list members with what may seem a very arcane matter. In
time, when I feel it's well written and edited, I will share it.
Yet I am not immune from being human! I too have made comments in the
past that I'm not proud of and haunt me to some degree. Some have been
hurtful and for that I am truly sorry. I too have made unsubstantiated
claims and dismissed those who took a different view, or felt that my
methods were "superior" to other manifestations of this art form.
So maybe this is just my Karma, or in Turkish, my Kismet/ Arabic
Qismat. It is my hope to one day emerge from being full of myself to
being able to laugh at myself.
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