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One of’s favourites, Jetske Visser, has been busy experimenting with fluid patterns created by liquid tension.

By Gabrielle Kennedy /asdf 24-01-2013

HYDROPHOBIA is created by the hydrophobic reaction between water and oil based pigments. 

Hydrophobia literally means fear of water.  “It is about the reaction between water and oil,” explains Jetske Visser.  “They are materials which reject each other … they do not mix.”

When water and oil are mixed, the water repels the oil-based pigment, which in turn spreads out making a thin film on top of the water.

That film contains a pattern, which Visser captures and fixates onto silk.  With the fabric she has created a series of scarves.

Visser got the idea for this approach from bathroom experiments she used to conduct with her father.  “When I was a little girl, my dad and I made marbled paper,” she explains.  “Every time we did this, our bathroom turned into a little atelier. I researched marbling and found information about its origin.  It is sumi-nagashi ("letting ink flow")from Japan, which is even more inspiring.”

And as with much of Visser’s previous work, she is inspired by watching, rather than taming, nature.  “I think nature has a great beauty,” she says.  “The pattern on these scarves is uncontrollable; it is made by a process, a reaction by nature. I guess you can say I like capturing nature and combining it with design.”

For now she is just working on silks because other fabrics like cotton are too rough to hold the subtle print. “I think silk shows the beauty of the print best,” Visser says.  “Because of the glimmer of silk it looks a bit like the surface of water. It creates the idea as if the pattern is still fluent.”

Visser is happy with these results and is now experimenting with how the process might also work with wood, ceramics and wall coverings.

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