Paper Marbling


An Artisan’s view
Alberto Valese, Master Paper Marbler

The art of paper marbling was born in China and Japan in the 1300s and made its way to Persia and Turkey via the Silk Road, where it flourished under the Ottoman master craftsmen and was known as ‘Ebrù’ (the Turkish word for ‘cloud’). From ancient tomes, and a journey through Turkey, Alberto Valese was able to learn the technique’s secrets and skills. From his workshop, Valese has developed a style that draws inspiration from Venice’s unique qualities.

An Artisan’s view
Alberto Valese, Master Paper Marbler

How has Venice influenced your craft?

The colour, tranquility and silence are a constant source of inspiration for me. I come from a family of Venetian artisans, my grandfather opened a foundry here, and it still bears our name to this day. I grew up, made friends and developed as an artist in the neighbourhood between Campo Santo Stefano and San Samuele. I still like to go and watch the world go by in the lagoon on my boat. Living in Venice has put me at the heart of an environment of artistic craftsmanship, and I am all the happier for it.

What do you love most about your work?

I not only love creating things, but also simply meeting the interesting people that are drawn in by my work. For me craftsmanship is special because you have to know yourself, know what you do, know your limits and your desires. Even though it’s quite a solitary job, it has been important for my character, for my mood, for my daily routine. I really can’t have asked for anything more in life than this artisan profession.

What advice would you give to a young craftsman?

As a young craftsman, the most important thing is to have patience, tranquility and a lot of persistence. I remember my father who, when I was experimenting for a year with few results, greatly appreciated my perseverance. I had to face many difficulties at the beginning because I knew nothing about this art, or even the materials required. Working from ancient books, I struggled finding modern equivalents to the ancient ingredients. Although artisan craft has an uncertain future in modern times, I believe Venice will always be a city where artisans can thrive, as it has been for centuries.

Web address: https://www.albertovalese-ebru.it/new/?lang=en