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Heritage Highlights: Ebru Heritage Craft Kits

By November 2, 2023March 11th, 2024Blog, Heritage Highlights
A tray is filled with water with ink dripped and stylized on the surface of the water. The background is yellow . The design looks like white and purple abstract flowers with green leaves.
Ebru, a Turkish water marbling practice., shown here  in progress, for the Ebru Heritage Craft Kit.

Heritage Craft Kits—Ebru

Through an ongoing partnership with the Carnegie Library of Homestead, Rivers of Steel is occasionally able to offer heritage craft video instruction, along with corresponding craft kits that patrons can take home from the library to practice an artform, like the one available now that provides instruction on ebru, Turkish water marbling. Support for this round is provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, in partnership with the Carnegie Library of Homestead.

Please note: Kits are available beginning Wednesday, November 8. 

Ebru Water Marbling with Gloria Bal

Gloria Bal is an artist and teacher from Istanbul, Turkey. After moving to the United States to complete her Master’s degree in Education, she lived in Pittsburgh for a decade before moving to Wayne, New Jersey in 2023. During her time here, Gloria showed her art and held workshops with many local organizations and arts festivals all around Pennsylvania.

Gloria specializes in the art of ebru, a Turkish tradition of “water marbling” (painting in water). Ebru has been practiced by Muslims for hundreds of years as a method of decorating mosques and copies of the Quran with fluid, floral images. Symbols like tulips have deep meaning to them as representations of God—the original ebru brushes were even made from rose stems. Turkish people have historically made special water thickeners from animal substances like gall, a fluid produced by oxen, to make the water into a jelly that can be painted. These days, many now use powdered seaweed.

Watch her video tutorial below to see how easy the process of water marbling can be. Then practice for yourself by picking up a kit at the Carnegie Library of Homestead while supplies last.

Heritage Craft Kits for the Carnegie Library of Homestead

Now that you’ve watched the video to learn more about the process, try it for yourself! Stop by the Carnegie Library of Homestead to pick up an Ebru Heritage Craft Kit.

This craft kit contains: a brush, a pin, a tray, a packet of ebru powder, and a set of ebru paints. You’ll also need water, a whisk, and printer paper. The kit is best for children in sixth grade or above, or third to fifth grade with adult accompaniment. You can view and download a PDF of the instructions here, and you can pick up a kit of your own at the Carnegie Library of Homestead at 510 East 10th Avenue, Munhall PA, 15210.

About Rivers of Steel’s Heritage Arts Program

Rivers of Steel’s Heritage Arts program represents the region’s diverse cultural heritage, from ethnic customs and occupational traditions to new American folk arts and urban cultural practices. Usually passed down from person to person within close-knit communities, these traditions are as varied as they are unique, each representing another part of southwestern Pennsylvania’s rich ways of life.

Are you a folk or traditional artist? Are you looking for other cultural experiences to explore? You can contact our Heritage Arts Coordinator Jon Engel at for more information.

For more information about Gloria Bal, read about the Currents project she participated in with Rivers of Steel in 2023.