Thursday, July 2, 2009

From Big New Car to Small New Brushes

First and foremost, a great relief -- after two and a half days of many dealers, test drives, models and prices, I chose a Toyota Highlander. It will take us on our future travel adventures in total comfort. Unlike my previous 2000 Nissan Maxima, which I pledged to drive for 10 years or 200,000 miles, I made no such pledge this time! This is a big vehicle for me and after a few years if I want to go small and sporty, I'm making that clear right up front to the big-is-better vehicle lover in our house.

Meanwhile, even though I'm leaving again tomorrow for the holiday weekend, I just had to spend some time at my studio today, even if only for the afternoon, to test out these amazing new brushes. I purchased them at the Surface Design Association conference. The vendor, Ying Zhou, is a potter from Philadelphia-- she makes each brush by hand. Before purchasing, I was able to try out the brushes with water on a special plate that shows the marks each makes. Each brush has its own character and a slightly different feel to it, even though some may be similar sizes.

This bamboo brush intrigues me. The end of the piece of bamboo has been split so the actual fibers of the bamboo form a brush -- much like chewing the ends of a stick to create a crude brush and with a light hand, the marks of the individual fiber are apparent on the paper.

This is the largest and most expensive brush that I purchased; it has a full head that makes broad strokes but has that wonderful long tip for ending or beginning lines with a narrow flourish.

The overwhelming need to explore making marks with these new brushes came into focus particularly so today because I happened onto a marvelous blog this morning called "tackad," written by artist Dean Aldrich in Horseheads, NY. Dean's post on "Carved Calligraphy" includes a You Tube video of Elliott Puckett's new exhibition at Paul Kasmin gallery in NYC. Of course I love the flowing lines and movement the artist creates, as well as how she literally carves the lines into the gessoed board. Wonderful work.

Dean's blog is a veritable gold mine of text, mark and abstract calligraphy references -- and I am eager to revisit it after the 4th of July weekend with family, where once again I will have no internet or cell phone service. Our little cottage is a great place to go unplug; but I've already had enough unplugging for a while, so will be happy to see the light of my computer screen once again on Sunday.


  1. I saw those brushes! They're lovely. Are they only going to make those kinds of lines on paper? I wonder how they'd do on starched silk. Very pretty!

  2. Hi Mandi, I will have to keep practicing with the brushes to get the feel of what they can do, move from paper to stretched silk next.