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High Bridge Pottery

Paint Brushes

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What are your favourite brushes to use in the studio. Anybody ever made their own brushes? Got inventive ways of applying slip/glaze?

 

I have mixed up some test iron oxide overglaze and I am looking for a good brush. These kind of ones look really good but they are expensive :( might just have to part with some money.

 

BJ828.JPG

 

This is the kind of thing that is inspiring me.

 

SequoiaOverGlaze.jpg

Babs likes this

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A professionally made brush that makes interesting marks tends to be expensive. I've bought a couple at NCECA and they never leave the studio.

 

I have however made many kinds of brushes. I have used deer tail, dog tail hair ... You do not trim the decorative end of these, just the handle side. I have gathered weeds and grasses and made brushes out of them. Have you got Grandmas old fur coat somewhere that no one is using? Nice brush source as long as no one notices. : - )

If you have bamboo trees near you they make excellent handles.

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I have made my own brushes from squirrel tail. No I did not kill the poor things but I did fish a couple of dead squirrels out of my rain barrel and cut off their tails. The long, absorbent, fibers from the end of the tail make a great brush for striping and trailing.

 

I gave the rest of the tail to a friend who ties fly's.

levoslashx likes this

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I don't make my own, but buy brushes as I find them. As I also am in to watercolor, I find quite a few just looking. Last year a line went out at Michael's, and they sold all of the brushes left in the line at about 25% of original, some 10% I bought up a bunch of brushes. I love liner brushes for fine uncontrolled work, and Hake, and sumi brushes for other things-was able to score a variety of these.  So watch suppliers for changes in brush lines for deep discounts!

Last year I found an $8 sumi brush in a novelty store that was a 14" heavy bamboo handle with a 3" end.  Not good for watercolor, but great for stain/slip work on large pieces.

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For glaze/underglaze application, I use natural hair brushes . . . they hold water/moisture better than those made of man-made fibers. Much to the chagrin of my painting instructor, I use my Chinese brush painting brushes for doing underglaze decoration. For slip application, I use mostly hake brushes, but my favorite is an old turkey basting brush -- made with nylon bristles; that stiffness is what I want when doing kohiki slip work because it helps the slip form better texture than a soft hair brush.

 

I've made my own brushes; mostly, I buy them from other potters who also make brushes.

 

For wax application, a nice cheap-o artists brush is nice.

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I have painted in oils, acrylics and watercolors for 30 years.  I have brushes that are 25 years old and still in good shape.  If you are willing to spend $$ on a good quality brush, and you take care of it, it will last a long time.  You will need to find the brush that works with the material to make the mark that you are looking for.  When doing underglaze work I like a synthetic.  The have a little more resilience then a natural hair and will last quite awhile.  When making marks with some iron oxide I like a natural hair Japanese calligraphy brush.  For large amounts of slip application, a hake.  For putting kiln wash on the shelves, a cheapie form the dollar store.

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Here are my very crude iron oxide overglaze tests. Very close to what I want but they "blur" at the edges.

 

I have the recipe, just added water to get it to the right consistency.

 

Red iron oxide 1 tsp

China Clay 1 tsp

Gerstley Borate 1 tsp

Bentonite About 1g

 

Should I reduce the Gerstley Borate if I want it to flux less? Or is there anything I can add that will make it flux less, maybe a bit more china clay?

 

post-23281-0-82159700-1393501560_thumb.jpg

 

Some nice information here, might have to go out killing squirrels soon or start looking at roadkill in a different light ;) Very much enjoy mark making with brushes.

post-23281-0-82159700-1393501560_thumb.jpg

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Your bleeding along the edges may be from the interaction of the oxide wash with the glaze.

 

Two cautions about roadkill as brush sources: fleas and ticks. If you recycle, then treat for fleas and ticks before handling and using.

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Your bleeding along the edges may be from the interaction of the oxide wash with the glaze.

 

Two cautions about roadkill as brush sources: fleas and ticks. If you recycle, then treat for fleas and ticks before handling and using.

And then there are viruses.... rabies,  hantavirus, etc.   

~janie likes this

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You don't really have to pick up dead animals on the road to get hair for your brushes, although my husband did volunteer to get a skunk tail for me.... :wub:

 

Any of the sporting places, like Pro Bass, Cabala's, etc., etc.  carries supplies for fly fishing and the guys who tie their own lures.  I have ordered Artic Fox, squirrel, and elk, and they have a ton more.

 

My grandson is also a prime supplier of fur and hairs.  He saves tails from deer, squirrel, fox, rabbit, raccoon, and anything else he harvests during hunting season.  He saves horse hair from grooming his horse and hair from the bull's tail when he is being groomed for show.  He is a really good grandson!  (and an excellent hunter)

 

Oddly enough, the one species that I am coveting and have been unable to find is from a goat.  I want some hair from between the shoulder blades of the goat, but I don't know anybody who has goats who will share a bit of hair.

 

We also have a never ending supply of bamboo for handles.  I do mean a NEVER ENDING supply!

 

I have an abundance of hairs, tails and etc.  If you will send your address, I will be happy to share.  :)

High Bridge Pottery likes this

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That sounds like a great supply, I would love you to send me some but I do live in England. I know a few people who maybe able to source me some tails locally first, just going to have to ask a few questions.

 

I know plenty of people who hunt birds. A feather brush  :blink: could work  B)

 

Bamboo is my next problem. Could I just grow myself some in a pot?

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You might could grow some, but I could not guarantee that it would grow.  You can buy bamboo stakes for plants at some plant nurseries.  You can also use wooden dowels, drilled, for handles, and old knitting needles make great handles for all sorts of tools.  Use dental floss to tie the hair into a nice bundle (unless it is still attached to the hide) and dip in epoxy glue.  Insert into the handle and allow to dry well.  I like to try my tied 'brushes' with water before gluing them in, just to be sure I like what they do.

 

I happen to know for a fact that UK has a lot of bunnies running around.  We lived there for 3 years, loved, loved, loved it!

 

I am now beseeching my son the Duck Hunter to bring feathers from the ducks.  We shall see.  I was planning to use them for raku.

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Haven't tried feathers but as most are naturally repellant of water you'd have to create an oil slick disaster event before they would pick up a wash but this is just me thinking.

Turkey feathers or traily peacock come to mind as trail leavers.

EDIT

I do like varying sizes of fan brushes which I dip then stroke along the container rim to seperate the bristles

 

post-21244-0-28923000-1393634387_thumb.jpg

post-21244-0-28923000-1393634387_thumb.jpg

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Came across wrong High Bridge,  prob need to wash feathers in a strong detergent to remove water repellant, like they do after oil slicks.......

 

Ah, I did not think about this. I do have some boiled linseed oil mixed with iron oxide left over from my photolithography attempts. Maybe that would do something...

 

Going to try hairs first I think.

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Regardless of whether you make your own or buy your brushes, proper care and storage is important to keeping them in good shape. Many folks store their brushes handle down in a cup/jar, with bristles in the air. That is not a good way to store or dry your brush as the water runs down into the ferrule. Store your brushes by hanging them from the tip of the handle. That lets the water run down when drying and it allows the bristles to keep their shape when dry and not in use.

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