Thanks for your detailed reply, Jake. Which message has Garret
Dixon's recent article on using retention aid instead of a mordant?
Now that gives one pause for thought. I have not heard of retention
aid being used externally before.
Sorry, but I don't know which brushes are used by Tadao-sensei. I
have scanned and hope to be able to attach an image of two of my
brushes, which are similar to his.(This doesn't seem to work.) The
inner hairs are black and fairly strong, holding most of the paint,
while the outer fine grey hairs enclose them, allowing just the
longest black hairs to form the fine tip of the brush. A similar brush
is shown in the beautiful website on fude which is noted in the
Message 3112 website info. I agree that the cheap Chinese
brushes with all-white hairs are virtually useless, even for
surfactant, which also requires a fine tip to create perfect voids
between concentric lines of paint.
I can't find my record of purchase of my brushes it was at a
wonderful shop in Pio City (a large shopping complex) in Sakura, a
suburb between Yokohama and Tokyo. It specialises in handmade paper
from different regions, plus everything needed for calligraphy (hence
my purchase of fude). When I find the name of the shop I will let you know
I have just finished a session of suminagashi using a large marbling
tank. At last my big fude have come into their own, holding enough
paint to complete the lines needed for a large sheet of paper (about
600x600mm). I still think that the smaller Size 12 Taklon brushes
would be better for small marbling tanks, however.
Regarding colour, Tadao-sensei used brilliant greens, reds, blue and
black, creating very colourful designs. He said he has to go to China
to source some of the pigments, which he and his wife grind. I have
tried grinding good quality sumi sticks, but probably do not have the
patience or skill to get strong colours. My colours are very pale.
Does anyone know how to achieve strong, rich colours for suminagashi?
No doubt printing inks would do the job, but I baulk at the thought
of solvents . .
Regarding suminagashi using our own handmade papers- mine worked very
well, but I was not using traditional fibres, only cotton linter plus
some recycled paper plus internal size. (These papers were not so
good for traditional marbling, as they were not smooth enough.)
Best regards. Joan Ajala
--- In Marbling@yahoogroups.com, "Jake Benson" <handbindery@b...> wrote:
> Thanks Joan, though I think a lot more could be written on the
subject of marbling
> handmade papers in general. Garret Dixon's recent article and
message on using
> retention aid instead of a mordant invites a resh discussion of this
and related topics.
> Can you fill out what you've mentioned with a few more details?
> Just what kind of brush does Tadao-sensei use? What hair is it made
from and how is it
> constructed? Also, where did you get your brushes? I know of one
supplier in Tokyo,
> named Paper Nao. Boku Undo used to sell brushes at the BYC store,
and Yasutomo makes
> a few ranges that are distributed in the US. But I ave to try them
all to see what is good for
> suminagashi. A WONDERFUL book, "Japanese Brushes- the Beauty of
> was written in 1979 by Usui Masao. It was published as part of the
Kodansha Form and
> Function series. Maybe your brushes are depicted in that book?
> Recently I did try some Chinese brushes and found a variety called a
"golden needle" made
> by "3 rabbit" company in Anhui worked pretty nice for me. Another
brush by the same
> company called "Xie-Xuan" also had a nice flow and sharp tip. Both
are variations of what
> are called "purple sword" brush. The 3 rabbit brand have rabbit
hair the the
> middle,surrounded by a mantle of soft sheep or goat hair. Cheaper
versions use horse
> hair instead of rabbit but they are awful. It is funny, but the
concept is the opposite of the
> other brushes Ive tries- those made with soft hair inside and harder
hair outside. But it
> basically did the same thing. Purists would disagree with this
approach, I'm sure.
> I have never heard of the line of brushes you mention that are made
in Sri Lanaka, but it is
> good to kow about it and I hope will help others on the list...
> Chinese Xuan paper is often called "rice paper" here in the US, but
it is made from the bark
> of the Qintan tree for teh most part in Anhui provice. Inferior
varieties are adulterated,
> often with rice straw, hence the name. I tried a number of Chinese
Xuan papers available
> from Acorn Planet and found that the Wang Luiji Brand "Double" Xuan
worked very well for
> suminagashi. Also the Wang Liuji Pi Xuan, but it was not as nice as
the "double". Both are
> varietiews of "Sheng Xuan" or "Raw Xuan" as opposed to "Xie Xuan" or
"aged Xuan" which
> has been sized to reduce absorbency. None of the Red Star brand
papers from Acron
> Planet worked for me at all, depsite it being consistent touted in
China as one of the best
> papers for painting and calligraphy.
> These products can be purchased in the US from
> As far as colors, I have been using the sumi sicks and prefer them,
though the boku Undo
> scolors are certainly brighter and more saturated. Still, I like
the look of the traditional ai
> indigo and beni red with the black. I'm not sure which sticks you
have tried, but I have
> foud that cheap sticks don't work very well if you want a rich black.
> As a follow-up question, is anyone on this list making suminagashi
using their own
> handmade papers? Tom, if you are here, Ii wondered if you had any
hints about that. We
> tried using some abaca and kozo papers, and some worked well, but
others seemed to be
> sized and the colors ran. I thought the kozo would work well and
was surprised when it
> didn't. I also had the same trouble with some of the machine made
kozo roll papers I
> Hiromi paper in California sent me a list of Japanese papers they
sell that they say will
> work. I have tried some but not all yet....
> HM-3 Mino gami, HP-12 Gampi silk tissue, KHM-9 Kozo Natural Uwazen,
> HP-59 Sekishu White or Natural, HP-64 or 65, HP-67 Hosho, SH-4
Harukaze, SH-5 Tanbo,
> SH-8 Sanusi, SH-35, W-1, MM-1, MM-2, MM-7, MMN-28 Gampi, SH-16 Kitakata.
> Roll paper, HPR-19 Mulberry and Kitakata roll.
> I would like to get similar lists from Aiko's in Chicago and
Japanese Paper Place in Toronto
> so we can all try them out and report back. Also a list from Paper
Nao, so that people
> visiting Tokyo will know what to buy.
> Of course, I'm curious ot know what our friend Takaji's opinion is
on these matters....
> > Regarding suminagashi brushes, I have been using Japanese
> > bamboo-handled suminagashi brushes which I bought in Japan. They are
> > similar to those used by Tadao Fukuda at his workplace in Imadate,
> > Fukui. I watched him fill a large sheet of handmade paper with single
> > brushloads of paint, which he prepares personally. The brushes I
> > bought have at least two kinds of hair - the inner hairs seem to
> > retain the paint and the outer hairs form the fine point. If anything
> > they hold too much ink, and conversely absorb an equal amount of water
> > from the marbling tank as they are being used. I dry them each time
> > before putting them back into the paint containers so that the paint
> > will not be diluted. I am using Buko Undo paints - this may be part of
> > the problem.
> > Actually, the brushes I prefer for suminagashi are Francheville Size
> > 12, with "200 Taklon" printed on them, made in Srilanka, or similar
> > brushes. They have a very fine point, don't hold too much paint, and
> > are very well behaved.
> > I have read that you don't like the use of Buko Undo paints- what is
> > the alternative? Do we need to grind our own pigments and add the
> > required fish glue? I have actually made my own fish glue,double-
> > boiling large fish lips to produce the best glue- now I don't know how
> > to use it! I have had no success with grinding ink sticks, getting
> > only a very pale set of circles.
> > I still have a very good photo of you taken at the 2002 gathering!
> > Must finally send it to you. Best regards, Joan Ajala
> > -- In Marbling@yahoogroups.com, Jake Benson <handbindery@b...> wrote:
> > > Hello everyone,
> > >
> > > I have a number of brushes for making suminagashi which I purchased
> > > from Colophon some time ago. However , Someone recently asked
> > > hence I wonder, if anyone has used the Asian-style bamboo handle
> > > brushes now made by Loew-Cornell as well as Windsor and Newton.
> > > are now available from many arts and crafts supply stores these
> > > such as Michael's and Pearl. LC makes 3 sizes, while WN makes
> > > say they are natural hair, but I do wonder if they work well for
> > > purpose or not.
> > >
> > > Don Guyot had explained to me quite a while ago about how the
> > > more expensive brushes from Boku Undo that he sold were made from a
> > > combination of hairs. Looking at mine, I think it may be a wolf
> > > on the outside, and something soft and white inside- maybe goat?
> > > ago I bought some very cheap Chinese brushes which I think are
> > > hair- all white hair, and very soft. They don't work well at
> > > they don't keep a point. I used them only for the water with
> > > sumifactant, but never for applying ink...
> > >
> > > Any hints or insight is highly appreciated!
> > >
> > > Jake Benson