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Re: brushes for suminagashi

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  • Jake Benson
    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
    Message 1 of 6 , Jun 12, 2005
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      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 Everyday Objects"
      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

      www.acornplanet.com

      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
      tried.

      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....

      www.hiromipaper.com

      HM-3 Mino gami, HP-12 Gampi silk tissue, KHM-9 Kozo Natural Uwazen, HP-15 Okawara,
      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....

      Jake







      > 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 me, and
      > > hence I wonder, if anyone has used the Asian-style bamboo handle
      > > brushes now made by Loew-Cornell as well as Windsor and Newton. These
      > > are now available from many arts and crafts supply stores these days
      > > such as Michael's and Pearl. LC makes 3 sizes, while WN makes 5. They
      > > say they are natural hair, but I do wonder if they work well for this
      > > purpose or not.
      > >
      > > Don Guyot had explained to me quite a while ago about how the better,
      > > 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 hair
      > > on the outside, and something soft and white inside- maybe goat? Years
      > > ago I bought some very cheap Chinese brushes which I think are all goat
      > > hair- all white hair, and very soft. They don't work well at all, as
      > > 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
    • Renato
      Hello everyone, Take a look at this site...http://www.fude.or.jp/e/main_content.html It is a english version of a japanese brushes store, they state that they
      Message 2 of 6 , Jun 14, 2005
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        Hello everyone,

        Take a look at this site...http://www.fude.or.jp/e/main_content.html
        It is a english version of a japanese brushes store, they state that
        they have brushes for all purposes...unfortunely, the online shop is
        available only in japanese version, but I believe that you can get
        some good info there.

        Good luck,
        Renato
      • sixshort
        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
        Message 3 of 6 , Jun 17, 2005
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          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
          Everyday Objects"
          > 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
          >
          > www.acornplanet.com
          >
          > 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
          > tried.
          >
          > 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....
          >
          > www.hiromipaper.com
          >
          > HM-3 Mino gami, HP-12 Gampi silk tissue, KHM-9 Kozo Natural Uwazen,
          HP-15 Okawara,
          > 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....
          >
          > Jake
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > > 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
          me, and
          > > > hence I wonder, if anyone has used the Asian-style bamboo handle
          > > > brushes now made by Loew-Cornell as well as Windsor and Newton.
          These
          > > > are now available from many arts and crafts supply stores these
          days
          > > > such as Michael's and Pearl. LC makes 3 sizes, while WN makes
          5. They
          > > > say they are natural hair, but I do wonder if they work well for
          this
          > > > purpose or not.
          > > >
          > > > Don Guyot had explained to me quite a while ago about how the
          better,
          > > > 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
          hair
          > > > on the outside, and something soft and white inside- maybe goat?
          Years
          > > > ago I bought some very cheap Chinese brushes which I think are
          all goat
          > > > hair- all white hair, and very soft. They don't work well at
          all, as
          > > > 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
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