Monday, March 29, 2010

Acquiring new brushes ... right next door


Maybe 15 years ago I bought my first bamboo-handled brush from Keith Lebenzon, a wonderful brushmaker I met at the Baltimore ACC show. Any stroke of the beautiful brush seemed to produce something wonderful. A year or two later, I bought yet another brush from Keith.
But the years and probably my cavalier treatment of my tools has meant that the brushes are now due for replacement. So I went searching for Keith online, found his website, but couldn't get the "contact" button to work. It turns out, sadly, that Keith Lebenzon died unexpectedly about a year and a half ago. His brush art was marvelous, both for the art of its construction and for what each brush could do in the hands of someone who cared.
I searched a bit deeper online and found Ron Mello, who teaches at Bridgewater State College here in Massachusetts, not far from Falmouth. Ron makes pots, prints and paintings, and he also makes brushes inspired by the kind of work Keith did.
So I've ordered two moose-hair brushes from him. They're not cheap, but neither were Keith's. And they look pretty good. Ron's work can be seen at ronmellostudio.com. Take a look.

11 comments:

mengley said...

Beautiful brushes -- how are they made?

Hollis Engley said...

Ummmm ... I actually don't know, Marco. I'm sure he cures the bamboo for a year or more, then lines up the brush hairs to make the head. ... You should ask him. Or I should.

FetishGhost said...

Beautiful brush!!!

Tracey Broome said...

I inherited hand made brushes from Leonora Coleman, the woman that owned Claymakers, the studio where I no longer work because I talk too much:)
They are lovely brushes and mean all the more because they were hers. It is amazing what a good brush can do. Too bad I'm just not interested in brush work right now. Maybe one day...
That's a nice one though!

Hollis Engley said...

You'll probably come back around at some point, Tracey. Then you'll have Leonora's brushes. Nice story.

cookingwithgas said...

we have brush envy!
how pretty is that!
I bet great things will come out and that brush will pay for itself in no time.

Hollis Engley said...

Hope so, Meredith.

cindy shake said...

That brush is so beautiful! Moose hair huh? Hmmm, little did I know I have "brushes" walking through my yard right now! I also read that Kent McLaughlin makes brushes.

Hollis Engley said...

Go on out and get a supply of moose hair for all of us, Cindy.

janet said...

Beauty and function - always worth it.

MVBLH said...

Amazing...I'm looking at one for Cullen's 17th b-day. He's learning Japanese calligraphy now, and he'd appreciate a fine brush. Hard to choose...maybe #37?