Today there was a memorial service for brushes in a small temple in Japan. Calligraphers and writers gathered to burn their old brushes in gratitude and in hopes of better penmanship. I have recently moved some old supplies to a new spot in my house, so this bit of information struck a chord with me. It seemed like a good idea to me.
My friend Karen Jacobs hangs her old worn, paint and gesso spattered brushes in the studio like bones or tiny sculptures. Malaika Favorite has incorporated them into her paintings on layered and folded canvas. I usually just poke them into pots and baskets and then I wonder why I keep them.
I do occasionally think of which series I was working on when I used them last or which pigment I was experimenting with or what I used incorrectly to make one of them hard and brittle. . . but I think I could do more to offer gratitude for their role in my creative impulses. And I certainly could use a little hope in the ‘getting better' department.
Hum . . . . A memorial service for brushes might just do it.