Japanese pottery brushes
£14.00 - £36.00
Known as 'dami fude', these brushes are for filling in a solid wash colour (normally the cobalt oxide underglaze 'gosu') after you have painted the outlines onto biscuit fired pottery. They take a long time to master, particularly the larger sizes - after soaking the entire brush head in the decorating wash you hold the fattest part of the bristles in your hand and squeeze to release the flow of liquid; the expert user use does not allow the brush to touch the pot surface at all, but tilting the surface draws the flow of liquid along; the outlines keep the wash inside each drawn area, and releasing pressure on the bristles at the edge draws up any excess liquid. Expert usage results in a solid even colour (the originally intended result), but a less expert hand can achieve lovely uneven watercolour type markings. which have their own beauty.
The two smaller sizes (7 and 8, goat hair) are fixed into their bamboo shafts, and the large (25, deer hair) size has a plastic shaft from which the brush head can be removed for cleaning and drying - the string goes up inside and is held in place at the other end with a cork. They should be hung to dry as quickly as possible after cleaning, with their points smoothed and pointing downwards. It is normal for some hairs to come loose when preparing for use and cleaning, and they will degrade over time like all natural brushes.