I don’t often talk about geometry; lockdown made me go back to basics, of which geometry is an essential part: my relationship to geometry is that it is something alive. A tool to be used, not necessarily an end in itself since I am not a geometer. Geometry is a living thing, winding itself through the weaving of these knots. Something to be experienced only when tying them – the finished, tied knot is a memory of this past geometrical ins and outs and roundabouts. Sometimes 2D geometry gives way to 3D, as in my all-time favourite knot, the button knot (coming soon, also to a brush near you as I update my Brushes packaging and phase out the dodgy wax, slowly slowly!)
I realise that using this brush is not immediately obvious. It’s more unique than the other brushes as each feather is individual and gives its own strokes – experimental and more calligraphic. ‘Thick and thin’ lines as well as angled calligraphic strokes using the angled edge and fine tiny lines using the very tip.
Use this brush by immersing the whole feathered part into water, not just the tip (but don’t immerse the ferrule). The whole feather holds the paint. When you wash the brush some residue of the paint colour will remain; this is normal and won’t affect your future colours using the brush (eg you can paint green one day, wash your brush thoroughly and then the feather may still look a bit green, but then you can paint red and you won’t get any green in it – it will be entirely red, etc). Also, if the tip of your Fire feather brush separates, that’s also normal as that’s how bird feathers are – with immersion in water they will come together again. The way they were placed in the ferrule is also unique and guided by the feather itself, so some are split, some aren’t. Just use the top part that is not split and be guided by the brush itself – immerse the feather in water and use very wet paint* for it to flow, and it will tell you what it wants to do.
If you own a Fire brush with a quill ferrule, please be extra gentle when handling as it is really delicate. If the quill ferrule happens to come off, you can dab an extremely small amount of PVA glue onto the wooden handle and pop it back on. The quill itself holds itself by itself onto the wood handle. What bad grammar! You know what I mean… just be careful. The metal ferrule is easier to use.
*all paint is wet, I know. But some paints are wetter than others, so do that… ie use watercolour, not miniature painting-style gouachey creamy paints. Hard to describe in words; more videos to come as more time expands and opens up for me in the near future as I figure out how to have 25 hour days, haha.