Way of the Brush

Deer Isle artist keeps alive ancient art form
January 4, 2018 by Jennifer Osborn on Arts & living, Lifestyle (Ellsworth American)

In Japan, the fabrication of paintbrushes is an ancient craft steeped with tradition and history. PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

Frederica Marshall’s largest paintbrush, made of wood and four horsetails, stands at about 64 inches, taller than she is.

The horsehair brush looks like a witch’s broom, and while heavy, it moves easily.

In her 57 years as an artist and master Japanese sumi-e brush painter, Marshall has collected more than 500 brushes.

“My husband and I call ourselves tool gatherers and skill learners,” the Deer Isle artist said. “We’re really fortunate because we both understand the need to create. We have a rule that tools don’t count. Buy what you need.”

All those brushes, in Marshall’s skilled hands, have created countless works of art, which are included in private collections in Australia, Europe, Japan and the United States. Read more…

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