My first encounter with the handmade brushes of Morocco was in 2014, when my students and I participated in a Zouaq Workshop - decorative painting on wood.
Our teacher, Mohamed Ben Abdelwahid, is also a "dab hand" at making brushes.
I had the pleasure of watching him quietly work with the simplest of tools and materials: donkey hair, thread, sticks and a knife. He presented all twelve of us with one of these perfect tools, to paint the beautiful designs he'd prepared for us.....
The brush in action below; the artisan creates the black outlines of the design...
with different coloured glazes...
Instead, these make-shift brushes that we create in my workshops, are about the
pleasure of working with our hands and manipulating locally sourced natural fibres.
Here in Morocco, specially in the south, the date palms are a fabulous source of raw materials.
In Essaouira, we add the plentiful Madagascan raffia.
Dipped into black ink, or Aswik (walnut) ink, they create unique marks.
Allowing our brushes to write, dance and create their own language on the paper is the aim.