A more recent innovation in handicraft art forms is a technique called Brush Art™. Brush Art is a term describing the process used in creating Brush Art Animals. Beginning in 1996, this company teamed up with Philippine Finecrafts Export (PFE) in the Philippines, to begin crafting something truly unique. These animals are all handmade, not touched by machines in any way and use mostly eco-friendly materials; supporting the Brush Art company’s philosophy of “Touch the Earth Lightly.” At Sturbridge Yankee Workshop we are glad to welcome a new Brush Art animal, the Brush Art Turkey, for the holiday season!
Brush Art Animals are handcrafted from the most super-abundant and self-regenerating of natural materials, such as: leaves, leaf fibers, seeds and seed pods. These materials are then held together with wire and hot glue to ensure their durability. The substances mentioned above come from the very common, tallest palm tree in the Philippines, named the Buri Sugar Palm. This tree is grown throughout the archipelago, thriving on hilly slopes in poor soil and is useful for preventing erosion.
The Buri Sugar Palm Tree has numerous benefits that prove useful to the people of the Philippines. The nut kernels of the tree can be cooked and eaten. The tree’s sap produces an excellent and delicious sugar. The strong leaf midribs go into the making of cane furniture, while the leafy portions are woven into hats and bags. It is the long, thick leaf stems that provide the fiber from which the body of a Brush Art animal is made.
The animal bodies are composed of a hard fiber, the Buri Palm and a soft fiber, aloe. Both the tree and the Aloe Shrub are used to their full potential due to the developed process Brush Art uses to extract the necessary material from them. Extracting fiber from the Buri Palm’s oldest fronds (referring to a large divided leaf), allows the tree to survive 50-60 years. New leaf fronds grow continuously, with one frond stem generating enough fiber for up to a dozen Brush Art animals! The same is true when extracting the Aloe Plant’s fiber; when using older leaves, the plant will live between 20-30 years. This process gives the trees and plants a chance to grow to their fullest. Therefore, less fibers are needed to produce the Brush Art animals; making this product a very environmentally smart choice for both the creators of these animals and the consumer.
The method used is quite extraordinary, when you consider that every step is done by hand. First, the stems are crushed and soaked in stream water until only strong, white fibers remain. These are combed to separate and then cleaned. Next, they are cut to length (the maximum length of a Brush Art animal is about 50″/130cms. and largest diameter is about 14″ / 35cms) and twisted on a wire core to form brush cylinders. The brush is trimmed and bent. All of this is then followed by other plant parts being attached for the eyes, ears, legs etc. Organic dye is added for color, as seen above in our Brush Art Turkey, with the different colored sections of its body, neck and head. Sometimes, as we see used for the turkey’s wattle, felt is added to give it a more life-like appearance.
Our Brush Art Turkey is reminiscent of a school art project with painted green and orange feathers attached to its back. Rustic colors, piercing red eyes and the distinctive Brush Art will give your guests plenty to talk about this harvest season. Our turkey will also make a charming centerpiece for the Thanksgiving table or a delightful and imaginative gift for someone special. We hope you enjoyed learning about the amazing craftsmanship, that is Brush Art animals. Check out more fun harvest items Sturbridge Yankee Workshop today!