By Regina Connell
I’ve been thinking a lot about brooms and brushes lately. And it has nothing to do with Halloween.
Perhaps it’s simply because I want a lovely one to leave by the front door to sweep away the leaves and spider webs. That bright yellow plastic number I’ve been using of late isn’t exactly working for me.
But I think it’s more than that, something deeper than wanting a purely utilitarian (but non-plastic) object.
It could be a simple desire for more beauty. Multiple visits to wood artisans over the last year–people like Matt Bear, Donald Fortescue, and Chris Loomis–have helped me see the possibilities of brooms and brushes as collections and as inspiration. (Nice.)
And I’ve seen such dignified, simple, sculptural numbers of late, from Yvonne Mouser’s Superstition Broom at the Museum of Craft and Design’s pop up store to the gorgeous German handmade brushes (for archival materials, hearth, and high corners at the General Store).
Then there is the remarkable set of brooms and brushes on Rakuten (a mind-blowing collection of nichy Japanese housewares, accompanied by some truly memorable copy). And there’s also Broomchick, the broom and brush specialist on Etsy, who makes these lovely works of functional sculpture.
Then again, it could also be a certain desire for order in my life. (You know the fantasy well: the perfect tool will miraculously bring order and calm to your harried existence.) The quest for the perfect broom allows me to spend deliciously guilt-free “me” time at designy purveyors of order like Tortoise General Store in LA, or Labour and Wait in London.
And maybe, I’m just feeling the need for a little magic, a little extra measure of luck. Brooms seem to have a rich, varied (and often entertainingly contradictory) set of superstitions attached to them.
Function. Beauty. Order. Magic. Who knows why certain obsessions and urges hit? All I know is, I’m still looking for that perfect broom. Suggestions welcome.