The paint brush is one of the most vital tools of the artist.
SV Japanese brushmaker Shiro Shidori seated at table brushing and trimming hair for brushes
CU Mr. Shidori
SCU Mr. Shidori arranging in hair evenly in preparation
CU Shidori extracting wild hairs from handful as he shapes brush end (3 shots)
SV AND SCU blocking and reblocking hair to produce perfect composition and feel (5 shots)
CU AND SCU Shidori forming hairs into brush and banding and testing on paper for writing characteristics of brush (2 shots)
SV Shidori fitting completed brushes into holders, laying each one aside
SV Students using Shidoris brushing in calligraphy class (4 shots)
CU Calligrapher suing brush for painting character on large sheet of paper (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The paint brush is one of the most vital tools of the artist. Many artists believe that only the finest quality brushes can truly show off the talent of an artist to best advantage.
SYNOPSIS: For more than 55-years, 70-year-old Shiro Shidori of the small city of Narashino not far from Tokyo, has been making brushes for use in various artistic techniques. He's recognised as one of the finest brush makers in Japan. Any type of hair can be used for making a brush--cat, horse, deer, even human hair. Different types are used for different techniques.
Among Mr. Shidori's criteria for the classification of brush hairs are length, stiffness and ability to absorb ink. He carefully sorts through the various types of hair to guarantee the quality of the finished brushes. The finest is used to make the finest--and most expensive brushes. Shidori makes brushes of all sizes, brushes from one millimetre (1/25th of an inch) in diameter to gigantic ones 33-centimetres (13 inches) across with handles two and a half metres (8 ft.) long.
In making a single brush, Shidori begins with from two to three times the amount of hair actually to be used and gradually pares it down by eye and touch until he has the perfect combination of quantity and quality. After the brush has been tested, it's fitted in a holder. The base ends are fused together with a hot knife.
Shidori's clientele includes many of Japan's finest artists. But all of them, event he most famous, have to wait a minimum of three or four months for an order to be filled.