Being a Creative / Explore Techniques

EXPLORE: Handmade Brooms and Besoms

Diamond Willow. I think her name should simply be he wood of her handle as it’s so demure and stunning, strong and gentle. That gradient in natural to aqua to blue, though!

***I think this is how we will explore and experiment and share all the new media and projects over the next, oh, forever here on my creative and entrepreneur blog.

Look for the titles beginning with “EXPLORE” to learn what I learned and get the best resources I have for you through my learning, researching, testing, trying, and fun 🙂

It’s been a journey and a half and it’s not nearly done.

First let me explain WHY this is an important creative exploration and journey and one that every creative maker should go on…

I got stuck a few years ago. Stuck in a medium that I did love, but that was not filling me creatively because of its limitations: sugar art. And while it takes a numbers of other disciplines woven into executing gravity cake and sugar designs it also has so many boundaries you have to honor because it’s food – and it has to be safe for someone to consume.

Granted, I got to bring my husband’s civil engineering background into the work and my food science preoccupation (I’m a trained pastry chef) not o mention my fine arts background. And that’s all fabulous, but the limitation of food safety felt like being placed into a chastity belt for creatives.

Got that image? Ok. ‘Cause that’s how it felt.

After 12 years of spending all my creative energy and output on cake and sugar, I simply stopped.

I yearned for different materials and to do things in a less restrictive way. If I touched my face I could go back to working on my piece IMMEDIATELY without washing my hands. Can’t do that with food.

But more than that, there is a deeply curious part of every creative wondering how we bring what’s in our minds to life and share that with the world. And the need to create is deep, printed on our DNA even if we’ve repressed it or reasoned away why it costs too much or is a waste of time (or at least not the most necessary use of time).

Restricting your creativity not only does a disservice to you as a creative and a human who has the divine right to pursue your happiness, but it’s equivalent to stealing beauty and joy from the world to hold back what you are able to contribute. That’s not ok.t

Because I fervently believe that creatives can change the world, I needed to go on the journey I encourage my students and clients to go on: a wild ride of intentional rabbit holes inspirationally and an unabashed exploration of medium no matter the outcome.

It’s how we unlock new things creatively, and it’s how we begin to think bigger about what we are capable of in life. Creativity and opening of neural pathways that are typical not accessible leads to seeing the world differently and therefor interacting with the world differently – and life blossoms and changes for the better. YOU blossom and change for the better.

That’s important. We need more of that in our world. And I needed to live that out myself and to be able to share that journey with you, creative friend.

Just above is the third besom in my I-gotta-learn-and-make-all-the-brooms-and-besoms exploration and it’s my favorite thus far – Blue Magic. So many things to discover in these natural, raw materials and what they can do with a creative eye, a bit of imagination, and a dedication to learning a new and traditional craft.

The handle is diamond willow, is unfinished, and I plan to leave it that way with perhaps the possibility of polishing it in bees wax in the future, but nothing more. The glory of nature exactly as it shares itself is profound, and let’s be honest – it’s freaking beautiful!

The aqua blue broomcorn was my second attempt at dying it myself and this one went better because I started it in a pot on the stove with heat right off the bat – the purple besom below was my first dye attempt and it started in cold water and hung out in a Lowe’s bucket outside. I let it soak that way until 24 hours later I was terribly unimpressed with how it looked… blue, irregular, and faint. I brought the chilly bucket inside and moved all the liquid to a pot for some heat and it quickly became more deeply saturated in hyacinth purple.

Thick, curvy handle and serious, rounded broomcorn end ready for work or troublemaking. Maybe a quick flight about town…?

One thing I changed on my third dye attempt besides using the hot method (that my muses were already using but I had to “see” what cold would do) was switching to synthetic dye. The first two were dyed with RIT dye for natural fibers, cellulose fibers. However, after I did the first two batches I saw a clever broomsquire on Insta who was using the RIT dyes for synthetics and had some brilliant color results. And after ordered pre-dyed broomcorn for the hand whisks and experiencing their boldness, I have a feeling I’m missing out on some amazeballs color intensity.

Preordered color-saturated broomcorn: A turkey wing hand whisk broom all tied up in my brand colors of fuchsia and aqua. There’s just something sexy about this one.
Preordered color-saturated broomcorn: A classic Braided Rooster Tail whisk broom in jet black and aquamarine… such a moody drama queen, this one!

I mean, come on… check out that black and fuchsia and aqua! These images are not altered for saturation or color at all – that’s how they came. And I wanna dye my own that beautifully 🙂

So I grabbed an indigo blue and an azure blue synthetic RIT dye, put them in the dye pot on the stove, added some salt and vinegar to the water and in wen the dye, some natural reed and a few test pieces of broomcorn. And while this isn’t the broomcorn (I only had a tiny bit, enough for a test) this is the result with the reed on my Grackle Tail Whisk:

Natural reed plaiting on the handle hand-dyed in my kitchen with synthetic RIT dye

I’m sure you’re wondering how I learned all of this, and while I’m SOOOOOO tempted to take a week-long class at a folk art school in the Appalachian mountains (hubby is not amused with this idea of mine) I simply began by stalking some cool broommaking artisans, broomsquires, and witches online. Here are a few of my favorite resources and muses:


Learning and Muses:

I hope you enjoy pursuing classical broommaking like I have and will continue to. What I love about this art is that the classic styles will always be loved, but innovation and creativity in design is very welcomed in the community. PERFECT for me!

Broom and besom making a fading art and craft with little documentation at all (as the story goes there was an old manuscript that was lost in a fire), mostly kept alive through hands-on teaching from artisan to apprentice.

Pink Woodland Ember. Yep. That’s her name because that’s how she makes me feel with that raw, gathered from the field look and the slight pink burning the broomcorn seeds create visually at the ends.

The first five have me hooked and thinking about how many other multimedia projects these techniques can work with… not to mention that thing all entrepreneurs LOVE to hear: “I NEED to buy one! Where’s your shop?” (I will be giving away one or two on my Facebook Page HERE, but the best way to stay in the know about both giveaways and getting your hands on any of my creative works in the near future, is to join my email creative love letter list! If you didn’t get the little popup here, just click the “Join My Creatives Tribe” text below 🙂 I hope you’ll join my fabulous arty and crafty entrepreneur tribe and hp in my sidecar for this new journey!

Join My Creatives Tribe!

And when you join, there will be a nifty gifty from me to you dropped in your inbox 🙂 Something that helped me move out of stuckness. See you inside!


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