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about the brooms & brushes

My brooms and brushes are a combination of the minimalist Shaker broom and Appalachian-styled brooms/brushes, and are designed to last for decades. They can be handed down from generation to generation with regular care and routine use.  Each broom is one of a kind; sometimes subtle or with intentional distinct variations in how I wrap or bind the broom or brush.
All the brooms are handmade without the use of machinery or technology of any kind. I use either a simple shaving mule or kick-winder, and wrap the fiber with nylon to assist in achieving the desired tension for weaving, binding and constructing a sturdy and long-lasting functional piece of art. I use sustainably-gained hickory handles, bamboo handles, oak handles, wrought iron handles in my medium and large brooms. I have elected to use nylon cording as opposed to hemp or cotton cording, as the nylon cord stretches, and allows me to achieve better tension, thereby creating a product that will last a long duration.  

Please read on to gain further knowledge on the natural fibers, as well as broom-care recommendations!

broomcorn fiber

Craft broomcorn.

craft broomcorn
Pictured left - craft broomcorn is perfect for making the cobweb brooms, or besom brooms for Halloween!  Craft broomcorn is raw broomcorn, with the stalks in-tact, and untrimmed fiber. Raw broomcorn has been cleaned but left with 'flowers' in the wavy tip and the stalk completely attached.  

Learn more about the history and growing conditions of broomcorn here!

hurl & broomcorn stalks
Pictured right - hurl is processed broomcorn which has been cleaned and the stalk removed.  This 'hurl' is used to make whisk brooms, such as the turkey and hawk-tail whisk brooms, large, flat kitchen sweeps, and so on.  

Also pictured are the detached stalks of the broomcorn, which are used in conjunction with the hurl for the beautiful plaiting on the handles of the brooms.

Hurl and broomcorn stalks.

tampico fiber

Tampico fiber and a turkey wing whisk broom.

Tampico fiber has a soft to medium texture ideal for brush making.  This fiber makes excellent brush fiber for sweeping and cleaning. It is flexible enough to be bent in half. It is from cactus known by its common name, lxtle. The Agave Lechugilla plant is unique to northern Mexico where it only grows in the high altitude deserts. After the cactus leaf is harvested the fibers inside the leaf are extracted, dried, and processed to length. Like any natural fiber, the bristles are completely biodegradable, making them an environmentally responsible choice.

Learn more about Tampico fiber here!

In comparison to broomcorn fiber, Tampico fiber is softer and finer, and can be used in a variety of applications.  For cleaning, the brushes are perfect for removing dust from articles that should not have a greasy polish applied.  I use the brushes for cleaning my:

  • Kitchen chairs, in between the rungs.

  • Blinds, baseboards, or intricate molding.  

  • Dusty suede boots or shoes!  Trust me, I know!

  • Keyboard, where the crumbs and dust gather!

  • Crumbs from my table or countertops.  

  • Stair railings, in between the iron posts.

  • Detailing the non-plastic sections of my automobile (plastic can be easily scratched, so I only use a soft, cotton cloth on plastic objects - I don't even use paper towels on the plastic in my car, as the wood fibers can scratch my driving panel, making it challenging to see the instruments).

  • Framed prints, including the frame plus any fabric areas on the framed art.

  • Kitchen or bathroom vanity cabinet doors (mine have intricate detail and 'ledges' that are always accumulating dust). The brushes get into the corners, and hard-to-dust areas.  

  • Window sills next to the glass - my Pledge-applied dust rag always leaves a film.

  • The opportunities are endless!

In addition, for those interdisciplinary artists that work on various mediums such as pottery, painting and the like, I understand these brushes are awesome as an alternative to traditional art applications.  The bristle of Tampico makes it a great choice for creating texture and subtle lines.  The various brushes are designed to provide a variety of thick or thin applications, based on the crafted application, giving the artist a medley of options.    

broom care

  • Hang your broom or brush from the leather cord or stand your broom upright on the handle, NEVER the bristles.  It is important to keep the weight of the broom/brush off the natural fibers to maintain good sweeping potential.

  • Do not store your broom or brush in direct sunlight.  Sunlight is hard on everything, and this includes the materials in your broom and/or brush.  Sunlight will make most materials brittle, and cause them to crack, flake or warp.  Exposure to sunlight will also cause items to fade, bleaching out the pigment from the dyed fiber.  

  • Store your broom in the interior of a house, such as your kitchen or garage.  Storing your broom outside on your deck, or on your porch, will reduce the longevity of your broom, due to climate changes such as cold, extreme heat, rain, humidity, snow, etc.  

  • Keep in a dry location. Broomcorn/Tampico is a natural fiber, so if left in damp or wet conditions, it can become moldy.  It is okay to clean the broom with a damp cloth & soap if necessary, just make sure it is hung in a well ventilated area to dry, and try not to get the tightly bound areas of the fiber

too wet.

  • When using your broom, frequently spin the handle so the bristles do not become worn down in a single direction.   

  • Tampico brush/broom:  If your brush or broom look a little splayed at the sweeping end, soak the bottom end of the fiber in water for 15 minutes, and using a towel, gently squeeze out excess water.  Be sure to dry the brush/broom very thoroughly and avoid using until fully dry.

  • If you live in a dry climate, occasionally dip the ends of the broom BELOW the stitching into warm water to restore moisture. Simply hang the broom to drip dry after soaking it, but be sure to dry thoroughly.​

  • If you accidentally left it outside and it got a bit of mold on it, a bleach and water solution and a scrub brush should remove minor damage. We've been told the product called "30 Seconds" also works well but haven't personally tried it yet!

Following care guidelines will maintain your generational broom or brush for decades to come!


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