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broom artist peter bond
Broom Artist Peter Bond
May, 2013, Page 28
Photos by Garrett Cook
Artisan Peter Bond rocks out with one of his hand-crafted brooms.
Artisan Peter Bond Crafts Unique Brooms Using Traditional Shaker Methods and Repurposed Finds
According to lore, one should never take an old broom into a new home. Nor should it be lent. And standing a broom upright, by a door or fireplace, has, it is said, the power to ward off evil. But Phoenix artist Peter Bond is creating a new tradition around the once-revered housekeeping tool—that of functional art.
He finds the primitive form to be the perfect expression of his creativity, combining his talents into a single craft. “[Brooms] are such a practical tool, like a hammer or a shovel,” Bond says. “All of the brooms I make are crafted to the point where they can actually be used for their intended purpose.”
Hailing from the Big Apple, Bond came to Arizona 20 years ago as a way to dip his feet into a “smaller pond.” Artistically inclined as a child, he studied at the Fine Art School of Visual Arts in New York City. “Manhattan was huge, very hectic and too fast paced,” he recalls. “I’ve always felt that old souls moved to or lived in Arizona.” Self described as outdoorsy, the artist begins his broom-work by seeking inspiration. More often than not, he comes across it on the desert floor.
“Most of my brooms are made from sticks that I find while hiking. I let the stick, or in some cases, found object, speak to me and tell me what the finished broom should look like,” Bond notes. From violins to canes, fishing poles to antlers, these objects become whimsical handles for his hand-crafted brooms, which are made using Shaker methods dating to the 1800s. “It’s typically a trade passed down through family members,” he adds. “There aren’t many broom makers left.”
The artist begins with a base object, altered or untouched to his liking. Next, he hand dyes broomcorn, which he uses for the bristles. The broomcorn is hand tied by a taut string held in place by a traditional broom-making tool called a foot spool. The excess stock above the string is then woven around the handle and tied down.
“My favorite broom was named “China Town,” Bond recalls. “I had found a painted stick with a dragon’s head at one end. When I made the broom, I studied how to do ancient samurai sword weavings. So the handle of the broom resembled an actual samurai sword.” Today he remains on the lookout for new ideas and materials, and says that no two brooms are the same.
Some of the brooms on Bond’s studio wall have two or even three broom ends branching from one handle. “In history, the double broom represents marriage and is given to a wedded couple to symbolize unity,” he explains. “I made a triple broom because I thought it could represent unity to a new family, parents and child.”
Bond thoughtfully names his brooms, each stated on an attached tag. “People were serious about brooms back in the day,” he remarks. “Positioning a broom a certain way sent a specific message to neighbors and passersby.” And the artist issues a final reminder to respect universal “broom law,” which is: Sweep out the bad energy, in with the good.
“Deer Spring” is one of Peter Bond’s signature “triple broom” designs and is crafted around an antler.
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