Product Reviews: Honest reviews, honest
Review: Rosemary & Co. Series 33 Pure Kolinsky Sable #8 Round
PRICE: $16.93 plus s/h
ONLINE and MAIL ORDER SALES: Rosemary & Co. PO Box 372, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 6WZ, England. Tel: (01535) 600090, Fax: (01535) 609009 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Upon receiving a sample brush from Rosemary & Co. Artists' Brush Ltd. last fall I promptly put it by my painting setup and proceeded to move it to about 28 other places throughout the year while it got ignored in the tangle of the rest of my artistic musings.
#8 Round Kolinsky sable brushes by size
TOP to BOTTOM: Kalish, Rosemary, W&N Series 820,
W&N Cirrus, Grumbacher, Dick Blick, Kolonok
I rediscovered the brush again a few weeks ago and located the notes of my initial evaluation which read "Nice Envelope, Packaging, Nicely finished – good embossing, Ferrule good, Hairs full as W&N but less than Kalish, Good Point – Snaps to point well, How's it paint?"
The Rosemary & Co. Series 33 Pure Kolinsky Sable #8 Round is a product of high quality and good value. Currently selling for $16.93 (£10.65) it's about the same price as W&N's Artist Kolinsky Sables, and is cheaper than the Kalish series #1 ($47.00) or the legendary W&N Series 7 which chimes in at $90.00. (More on pricing here*)
The brush has a standard length short-handled glossy tapered black handle that is finished well and has the maker's imprint, model and size stamped crisply in gold.
Rosemary & Co. brushes are handcrafted.
(graphic courtesy Rosemary & Co.)
The taper is thicker than I am used to and I thought that the brush would be heavy judging from the looks. But the looks were deceptive. The brush is constructed from wood that is lighter than other brushes I have around. Weight is always a consideration when packing your plein air kit so this can be a plus for such considerations.
"We try to look after all our customers to the same standard
and remain 'old fashioned' in caring for our artists."
Rosemary told me that they primarily use ash for the handles but the wood can vary depending on availability. All wood used is from replenished woodlands. She has the handles made in Germany as her UK source "went into liquidation years ago."
The ferrule is slightly longer than usual and has a single crimp securing it to the handle. As for the material used, "Ferrules are cupro nickel in the main and a few are stainless steel."
Inside the ferrule is where Rosemary & Co. work their expertise. Rosemary & Co. has been hand-making artist brushes and selling directly to artists through its mail order services for 25 years. With no middle man her pricing has always been very low. With the internet it is even easier for an artist to order, her whole catalog is online at www.rosemaryandco.com.
Rosemary gets her raw Kolinsky red sable hair from sustainable sources in Russia and Canada. Working with a wide range of hair lengths and an experienced crew of brush craftsmen, they sort, comb, assemble and shape each brush in their Yorkshire factory.
For a test drive I used the Series 33 Pure Kolinsky Sable #8 Round and a Series 33 #12 Round (long-handle) for the creation of the watercolor demonstration video "Three Limes on Lime St." which you can find on Youtube.com.
Series 33 New (top) and after 1 painting (bottom).
Now since this was my first solo effort at video performing, shooting, and editing, I didn't need the tools I would use distracting me from trying not to screw up on film.
The brushes worked great, just like any decent brush I have. They became extensions of my hands and fingers, leaving me to concentrate on squeezing a decent painting out of those limes.
If you watch the video you can see I really wasn't very nice to the brush. I used the #8 roughly as a texture scrubber, loosely as a layer of washes, and finely as an edge cutter and detailer, and it worked fine for any task I call upon it to perform.
Those finely shaped hairs hold a full load of paint for laying bold strokes and washes. Blotted, the brush sucks up a lot of wet paint for lightening wet areas and catching stray beads of paint.
Short handled #8 Round (bottom) compared to long-
handled #8 Round, #6 Rigger, #12 Round (top)
I like these brushes. As I mentioned above, I purchased a Series 33 long handled #8 and #12, along with a #6 Rigger after I received the original #8 for review. I was very surprised when I saw my final charge. It was less than I had expected it to be. And the long-handled watercolor brushes are L-O-N-G and put a smile on your face when you hold them.
Watercolorpainting.com gives the Rosemary & Co. Series 33 Pure Kolinsky Sable #8 Round a full 5 stars:
The Rosemary & Co. Series 33 #8 Kolinsky Round is a very good brush constructed with expertise and care. You get luxury feel and satisfaction without the luxury price. Add one to your kit and give it a workout.
Greg Conley, September 2010
PS: Rosemary & Co. has created a special brush for noted painter Roger Jones and over a dozen top UK artists praise her brushes on their What other artists say page. They also make every kind of artist brush you could possibly need and a few you didn't know you needed. Check out the website.
*Rosemary says, "The prices change Jan 2011 in line with inflation and UK VAT increase :("
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