I recently discovered Rosemary and Co brushes through friends in twitter and decided to give their products a go. I put in an order for 12 brushes across three of their ranges; Series 101 Pure Sable, Series 42 Pure Squirrel Hair, and Series 33 Kolinsky Sable.
The order was placed in Monday late evening and the brushes arrived on Wednesday morning so an absolute 10 out of 10 for speed of order processing and delivery.
The brushes were beautifully packaged and I immediately opened them up and licked the bristles, tapped them on the edge of a table and they all snapped to perfect points.
First up then the Series 101 sable. These are made from pure red sable and have a triangular section handle. Great for not falling off the table and while beautifully ergonomic I generally prefer the thinner round handle. The brush holds paint well and draws to a good point. It has just the right spring to it and is great all round brush. This range goes from size 3/0 up to size 6. I think in future I'll use these for base-coating and probably stick to the larger sizes from 2-6. The prices for these go from £1.65 to £4.95 which makes them unbelievably good for the price.
Next up the Series 33 Kolinsky Sable. I have been using Kolinsky sable brushes almost exclusively for years and these are certainly up there with the best. One of the three had a rogue hair ( a problem that the W and N series 7 have on occasion too) which needed to be snipped off but once done all three performed perfectly. The 3/0 brush produced fine lines perfectly and held paint well. The larger brushes were equally good and comparable in excellence with the W and N Series 7. The Series 33 range from size 10/0 up to size 24 and with prices going from £3.40 to £6.90 for the size 6 they are a third of the price of the Series 7 brushes and represent incredible value for money. I will certainly be getting more of these.
Finally the Series 42 Squirrel Hair range. This is something I had never tried before. They are dark haired with nice long bristles that form a perfect point. A Kolinsky brush will always snap back to a straight bristled point whereas to my surprise the squirrel hairs don't. Instead they retain the curve one puts on them while drawing a line. At first this felt strange but as I got used to it and started to learn how to control and use this quality I began to fall in love with them. There is undoubtedly a learning curve to using these brushes but once mastered they are a wonderful new tool in the painting arsenal. I shall be buying lots of these in future. Price wise they start at £1.70 so once again are devastatingly good value for money.
In summary, Rosemary and Co are a small family business producing some excellent brushes. They are clearly leaps and bounds ahead of all the games companies that produce brushes as 'add-on' sales and on equal footing with their more established rivals. I shall continue to buy some Windsor and Newton Series 7 brushes but the bulk of my brushes will certainly now be Rosemary and Co. Series 101 as workhorses and the incredible series 42 squirrel hair series that has made me think anew about how I expect a brush to behave. I will endeavour to produce a blog specifically on these squirrel hair brushes and how to use them in the future.
In closing I cannot recommend Rosemary and Co highly enough. Excellent service, friendly and knowledgable staff, and products that reflect the obvious passion and skill that goes into making them. Go check them out at http://www.rosemaryandco.com
I'll leave you with a few photos showing some of the processes involved in the making of Rosemary and Co brushes.
Finger manipulation to ensure belly will fall in correct place and enough taper to fashion a good sharp symmetrical point.