We make no pretense... these are not beautiful brushes, but they work wonderfully with tempera and watercolor paint. We located a craftsman in Russia who makes brushes for many of the best icon painting workshops and masters. His reputation was among the highest, so we asked him to make brushes for Iconofile.
The fur from the Siberian winter male Kolinsky makes the very best tempera and watercolor brushes because of its unique water-carrying properties. It's extremely soft and supple, yet strong and elastic. Crafted to take advantage of these special qualities, our tempera brushes are made with longer tapered Kolinsky hair, hand-cupped by our expert brushmaker to produce a precise point. A dense hair count and full, tapered belly maximize our brushes' holding power. The hairs are deeply set into the nickel-plated brass ferrules, producing excellent spring and control, and return to a point immediately when raised from the board. For ease of handling in both a pencil or palm grip, the bare hardwood handles are made longer than watercolor yet shorter than oil brush handles -- 26.5 cm (10.5 in.) from brush tip to handle end.
When you see the term "Kolinsky Sable" it is not really from sable at all, but comes from the tail of a species of mink that is a member of the weasel family (Mustela siberica) found in Siberia and northeastern China. The very best Kolinsky brushes are made with hair from the tail of the male animal's winter coat. Although Kolinskies are also found in northern China and northern Japan, the best hair is from animals in the northern-most parts of Siberia. Kolinskies must be trapped in the wild as opposed to raised on fur farms as mink are today. Kolinsky hair is generally conceded to be the best material for oil and watercolor brushes due to its strength, spring and ability to retain its shape (sometimes called "snap"). It holds a very fine point or edge. This is considered a professional grade of hair, and if properly cared for, Kolinsky will last for many years.
The Iconofile Tempera Series brushes are made in Russia and sized with the European system which begins with 0. An English size 6 watercolor round is equivalent to a European size 7 Iconofile Tempera brush.
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