Home BrushesAccessories The Walnut Brush Holder

The Walnut Brush Holder

by Sonia G.

Thanks to you, your continuous support, your encouraging and kind comments, I am thrilled to share that today we reached a new chapter! It took some time- and that’s also the beauty of craftsmanship – it’s a story. When we see what we imagined taking shape it feels surreal. It’s beyond words.

The first time I showed my design and ideas to the artisan, I just couldn’t contain my joy. We were both so excited and we worked relentlessly in order to make it possible. The challenges are not only at the level of the item itself, but also how to make it in a way that it is both financially realistic and feasible at production scale. I will share a bit more than just specs with you, hoping and crossing my fingers that this is something of interest!

This brush holder is handmade by a Japanese artisan based in Hiroshima. He is renowned both in Japan and internationally for his stunning creations, his passion for art and for his craft. I have known him for several years; I am also honoured to know his wife and his children personally, so I can assure you that not only is he highly talented, but he also has the most sincere and kindest of hearts. He is extremely funny and on many occasions we have laughed and cried tears of joy. He said that we inspire each other and that we are both a bit crazy, but his excuse is that this is our passion, so we don’t take shortcuts. We don’t aim to save effort and we go for it with all our heart !

It was challenging from the very beginning. Once this brush holder prototype was finally complete, we still had to find a way to “mass” produce it. It had to remain handmade and with consistent quality. Since it is a handmade production process (“mass” production is a big word), we won’t be able to make thousands of them. We do need to be able to make enough though so that it makes the whole project viable- at the start it was a taking a whole day to make just one piece.

This item is entirely handmade with precious walnut wood and it is actually quite a challenging concept for a small wooden item. We sincerely did our very best to keep it as affordable as we could but it will come with a high cost as it is indeed extremely expensive to make. Due to the cost, effort and time it requires, it will only be made in small quantities. It is not Limited Edition and will be produced as long as there is interest.

There will be other things coming in 2020, also made in Japan and quite expensive although at a lower price point. I aim to work with only the best and create exciting things that aren’t already on the market, this results in higher costs. I was not expecting them to be so high and this is quite stressful as I don’t even know if there will be an audience for this item and those to come. To reduce the price, there would be compromises to make. I won’t compromise when it comes to who makes the items or the quality or functionality so we will see what happens…

So, today, this new chapter starts with this:

I was imagining a brush holder, elegant, compact and functional, that could safely display our brushes, whether we had just one brush, or many!

It had to look good and reflect the artisan’s craftsmanship. When it comes to things that are meant to be used, I don’t see the point of something that looks luxurious but lacks in functionality. It has to cover our needs.

It had to be compact, stable, safe for the brushes and easy to move around holding it with one hand. I had a design and quite a lot of prerequisites.

Front and back view

One of the biggest prerequisites is that I wanted the compartments to be able to slide in order to accommodate a more bespoke organization, I always loved dividers in holders but I often wished I could move them somehow. You cannot remove these dividers but you can slide the 3 little ones sideways.

The brush holder measures 20cm x 6.3cm x 8cm high. The smallest compartment possible is approx 1.5cm x 2cm, the biggest is 12cm x 2cm. Since this is a handmade item, the measurements can very slightly vary. It can host any type of brush as long as the brush handle is under 2cm diameter.

It is made of sustainable walnut wood and has a layer of alcantara fabric at the bottom to protect the handles.

The sides of the brush holder are very slightly curved and the little nails that you see on each side are made of brass.

Walnut wood – Brass nails – Alcantara fabric

Walnut wood is very prized amongst artisans because of its strength, its beautiful grain and color, which over the years develops a lustrous patina. Each walnut wood piece has its very own grain and color. For the beauty of the item, the artisan went the extra mile to select and then put together pieces that go well together, both in terms of color and grain.

Each piece is unique right from the start. When finished, the brush holder is soaked with a protective coating. It will age in its own way, the use and the conditions around it also have an influence on the ageing. The artisan says that ageing is a process we have to contemplate and appreciate.

The dividers that you see inside the brush holder have been one of the biggest challenges. Humidity and temperature makes the wood expand or retract so these dividers have been calculated and adjusted with a 0.05mm precision and “looseness”, this looseness is absolutely normal and will allow just enough free space for the wood to live, the dividers to move and function properly.

At the bottom of the brush holder, there is a piece of Ultrasuede fabric to protect the bottom of the handles from scratching. Ultrasuede is also called Alcantara, it’s a synthetic fabric, super soft, loved for its luxurious feel and durability. It doesn’t fade, or wrinkle. It’s the same type as the one you see inside luxury cars.

The bottom of the brush holder has been sanded in such a way that it increases its stability and balance so it won’t tip over even if you load it heavily.

The packaging

This brush holder comes in a cardboard box made specially for it. I am not a huge fan of waste since packaging will often go directly in the bin, sometimes you can recycle it but even the process of recycling is getting very complex and expensive (at least here in Switzerland). For this brush holder, packaging was a necessity otherwise it would be too risky during storage and transport.

I hope you can find another use for this box, it may be useful to store make-up palettes on display or items inside drawers, it is quite a convenient size and hopefully it won’t end up directly in the bin ๐Ÿ™‚

The box is made from recycled paper from the paper cranes dedicated to the Memorial Tower in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and, as it says on the box, a portion of its cost was indeed donated to the Atomic Bomb Dome Presevation Project Fund.

Photo I took in 2013, during my first trip to Hiroshima

Functionality

You can slide the separators all to one side and if you wish, very close to each other, but you will notice that there will always be a space between them; this is to prevent them to stick together and to allow you to easily move the separators with your fingers.

This is what the brush holder looks like when it’s quite full but it could even hold a few more…

It is possible to store a palette since the compartments can move to the side, so you could put your pencils, mascaras, etc, with care though, as this is natural wood.

It could hold other type of brushes, with both short and long handles, the limitation here is the width of the handle. As long as your brushes are under 2cm diameter they can very well fit as well.

There are 21 face brushes here as a reference, they are close together but it’s feasible.

21 face brushes

In this layout, there are 10 face brushes and 16 eye brushes.

In the picture above, in the front row there are 16 eye brushes displayed but you could almost double up this number since 8 brushes with slimmer handles can fit in a 2cm x 4cm wide compartment.

The maintenance

To take care of it, it’s better to keep it in a cool dry place as heat and humidity may alter the wood, simply wipe it with a dry cloth if it gets wet. The best way to move the dividers is to insert your index and middle finger, one in each compartment, and slide them gently to the side.

The price of this walnut brush holder is 185 $. It will be available starting tomorrow March 10th, only on Beautylish website. I know the price may seem very high but it was important to work with such a special artisan and create something that had meaning and purpose.

Everyone involved in this project is so sincerely grateful for your precious support and they are all very excited and hoping that you will love this handcrafted walnut brush holder!

This was the start of the Sonia G spin off collection ๐Ÿ™‚ so in the near future you will see other -quite different- things joining, always related to brushes! Hopefully something will appeal to you and capture your interest. Thank you for reading this long post, I hope it gave you enough details about this item and if you have any questions about it I will be very happy to anwer them!!

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16 comments

Mary 9 March, 2020 - 10:05 pm

Being able to customize the compartments in such a luxurious wood box is genius!

I absolutely LOVE that you’ve chosen to use the recycled paper cranes from the Memorial Tower for the cardboard box! I have a set of The Pearl Pink Ototsuho Nadeshiko Koyomo brushes that came in a box using the same paper and it is so lovely – sturdier than one might think, too. Your post on the set swayed me to buy it ๐Ÿ™‚

I certainly kept the box!

Reply
Sonia G. 9 March, 2020 - 10:47 pm

Hi Mary!
Thank you!! ๐Ÿ™‚
That paper is really sturdy, exactly what I needed and hopefully it won’t produce too much waste as it is indeed lovely too. Let’s see!
I am really honoured to have worked with such skilled artisans and they will be happy to read your comment! Thank you so much for your interest and your kind support! <3

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Sarah Lettice 9 March, 2020 - 11:35 pm

Sonia, this is truly a work of art and you and the artisans who worked on this project should be very proud of yourselves. The thought that has been put into the brush holder is evident, it looks both visually beautiful and also very functional. I hope Iโ€™m one of the lucky ones and am able to grab this one when it goes on sale…. โค๏ธ

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Sonia G. 24 March, 2020 - 6:08 pm

Thank you Sarah, waw this is such an amazing compliment, I can imagine the artisan reading this ๐Ÿ™‚ he will be insanely happy and grateful!!
Sending you lots of love!!!

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Olivia 10 March, 2020 - 7:17 am

Hi Sonia! I am new to the world of your brushes (just ordered the Sculpt One as my first brush from you). Although this brush holder is out of my budget for the time being, your integrity and dedication to working with artisans you know personally and manifesting your creations exactly how you want just makes me respect you and your brushes so much. It makes it all the more worth diving deep into your brand. The details on this brush holder are exquisite–I love how you thought of every use case, and how the wood will age over time! Thank you for all the attention you bring to your products!

I also wanted to take some time and ask if Base One will be in production/restock anytime soon?

Thanks so much

Olivia

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Maritza 10 March, 2020 - 6:29 pm

Couldnt have said it better ๐Ÿ™‚ , I’ll be cheering from the stands

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Sonia G. 24 March, 2020 - 6:20 pm

Thank you Maritza ๐Ÿ™‚ so nice ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sonia G. 24 March, 2020 - 6:16 pm

Hi Olivia,
Thank you so much for your feedback, it is truly rewarding to read this!! Doing it this way is the only way that makes sense for me, even if it is riskier, it brings something different to our community and we really had fun doing it!
Base One is not planned at the moment, it did not have the best reviews so I thought this one would not really be the most awaited brush, I am changing things to see how it would work out differently, with other bristles.
Please stay in touch, I will give you news as soon as I can!
thank you again for your kind support!! <3

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Laura 10 March, 2020 - 9:40 am

Congratulations Sonia! I had a feeling you’d come out with something fresh and new, but my guesses went wrong haha. Not completely, but I didn’t expect a wooden brush holder, maybe a brush roll. A brush roll made of Japanese fabrics would be a dream, I have one Sarah has made and it’s my treasure! Looking forward some of your brush restocks. Kisses from Helsinki!

-Laura / Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

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KANAKO 10 March, 2020 - 2:56 pm

Hi Sonia!
I’m Japanese, so I’m not good at English.I wanted to talk to you.
Sorry for the badly written text.

I have a pro and sky eye makeup brush.
When I first used it, it was very, very, very impressive!
The hair is very soft, the eyelids are not pulled, and the makeup is beautifully completed.
Since I don’t have any face brushes, I really enjoy the pro and sky face brushes so I can’t sleep much.
The new brush holder is also really cool. It is expensive, but I want to buy it.

Thank you for always updating your blog.
I look forward to the success of SONIA! XD

Reply
Sonia G. 24 March, 2020 - 6:19 pm

Hi Kanako,
How nice to read you!! thank you!!
I am very happy that you are loving the brushes, what a nice compliment!! I hope you are doing well and still enjoying the brushes ๐Ÿ™‚
I hope we can meet sometime in Japan and take care of yourself!!
Love <3

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Ellena 11 March, 2020 - 2:32 pm

So, my guess was right! ๐Ÿ™‚ But this happened only because you have a natural way of unfolding and developing things. My Sonya G brushes were longing for a “nest”. But what you created in collaboration with the Artist was beyond my imagination!
What an exquisite execution and attention to details, but also practicability! I bow in front of the Japanese artisan and his artistry.

As a personal feedback: I love the choice of the wood, the silkiness of the finish, the sturdiness and sizing, the sliding compartments (as I prefer to sort my brushes by their functionality) and not lastly, its elegance (very much dislike the plastic alternatives on the market). I ordered 2 holders!

When I read your post saying you felt sick upon Beautylish announcement, I could feel your torment. But I would like to encourage you to be brave and follow your dreams, as the results are beautiful!

PS I think what we need next is a box/wrap/thing to carry our brushes safely, when on the move :).

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Sonia G. 24 March, 2020 - 6:25 pm

Hi Ellena,
haha so funny!! it makes me so happy to read your feedback! this is the best reward, thank you so so so much!!!!
OMG, you got two… that’s crazy, I really don’t know how to say thank you…
You really are amazing, you have no idea how encouraging it is to read this, it is a journey that I could never do without your support.
Yes… about your PS… this is on the way… and looking fantastic ๐Ÿ˜‰
Love you sweetie! take care!!!

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Sarah Blush 25 March, 2020 - 12:17 am

Hi Sonia,
I haven’t found a perfect brush holder… until now it seems!, when will the walnut brush holder be available again?.
Can’t wait! ๐Ÿ™‚
I adore your posts sharing your passion and thoughts, I just ordered my first Sonia G brushes and I’m so excited, I will share with you pics and stories on instagram. I am your new and deep admirer.
Kisses,
Sarah Blush

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Jennifer McCall 28 March, 2020 - 11:57 pm

Hello Sonia! I found you through the YouTube (KS-Alicia, MicheleW, &MelT.) community a while back and once I had one brush I started getting them all! Still missing Sky Face but eagerly awaiting! I purchased 4 (tech my daughter got 2 for me) of your brush holders knowing that my friends and family would try to steal mine and I really couldnโ€™t afford to keep them all! But as far as the price goes, I have previously purchased probably 20 other โ€œbrush holdersโ€ or the like and they werenโ€™t cheap so really I believe these are so worth the price and wait! They are sheer Perfection! I will def be keeping 2 and my daughter and friend whom I just introduced to your collection saw the beauty in your design just as I did so I donโ€™t believe they will stray too far! Thank you and keep going! Know that I am confident in everything you create, and I am sure there are others! โค๏ธ

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Julia Garcia 26 April, 2020 - 8:26 pm

Hello Sonia. There is definitely a need for storage for our makeup brushes that is both functional and beautiful in the marketplace. Honestly, when I ordered this, I was hoping to hate this brush holder because of the steep price, and return it using Beautylish’s awesome return policy. Instead, I was pleasantly surprisded at the craftsmanship and quality . It was perfect, not only beautiful to look at, but functional. Sadly, when I went back to order another, it was sold out. Needless to say, I look forward to the next restock. My brush collection is extensive, and I plan on getting a couple more. While I know it takes time and lots of work in making these quality items, I still hope a larger number of restock is created so the items do not sell out so quickly. Do you have any idea of a restock date? I just received my Face Sky Set and would love to befittingly display these in another brush holder. I have a couple of suggestions, one being for maybe a smaller, less expensive option. Also, a smaller version where the sides are shorter for those smaller brushes and brushes with short handles. The Koyudo Fu-Pa, Billy B. and other short handled brushes come to mind. I appreciate your blogs, with information on how to use and clean these brushes. Any chance for any instructional videos? I use these brushes a traditional way, and after reading your blogs I find there are many other ways to use them. I look forward to more brush storage and brush creations from you.

Reply

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