I am very honored to present this two-piece Holiday set, a tribute to Japanese craftsmanship and to the majestic Mount Fuji.
The brush is bundled with saikoho goat bristles, it features an ombre effect using kakishibu a.k.a. persimmon tannin dye. The Mt Fuji inspired holder showcases a fusion of two Japanese woodworking techniques: Yosegi and Kumiki.
We combined traditional techniques, exceptional know-how and precious materials. This project brought together amazing passionate people from different companies. I will miss our conversations, dynamics, fun, creativity and the excitement at each step of the process.
The dedication and the love that has been put into the creation of these pieces was so intense, we sincerely hope you will love both of them!
Let me tell you exactly what we have made, how it was made and why it’s special….
A SENSE OF FLUIDITY
A calming design featuring curves, soothing tones, soft materials, it’s a beautiful balance between aesthetics and functionality. The wood is smooth and the bristles so soft, with a touch of vibrance on the tip of the bristles.
Curves are everywhere- on the brush, the ferrule, the handle and the holder. This is certainly a decorative piece but it’s also extremely functional.
THE MOUNT FUJI HOLDER
The base of the brush- which also acts as a holder- represents a snow-capped Mount Fuji. The darker brown part is walnut wood, the lighter maple wood is the snow lying on the top.
The matte see-through coating leaves the pattern of the wood exposed, each pattern will be different. There is a hole in the center to insert the handle and store the brush. The bottom of the holder has a diameter of 6cm.
The first time I presented my idea to the master artisan, I remember very clearly his eyes and his smile when I mentioned that the snow “needed” to be wavy around it. I know he loves a challenge and I knew he would find a way!
This piece has been crafted with two different types of wood: walnut and maple wood, assembled using traditional techniques and state-of-the art technology.
To join together these two types of wood, the artisan fused two Japanese woodworking techniques: Yosegi and Kumiki.
Yosegi is the art of joining different wood pieces to create a pattern using the natural colors of these woods. Kumiki is the art of interlocking wood pieces together. The fact that the fusion point is shaped like a wave adds a whole new level of complexity.
The holder is made with just one piece of wood for the walnut body so the pattern flows very smoothly all around it.
All the holders will be different in pattern and maybe also slightly different in hue.
Since the wood pieces are carved together after being assembled, they have a sense of unity that makes the Mt Fuji shape look so elegant and also feel so smooth.
This Mt Fuji holder is not only special because of the wood we used, or the woodworking techniques, there is more to it. This master artisan is highly renowned for the quality of his work and for his extremely high standards when it comes to precision. He uses innovative wood shaving techniques, very specific tools and crafting skills that he has been perfecting over the years.
I have seen the attention he puts into every single piece of wood. Each piece has its own hardness, personality, the way he works with all these characteristics is fascinating.
I have always enjoyed watching artisans at work. Since I was a child, something about the wood scents and the noises have always felt very familiar. I see the love and passion that this master artisan has for his work so being able to work with him, and spend time with his family is a such a privilege. We both sincerely hope that you will love this little, but precious, Mt Fuji holder.
MINIMAL LOGO DISPLAY
There are no visible logos when the piece is displayed. This is to be able to appreciate the clean pattern of the wood.
The logo symbol is hidden under the holder.
The logo of the handle is hidden when the brush is stored in the holder, it will be visible when the brush is used.
THE MOUNT FUJI BRUSH
The brush is made in Kumano. It’s 170mm in total length and everything about this brush is bespoke: the bristles, the method used to dye the bristles, the ferrule and the handle.
|Total brush length||170 mm|
|Bristle length||45mm – 50mm|
|Bristle material||Saikoho goat|
– THE HANDLE –
The handles are made with maple wood, the same wood that is used for the snow on the top of the Mt Fuji holder.
The handles that are currently in my collection are most of them maple wood, they are usually coated with the red/black or blue/black lacquer.
Here you can see what the maple handles look like with a smooth matte coating, without the opaque coating.
The Sonia G logo is lasered at the front, JAPAN is lasered at the back of the handle.
– THE FERRULE –
The ferrule is wavy. It’s not a secret that I love wavy ferrules as they balance nicely the power of the bristles across the surface. We get strength at the top of the bristles but it’s nicely distributed and not too directional.
The material of the ferrule is brass and its wavy shape recalls the wavy snow-capped shape of the Mt Fuji holder, the color is a beautiful matte beige.
One by one, the ferrules are assembled, adjusted and pressed to the calculated width.
– THE BRISTLES –
The surface at the top of the brush is wide and thick but the flow of the bristles remains predictable. Although the brush targets a large area, we feel where the surface is working. The application is even and buildable.
This is currently the biggest brush in my collection. You can see the shape of the head front and sideways here. It feels incredibly soft and luxurious but it does have purpose and it’s a joy to use.
– PRECIOUS OLD TRADITIONS –
The tips have been dyed with kakishibu (persimmon tannin dye). This is a traditional Japanese dye method coming from the persimmon fruit, the ones used for our dye are sourced locally.
This dye technique dates back to the 13th century. I heard that it’s rarely used today and it’s sad to see it disappearing because it’s natural, and has so many benefits.
The dying process of the bristles is entirely done by hand, it has required a lot of work to achieve this final result.
I wanted the bristles to remain very soft and very white at the base and have the lightest possible orange hue at the very top. For this to be possible, more steps had to be added to the process- which haven’t been done before- but the outcome was truly worth the effort.
Kakishibu dye has natural beneficial properties. It is credited with being an insect repellant and having anti-mold properties. The color is supposed to change slowly with time and sun exposure, so every brush will evolve differently.
I’m happy we can contribute to foster traditions like these so that we don’t lose the know-how and that they can pass on this legacy to newer generations.
Speaking of generations and legacy, a master artisan is called a Dento Kogeishi. In order to receive this title, the artisan needs to work in the industry for at least 12 years, take exams, be mentored, recommended and then approved by the traditional crafts industry, it’s a long process but it’s what guarantees that the skills and expertise specific to that industry are mantained.
The artisan who worked on this brush is one of the greatest master artisans, he trains and mentors certified Dento Kogeishi artisans.
– SHAPE AND FUNCTIONALITY –
The bristles are saikoho goat. They are 5cm long -or 4.5cm from the highest center of the ferrule depending on where you measure them.
It’s important to wash the brush so that you can see the final position of the bristles as they will splay out afterwards.
Even though it’s quite a beast- it’s even bigger than the Niji Pro or the Jumbo Bronzer- it has purpose and functionality. It’s fluffy yet assertive.
When using some very big brushes, we may not feel where the brush is working or blending, the bristles may flex unsynchronized, maybe the strength is not even across its surface, or the bristles may splay out uncontrollably. With this Mt Fuji brush, the bristles flow together, the strength is balanced and we know where the brush is blending. It’s a big brush for sure, but compared to many other big brushes, we are in control.
It can be used with powder or bronzer- not for precise placement but more for an all over application. I think you will be surprised at the steady flow of the bristles and how easy it is to use.
Here is a selection of my current brushes to show you how the size and shape differs.
The Mt Fuji brush is bigger than the Jumbo Bronzer and more airy.
The Hinoki is softer than the Mt Fuji and much smaller.
The Niji Pro is a bit similar in width but it has shorter bristles, it’s firmer and denser.
When aligned sideways, we can see how much bigger the Mt Fuji brush is in comparison to the others. It’s probably going to cover most of your cheek area – or half of your face – but for some of us who like that, this brush will be a gem and take part in a daily routine.
Even though its surface is big, the application and blending are even and controllable. If you like to apply powder or bronzer on the entire face, or on most of it, it’s a very functional and effortless brush.
The surface of the Mt Fuji brush is approx 65mm x 40mm, but the surface that is actually in contact with the skin is smaller, approx 45mm x 30mm. This is not that far from the Niji Pro, but the Mt Fuji brush will deliver a much softer application and the bristles will splay out more in comparison.
Of these four brushes, the Niji Pro is going to deliver the heaviest application and the strongest buffing. Since the bristles on the Niji are shorter and the edges nicely round, we could use it also for blush as it still allows moderate precision. It’s better to use the Niji with sheer or hard pressed products, or take advantage of this brush with applications that need buffing or polishing.
The Hinoki is the most versatile because it will be able to go from blush to contour to bronzer, more easily in comparison to the others. It’s not as firm or dense in comparison to the Niji Pro.
The Jumbo Bronzer is a go to for all type of bronzers for an application that doesn’t need precision. Some of you tell me how much you are able to do with this brush and that it has become a workhorse in your routine, even sometimes appropriate for blush! Well, it really depends on the precision that you require or the area that you are targetting for your blush application. I can use it for blush when I want to add some dimension without precision, but if you are looking for a blush brush only, this is not the best to start with.
The Mt Fuji brush is the fluffiest of all. If you are going for an application of bronzer all over the face (or on most of it), this is the one.
Althouth it’s a fluffy brush, there is strength so it can work easily with many bronzers or powders. However, if the products are hardly pressed, this brush won’t be the best candidate. It has very long bristles and excessive pressure can cause breakage. In that situation I would recommend something like the Niji Pro as it is specifically designed for products that are hard to pick.
I think that the idea for a holiday release is often to create something special, maybe something different that we may not reach for regularly.
I loved this brush and its shape so much, but due to its size I thought I would only use it occasionally. I realised today that I just couldn’t stop reaching for it, if it’s close to me, I will just grab it automatically. It’s always such a joy to use and store in its little holder.
– THE PACKAGING –
Recycled paper cranes, washi paper with Shippou pattern
The set comes in a beautiful recycled box made from the paper cranes that are displayed in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. As it says on the box, a portion of its cost has been donated to the Atomic Bomb Dome Presevation Project Fund.
The brush comes in a washi paper sleeve tied with a white and red raffia ribbon. The Mt Fuji holder in a little washi paper box. Both are decorated with a Shippou pattern.
The brush has the Kumano Fude sticker.
The number on the sticker helps us track the batch and date of manufacturing and also confirm the authenticity of a Kumano made product.
All the pieces are slightly different. The grain or pattern of the wood will differ, the hue can also be lighter or darker.
This set brought together two traditional crafts industries, Fude and woodworking.
I will miss working on this project with the artisans, it was absolutely amazing to wake up to emails or video chats. When I met the artisans in person I felt how happy they were to be creating something extraordinary for fude and art lovers, it has been an honour and a privilege for me and I am so grateful.
We sincerely hope that you will love this special release. Both of these items are precious to me because they represent the majestic Fujisan, they showcase very special traditions and were crafted by amazing people with all their heart and expertise.
This set is Limited Edition, retails for USD 195, and will be available on Beautylish starting on the 13th of December at 10am PT.
Thank you for reading and for your continuous support, this allows me to work with the artisans and pursue this amazing journey and I am sincerely grateful! If you have any questions about Japan or this release, do not hesitate to leave me a comment!
MOUNT FUJI – Fujisan – Fujiyama
If you are planning a trip to Japan, I highly recommend that you take the time to go and see Mt Fuji up close. If you would like to read more about my last trip to Japan and my visit to Mt Fuji, there is a post available here.
Mount Fuji is located around 100km south-west of Tokyo and rises to 3,776 meters in height.
I was extremely lucky during my trip because the weather was perfect, I could see it all.. which is rare as clouds or fog may often be in the way.
It was a very emotional visit, if you love Japan and haven’t seen Mt Fuji yet, you should definitely go and experience it in person, it’s breathtaking, moving, inspiring.