Home Brushes MAKI-E SERIES – SUMMER KOI 2024

MAKI-E SERIES – SUMMER KOI 2024

by Sonia G.

I wanted to create something very special for this summer 2024- a little brush set that stands out. Not only because of the special Maki-e decorated handles, but my hopes are, that these brushes instantly land on your highest usage list.

This new set is part of the Maki-e series and is Limited Edition. The brushes are either new designs that do not exist in my current permanent collection, or designs that exist, but have been tweaked to fit the intended purpose of these 4 brushes working together as the ideal eye set. They are supercharged with so much potential, so incredibly fun and easy to use for everyday action.

This is my husband’s favourite brush set. Since we started this journey, he loves the aesthetics, the Maki-e, the handle, the bristles – which is so wonderful to see because these brushes have a very special meaning to me. I have been using the brush prototypes for a long time as they took a long time to complete, and I am thrilled to see them assembled on the final handles. I am ready to share all the details with you and I sincerely hope you love them as much as we do!

This Summer Koi 2024 set comes with 4 new brushes, bundled with kakishibu dyed saikoho goat bristles, and are paired with these stunning black and blue curvy handles showcasing little Maki-e details. The set comes packaged in a vertical paulownia wooden box secured with an elasticated blue ribbon.

MAKI-E DETAILS
SPECIAL HANDLES
KAKISHIBU DYE
WOODEN PACKAGING

THE MAKI-E DESIGN

It’s easy to find a garden in Japan to get some rest, enjoy the calm, to reflect, or to find inspiration. I love to spend time there, on my own or with company, and enjoy the moment.
You can usually spot koi swimming in the ponds and since I had this koi idea on my mind for quite a while, I thought they would look wonderful on these handles specially with the blue layer peeking through.

The Maki-e details showcase a little koi swimming against the current towards a lotus flower. I don’t choose the details randomly, there is always a strong emotional connection to whatever designs make it into production.

When presenting this set to Beautylish, they asked me what made me chose these elements, my answer was “it’s actually a long story“. I haven’t told them the story yet, but they suggested we create a little post on their editorial section “Sonia’s Fude Corner” for those of you who want to know the thoughts behind this design. It’s not published yet but it will be in the very near future and I will share the link once it’s up!


Technically, the way the Maki-e elements can be applied on these curvy small handles limits us in terms of colours and details that we can use, and it’s quite a challenge to restrict the design to just two elements. However, the koi and the lotus seemed just right on their own; they carry a very personal and emotional meaning to me and I am extremely happy to see them together, specially on these handles.

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We used the same Maki-e technique as the Sunset Cranes holiday set, with the same colours for the maki-e details (gold and red), but the handle has a different colour peeking through the black: deep blue instead of red.


THE HANDLES

They are the same shape and length as the Sunset Cranes Maki-e set that we created for Holiday 2023, with a similar gradient effect on the handle, but with the blue background to represent the water.

If you are already familiar with the Traditions series, they also share the same handle design, but the Traditions handles are made with Keyaki wood and have exposed wood grain, while the Maki-e handles are maple wood coated with many layers of different lacquers in order to give them this unique depth.


THE BRISTLES

I launched the Traditions series earlier this year, some are permanent (Kakishibu) and some are limited edition (Select 2024). The permanent Traditions series have bristles that showcase the very valuable tradition of dying using persimmon fruit dye – which gives the bristles this beige-orange hue. For this Limited Edition Maki-e set, we used the exact same techniques and fruits that are also sourced locally.
Once the dye is ready to use, the process of dying the bristles is done manually by one master artisan, it’s a lot of work and it takes many days from start to finish. Not all batches are going to be the exact same hue, and the final hue may also change over time with use and sun exposure.

I think that the common denominator for the brushes in this set is “steadiness“, all of them have a nice density but with well balanced, regular and predictable movement. The kakishibu dye, together with the specific design of the brushes, contribute to the nice grip, flow, and steadiness of these bristles.

This dye adds so much more interest to the feel and the performance of the brushes. If you already have some of the Traditions brushes with the Kakishibu dye, you already know how those perform, and how amazing they are. For this special Maki-e set, using this type of dye was not only ideal, but it made so much sense because it makes these brushes so much more special.


THE BRUSHES

There are 4 eye brushes in this set, they are new brushes that do not exist in my permanent collection. One is similar to an existing brush (the Mini Booster) but since it’s not made by the same manufacturer and also the bristles are processed using different methods- we cannot say these are the same brushes.

The idea was to create a set that would work nicely whether we have a lot of space to play with, or really not so much at all. I also try to create brushes that give us lots of options, in terms of precision, strength, purpose, this allows us to get a lot of use out of them.

The Flat Pencil
The Small Builder
The Crease Booster
The Smooth Blender

THE DETAILS

THE FLAT PENCIL


Front and sideways

It’s a pencil brush, but the ferrule has been slightly pinched to give it more benefits: instead of only one option in terms of thickness, we have a thinner and a thicker side – depending on how you hold it.

This little trick allows the brush to be more versatile and it offers more control, it becomes easier to play with shadow in the tiniest spaces..

We still have the benefits and functionality of a pencil brush, but this shape gives us different options, and I think that it becomes exponentially more interesting, specially if you already have many pencil brushes.


PURPOSE

The thin side can get very close to the lashes and delivers a super even placement, the thicker side will offer a thicker but slightly softer application.
We can use the thin side for a very close placement, or use the thin side and then blend or soften it with the thicker side.
Or to smudge a pencil or to transfer pencil onto the lash line.
Or also to extend and create a winged application with a powder shadow.
It’s ideal to place a shadow or to intensify the outer v with precision because it acts like the tiniest lay-down brush -it’s tiny but still has some length and the sides can easily pick up product.
It’s also very effective to place the inner corner highlight, specially when working with sheer or sparkly shadows, we can easily pack them on the brush and target the placement exactly where we need it.

COMPARISONS

Flat Pencil – T1 – Flat Definer – Pencil S – Builder S
Flat Pencil – T1 – Flat Definer – Pencil S – Builder S

The Flat Pencil is in between the Flat Definer and the T1, if you wished that the Flat Definer was thicker at the tip or the T1 less wide, then the Flat Pencil will fill that gap in between.
The Pencil S is a wonderful mini pencil brush, it’s going to work with more precision in comparison to the Flat Pencil. The Flat Pencil has more bristles that can work together to help with a placement of a more difficult shadow, for example some shimmers or metallics or hybrid formulas.
The Builder S is a very small laydown brush, it’s larger and longer than the Flat Pencil, for the days we need a laydown brush but much more smaller than average!


THE SMALL BUILDER

Front and sideways

It’s a laydown type of brush. It has a pinched ferrule and it’s more long than wide, but the generous thickness is intended to give support to the body and to the tip.
Since it’s narrow, but has length and density, it’s super easy to navigate on the mobile lashline, whether we need to use it at an angle or to target and build the placement.



PURPOSE

It’s a straightforward brush, to place and build a shadow on the mobile lid, on the outer v, or to add definition along the lash line using the tip. However, even though it looks basic, because it’s such a useful size to own and the bristles are so wonderful, it does fill a gap and becomes a brush we want to reach for automatically.

COMPARISONS

The ferrule of the Small Builder is very similar in size to the Mini Builder from the Sunset Cranes set, but with more fullness in the body and density.
The Small Builder is more narrow and firmer in comparison to the Traditions T2, therefore it is stronger and more precise with the placement.
I placed the other shaders or builders in this picture to give you an idea of their size and shape, I love them all, use them all, I would say that the Small Builder from this set is the fusion of all of them together to create the one.


THE CREASE BOOSTER

It’s a small crease brush with a round ferrule, very similar to the Mini Booster from the SKY series, it’s similar but not the same, this shape and bristles give the brush a little bit more control at the tip.
It’s truly an awesome brush to work in the crease as we can navigate so easily, build the intensity just where we need, blend or work with transition shades.


PURPOSE


To work a shadow in the crease, to intensify a placement, or for targeted blending. It’s a simple brush and yet it’s addictive because it makes the process so effortless.

When you use brushes that are reliable, disciplined, effective, there is somehow a feeling of contentment when using them (it’s just brushes though) but it’s the feeling that I particularly aimed for with this small crease brush.

COMPARISONS

The Crease Booster is similar to the Mini Booster, they were designed for the same function and purpose. Both are bundled with goat bristles of saikoho quality, however, the fact that there is a different manufacturer behind them, and that the dye process is different, we cannot say they are technically the same brushes. Even working with the same manufacturer, for example for the two Mini Boosters, they don’t look 100% alike, this is mainly due to how we use the brush and the nature of the bristles since each batch of bristles is slightly different in feel.

In terms of results, there isn’t a big difference between the Mini Booster and the Crease Booster, they have similar size and shape. We could say that after using both for a long time consistently, the Kakishibu Crease Booster delivers a more silky, polished blend in comparison to the Mini Booster, but both are phenomenal.

Crease Booster – T4 – Mini Boosterx2 – Soft Definer – Crease M

The T4 has a flattish surface, the Limited Edition (sold out) Soft Definer a more determined directional placement as a crease brush or a more soft diffused placement as a pencil brush.
The Crease M is more airy and soft with the placement.

If you are familiar with the way yellow Canadian squirrel bristles work, I feel that the kakishibu dyed bristles have a similarity in the way they release the product: more progressively rather than bolder on first wipe, then less.


THE SMOOTH BLENDER

The ferrule is round, and the shape is slightly domed, but the tip has a flattish area that helps distributing the strength across the surface in order to deliver a smooth and even blend.

It will slightly bloom after washing, and the bristles will separate to allow enough movement, but the brush remains stable and decisive.

The pressure we use will determine the strength that we need.
It’s truly a versatile gem because it’s big enough to use for a base shadow application, but small enough to target the blending to the outer v perimeter or to the crease and the transition area.


PURPOSE


To place a shadow on the entire lid, to smooth, to blend, to intensify the crease area, to work on the outer v.
Fantastic for a gentle polishing or smoothing of the final results.

It can also be used with concealers and correctors, it’s ideal to navigate around the eye area. It’s not a brush I would use with creams on a regular basis because it would require a more frequent washing than using it solely with powders, but if you need to, or wish to use it with creams, it’s technically compatible.

It’s a very unique brush (to me) and I really needed a brush like this. I have been trying to manufacture this exact shape for a very, very, long time. The issue is that to obtain this shape and movement, without using bristles that hurt, it’s truly a challenge for the artisans.
There are some similar brushes in the market but with the bigger ones, I lack precision, and with the smaller ones (that I own so far) the movement is not the same as their blending tends to be too directional, too strong. I was aiming for a little roundish blending brush with the strength gently distributed across its surface the best way possible. The intention is to be able to blend, smooth or polish with similar intensity and gradually.

COMPARISONS

The T3 is longer with the strength more concentrated towards the tip. The brushes in this pic are to compare their sizes because they are all very different brushes, different sizes, density and shapes.
The Jumbo Blender shares some similarities with the Smooth Blender, even though it has a pinched ferrule, so if you own the Jumbo Blender and love the way it moves and blends, the Smooth Blender is smaller but it will remind you of it in terms of purpose and functionality.


MAKI-E SERIES – SUMMER KOI 2024 SPECS

Total length mmBristles length mmMaterial
Flat Pencil1477Kakishibu dyed saikoho grade goat
Small Builder15010Kakishibu dyed saikoho grade goat
Crease Booster15414Kakishibu dyed saikoho grade goat
Smooth Blender15212Kakishibu dyed saikoho grade goat

All these brushes are compatible with both powders and cream products.


THE PACKAGING

This Summer 2024 set comes wrapped in a washi paper sleeve and packaged in a paulownia wooden box, secured with an elasticated blue tasselled ribbon. For this release, the illustration that is on the handles is also printed on the box.

We used similar boxes for the Sunset Cranes set and the Traditions Select 2024. These little lightweight wooden boxes are useful to protect the brushes during transport, and then, we can use them as mini brush holders. Even though it’s just packaging, it’s really nice when we can reuse all the packaging pieces for other purposes, hence the reason why I designed the box this way.

It’s the rainy season in Japan, and this season may have an impact on this type of wood as it can move a little bit with humidity. A note from the paulownia box manufacturer is that we need to take a lot of care when opening the box- do it very gently and vertically to avoid breaking the “yaro” (the wood part that extends and helps connecting the two parts of the box).


CARE AND MAINTENANCE

The brushes will be delivered with a light coating on the bristles, this coating is natural, and its purpose is to protect the bristles during transport. The brushes can be used straight away, however, after washing them, the bristles will bloom and reach the position they were intended to reach.

You can wash these brushes with the same frequency as your regular goat brushes, and with the same products that you use for any other brushes – I use the Beauty Blender solid soap (not sponsored).
It’s great to gently wipe them on a microfiber cloth in between uses, or in between products, if you do so, you may not need to wash them as regularly.

The handles are lacquered, they will get fine scratches with use and this is normal wear, however, I would avoid kicking them against hard surfaces.


PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

Thank you for reading and for always supporting and encouraging me and all the artisans behind these brushes. It’s such a joy to work with them and it’s just incredibly rewarding to see how much you appreciate the brushes that we create together. We are all so grateful!

These brushes will only be available as a set* and it is limited edition, the price of the 4 brushes with their box is 210 USD. The set will be available on Beautylish starting on the 25th of June at 10am PT.

*Sales are limited to one set per order.

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21 comments

Sunsarae 19 June, 2024 - 7:08 pm

Sonia, you never cease to amaze me. I love reading every word of the process and thoughts behind your creations. I love that there is a story that bring the products into fruition. I adore the Koi and the Lotus Flower. My husband and I met at Job Corps where he was a student in the masonry program. Their project was building a Koi Pond, his favorite color is blue. It’s like these were made for me. We also enjoy visiting the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco where there is a beautiful Koi Pond. I look forward to learning the story of the meaning of the Koi and Lotus are for you!

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Sonia G. 19 June, 2024 - 9:06 pm

Hi Sunsarae!!

Thank you for sharing, how amazing!! It makes me so happy to hear your stories, now I will always remember your own story! I have such a huge smile right now 😀 😀 😀
I am writing my own little one just right now to send it to Beautylish for the Sonia Fude Corner, the process may take a few days and I am not sure when they intend publishing it, but it’s wonderful to be able to connect with people like you!! thank you for being here Sunsarae and always taking the time to comment and encourage me!<3

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Carla 19 June, 2024 - 8:29 pm

A true work of art. Many congratulations on this work, they are truly beautiful.

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Sonia G. 19 June, 2024 - 9:07 pm

Hi Carla, thank you so much!!! <3 It has been such a joy to work on this set!!

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Amanda 19 June, 2024 - 8:34 pm

wonderful!!!! They are beautiful. I love this blog, I have been following it for many years, and I have many of your brushes, which are all wonderful works of art.

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Sonia G. 19 June, 2024 - 9:09 pm

Hi Amanda! Thank you!! how kind of you to stop by and leave me this kind message, I sincerely appreciate it! Thank you!!!

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Denise 19 June, 2024 - 10:54 pm

Sonia’s Fude Corner !!! stupendous! I want to read all about what knowledge and experiences you have to share of your creative designs and functions. Also I am awaiting to read and see your new fude storage system.
Congratulations on your new launch and that Hubby likes them so much. Soon you will have an Alice favourite collection : )
The blue shade I align with you, same with your original red. And your unpainted wooded handles are so special.
Glad you are working hard and enjoying it!! Blessings. Keep in touch <3 Denise

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Sonia G. 20 June, 2024 - 11:46 pm

Hi Denise!! My husband will be working on the storage this weekend! let’s see if I can post a pic of what we are trying to do 🙂 and tonight, my daughter is helping with the inventory… I need labels for the drawers! almost there!
Yes I am certainly enjoying it, it’s wonderful and getting better and better, which is incredible…
big hugs Denise, take care and I’ll speak to you soon!!! <3

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Chey 19 June, 2024 - 11:11 pm

Amazing! Lord knows I have enough of fude but cannot resist yours. Love the sunset cranes so will definitely be getting these even just for the handles lol as I love kois! Will there be face brushes in this handle coming up soon?

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Sonia G. 20 June, 2024 - 11:48 pm

Hi Chey!! I am very honored!!!
There is a lot of people excited about the little kois, that’s really great!!! Face brushes are not yet planned but they might if we can do it! take care and thank you for your amazing support!

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Latia Bell 19 June, 2024 - 11:56 pm

This collection may be my favorite and I don’t even have it yet! The handles is exquisite I can not wait to add it to my collection sonia you did it again congratulations on a new upcoming launch

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Sonia G. 20 June, 2024 - 11:50 pm

Thank you Latia!! how wonderful, what a joy to read that they can evoke this kind of emotions! I could not be happier, thank you so much!!! I hope you will love them in real life and please do let me know!!!

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Severine 20 June, 2024 - 10:10 pm

Voilà tu me surprends encore et toujours. Alors oui tu as travaillé dur, très dur même mais qu’est-ce que tu peux être fière. Ce nouveau set est merveilleux, je l’aime déjà, j’ai hâte de jouer avec. Je te lis et j’imagine déjà. Je ne me fais aucun souci quant à son succès.

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Sonia G. 20 June, 2024 - 11:51 pm

Bonjour Seve! merci beaucoup, ça me touche beaucoup venant de toi, sincèrement! merci pour tes encouragements and ton amitié! tu es toujours dans mon coeur <3

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Louise Sharpy 25 June, 2024 - 4:47 pm

Wow. I have to say , out of all your designs. This one hit me for some reason. The calming of the Koi and the lotus flower brought me such warmth in my heart. It made me feel peace. Does that make sense ? I don’t have any collections,)can’t afford ) which is ok , but I must say,, this one I need. It spoke to me, mostly my heart. Truly a work of art thst I know you put your all in this ! Thank you for this, and for you !!

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Sonia G. 17 July, 2024 - 4:32 pm

Hello Louise! Your words touched me so deeply, thank you, for your kindness and for being so close to me! It makes sense of course and I feel the same. What is so beautiful about your comment is that my dream is that whatever we create with the artisans, that it evokes emotions and we can connect beyond the functionality of the product itself. It means the world and I am so grateful Louise! I hope you are feeling well, strong, you are always in my heart!!!

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Mari VG 28 June, 2024 - 9:43 pm

Your brushes reignited my own love of beautiful makeup brushes. Thank you! I still have natural hair brushes that my mum bought me nearly 20 years ago for my 16th birthday. I loved them but had fallen out of the habit of using them because of all the hype around synthetic brushes improving all the time. As I have got older though, my skin has changed and become sensitive – I found I couldn’t bear to be creative with makeup anymore as by the time I’d finished an eye look, my eyes would be streaming. I researched online about the best brushes to use on sensitive skin and came across your brand, made my first purchase, and dug out my old beloved natural hair brushes. They are still a joy to use every time and putting on my makeup is a pleasure again, rather than a chore. From your brushes I became interested in the craftsmanship of makeup brushes and discovered the world of fude. I now have a small but beautiful collection of fude and love learning about the heritage of each brand and brush. I can honestly say I use a Sonia G brush every time I do my makeup, which is most days. I’ve just ordered your summer 2024 collection and cannot wait for it to arrive. I love your brand and everything it stands for.

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Sonia G. 17 July, 2024 - 4:38 pm

Hi Mari, this is exactly what ignited my search for softer, more effective make-up brushes so that I needed less strokes. Just like you I couldn’t enjoy make-up anymore, my skin and my eyes were so sensitive that I even had to stop trying make-up with professionals. Even though I loved the experience so much, it had become too rough for my skin and regularly had bad reactions. It’s truly amazing that these brushes can help someone else, I could not be happier so thank you so so so much for sharing! I hope that your love for Fude and craftsmanship continues strong for a very long time and I sincerely hope to read you again!! take care! <3

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AnnaMarie Lechner 29 June, 2024 - 10:44 pm

I was just wondering if you ever thought of creating a larger picture on your brushes. I ha e purchased many of your brushes and love them all recently I purchased a brush directly from Japan with a geisha that is very beautiful and the image is large. You might think this is strange but I buy the brushes for the art work as I rarely wear makeup just a thought

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Sonia G. 17 July, 2024 - 9:12 pm

Hi Anna Marie, you mean a bigger design or on a larger area of the handle? I will have something a little bit different coming in the future, maybe this will be closer to a large picture in a way, I hope you will love it!
Some manufacturers create brushes mainly for decorative purposes so I totally understand what you mean, thank you so much for sharing! <3

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Diana 6 July, 2024 - 10:12 am

Dear Sonia, I’m lucky to own six of your beautiful face brushes, they are truly exquisite. I’ve been wanting to try your eye brushes and I am actually a bit surprised to see a set that seems perfectly made for me (small eye area, hooded, loves sparkle and flat brushes for eyeliner).

Small Builder looks like the perfect size – I wondered how compares to the Builder S and Builder M in its strength as a packing brush for sparkly shadows? I mostly use Pat McGrath shadows if that helps. Thnk you very much 🙂

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