Just finished reading Sonia's post
about the Artist Brush and wanted to share my own thoughts. This is my first Wayne Goss brush and I was excited about adding it to my collection since I don't own anything like it in shape, size and design. But that initial excitement wore off soon after the first wash. There was some minimal bleeding, as well as shedding of a couple of floating hairs, but those are the obvious risks you take into consideration when purchasing natural-haired brushes with dyed bristles. What's less acceptable is the uneven craftsmanship; the wooden handle is admittedly flawless, but that just makes the half dozen wild/long hairs in the brush head even more apparent:
This contrast wouldn't be so bad if the bristles as a whole were bundled better, but the hair just seems like it was handled sloppily. Unfortunately, this lack of attention to detail extends beyond the brush itself. The wooden box the Artist Brush is packaged in is barely wide enough to accommodate the brush while in its plastic protective sleeve, but unless you plan to never wash the brush or use a brush guard, the case is useless as a storage place after the bristles have dried completely and are allowed to fluff out properly. An example of this sort of presentation that works is Surratt's choice of similar box packaging, albeit in black cardboard rather than wood, which allows plenty of clearance space for the nature of natural bristles to expand after they've been washed:
While the nearly eight inch handle might seem unwieldy, anything shorter would have made the brush too top-heavy; the length feels appropriate and works to balance out the bulk of the weight that comes from the brush's wooden 'ferrule.' Beyond how long it looks, I don't think the length of the handle has much of an impact on how the brush is ultimately used to apply products — there's really no learning curve in that regard. As for the softness of the mix of goat and squirrel hair, I was initially impressed by how delicate the bristles felt. But after washing it, the brush felt noticeably less soft. The Artist Brush feels more coarse than the mix found in the Koyudo fu-pa14 and about the same as the Chikuhodo and Hakuhodo brushes made of dyed goat and squirrel in my collection:
Maybe I'd feel differently if this brush were part of a set that included traditional powder and cheek brushes, but because this brush seems so different to the regular lineup, it reads to me as a stand-alone object, as such "the head just doesn’t match the body
" — sort of like a used car with fancy rims. Of course, you could argue that the choice of materials makes a brush with hair of this length more versatile/efficient — less of a one-note, floppy finishing brush or dense buffing brush. But this brush is tapered, so I don't think you'd sacrifice much in terms of functionality if it was made using higher quality bristles that were in line with the superior quality of the rest of the brush. So, while I am somewhat disappointed with this brush from a collector's point of view, at least I'll probably get a lot more practical use out of this brush now that I don't really think of it as all that special and won't treat it as worthy of 'for display purposes only.'