A few month ago NSBA got a special guest, Rosemary, a brush maker with 30 years of experience. She demonstrated how to create rounded, flat and fans shape Kolinsky Sable brushes. She also pointed out various forms of brush that I saw for the first time, the sword lines, triangular point, comber, 'tadpole'/ extended point brushes, and some more. Everything was done manually, including how to make the strongest sable hair in the middle of the brush and how to get the tip of the brush taper. A very interesting demonstration.
Later Rosemary shared some tips on taking care of watercolour brushes. I didn't make a note of all of them, but I keep some relevant tips for my self:
1. Always clean brushes thoroughly after each painting session. For Kolinsky or Sable, rinse in cold water.
Remove as much moisture as possible with kitchen roll and reshape before storing.
2. To prevent brush's handle from loosening/ cracking, try to keep handles dry when you dip the brush head into water. Only wet the ferrule.
3 Expensive/ perfect pointy brushes shouldn't be used to mix the paints.
4. Another special treatment is to recondition your
sables as you would your own hair!
Once a year, take ordinary hair conditioner and apply just one or two
drops to the heads allowing to soak, then rinse well before storing
I also ask what to do to repair a bent synthetic (nylon) brush, she said to dip it in boiled water for about 2 seconds, reshape the head and let it dry naturally. Warning! It was for synthetic brushes only, never do it to natural Kolinsky/ Sable brushes.