The history of Borciani and Bonazzi color brushes. Borciani e Bonazzi is a unique brand in the world of Fine Arts. Since its foundation, 1951, the Italian company has distinguished itself for solid craftsmanship in production combined with in-depth research of raw materials and the use of innovations developed over the years. We at MomArte have already had the pleasure of visiting the wonderful Borciani and Bonazzi brush factory, and today we want to tell you its story, its values , and some small and exciting anecdote about brushes and their production.
The history of Borciani and Bonazzi
Borciani e Bonazzi celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, and its presence is now essential within the world of Fine Arts. Let’s find out more details about the birth of the company and what this fantastic Italian reality represents today.
The birth of the company and the Borciani and Bonazzi brand
As we have briefly mentioned above, the company was founded in 1951 when the brothers Wilma and Arturo Bonazzi decided to set up their own business in a small artisan shop. They intended to put into practice what they had learned in years of training from the area masters. Specifically, they wanted to test their ability to replicate the secrets of traditional gestures, their sequence, and the ability to recognize the raw materials suitable for producing high-quality brushes.
Subsequently, Mrs. Wilma married Mr. Borciani, thus giving life to the name of the brand now known by all artists such as Borciani and Bonazzi. Not everyone knows that, unfortunately, Mr. Borciani passed away relatively soon, leaving Mrs. Wilma the entire management of the technical and production aspects of the shop. In contrast, his brother Arturo was left with the task of devoting himself more to the sale of the brushes themselves. This aspect is exciting. The production of brushes is still a purely female workforce today, an aspect that we at MomArte were able to experience firsthand, thanks to a visit to the fantastic brush factory of Borciani and Bonazzi.
Borciani and Bonazzi today
Although 70 years have passed since the foundation, Borciani, and Bonazzi continue to place the concepts of craftsmanship and extreme care in the search for raw materials at the center of their company, brand, and production. All this is accompanied by a continuous desire for innovation, research, and the desire to produce increasingly advanced tools for painting and drawing ideas without ever abandoning the traditional care and mastery. As evidence of the fantastic work done by the company, over the years, Borciani and Bonazzi have measured themselves with critical interventions on monuments and works of art in Italy, such as the restoration of the Sistine Chapel in Rome and the Opificio Delle Pietre Dure of Florence.
The Borciani and Bonazzi brush anecdotes and curiosities
The Borciani and Bonazzi brushes, produced with extreme care and passion by the artisans, have several fascinating backgrounds concerning their production but not only. Let’s find out together!
How many years of experience do you need for the production of Borciani and Bonazzi brushes?
It is an interesting question that many artists ask themselves. We are used to seeing perfect and flawless Borciani and Bonazzi brushes, but how much work is behind their production? The Italian brand underlines how a craftsman needs 3 to 5 years of experience to learn the art of making a brush. Since the company is characterized by solid craftsmanship, the protagonist tool of the production is the hands.
In five years, the artisans repeat the gestures for production every day until they have a unique sensitivity and a perfect memory of the steps to be performed. The hands of the Borciani and Bonazzi artisans come to feel incredibly the ideal fibers, the elasticity, the compactness, and the body of the brushes themselves. To complete the creation of each brush, the hands need other tools. Find out in the following paragraphs what we are talking about.
An indispensable tool for the production of Borciani and Bonazzi brushes is the trainer, also called “bussolotto” in jargon. It is a brass cylinder, hollow on one of the two sides, with a hollow core. Its particular function is to guide the hairs of the brush so that they are arranged in a straight and homogeneous way, creating a perfect shape for the head of each brush. Borciani and Bonazzi argue that the tip of the brush is obtained only by forming it. It is not the result of a cut or a shave. These steps would lead to removing the noble part of the yarn, the feather. Trainers have been produced since the company was founded, 1951, and each size in each series has its own. In short, it is a fundamental part of the production process of Borciani and Bonazzi brushes, able to make them unique and immediately recognizable!
The sling bar
Another particular accessory used for the production of Borciani and Bonazzi brushes is the sling bar. To be produced perfectly, each head must have a body and density suitable for the use that the artist will make of it. Before forming the bunch, the artisans carefully weigh the hairs and divide them according to company rules and measurements. The amount of hair needed can be so acceptable that it has to be measured in milligrams. Today’s artisans use digital scales, but in the past, goldsmith or pharmacy scales were used. This little anecdote demonstrates how the production processes and the tradition of Borciani and Bonazzi brushes are handed down among the different generations of artisans. This unique aspect is challenging to find in other brands.
The Cremonese violin makers use Borciani and Bonazzi brushes.
It is a curiosity that very few know. The Cremonese violin makers choose the Borciani, and Bonazzi brushes for the realization of their violins. The painting phase is the last step of the violin production process. More than 20 coats of paint are applied. In particular, the Cremonese violin makers usually use flat brushes or brushes characterized by yarn in Kolinsky Marten, as they can release a perfect amount of color. Specifically, they prefer the 204 series, characterized precisely by the natural Kolinsky Marten yarn.