Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

  1. #1
    Member Turquoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 48 Times in 28 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Iíve become interested in urushi as a craft, and that has led me to the idea of buying an urushi pen. Which has also led to an interest in maki-e since the two often go hand in hand.

    As a Japanese craft, it makes sense that most contemporary urushi/maki-e pens are made in Japan, though I know other artisans in other parts of the world have begun learning and creating their own pens.

    In terms of urushi, I am particularly attracted to the midori tamenuri finish. I also really enjoy raden and would love to find a fountain pen that employed rankaku (eggshell) as part of the finish.

    For those who know more about this craft, which brands/models would you recommend as the most reliably consistent to the art form? Which might you avoid?

    And, would you recommend going for an entry level pen or saving up for a more expensive one, given that itís likely when you get one youíll want more? ;-)

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Turquoise; May 12th, 2021 at 07:51 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Deep South Texas
    Posts
    3,957
    Thanks
    411
    Thanked 3,615 Times in 1,569 Posts
    Rep Power
    15

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    In terms of brands I tend to rank them as follows.

    Asian:
    The Platinum family; Izumo or Nakaya
    Danitrio
    Sailor
    Pilot/Namiki

    But also look to Europe:
    Dunhill
    ST Dupont
    Caran D'Ache
    Pelikan
    Aurora

    Entry level examples can actually be prettier and brighter than many more expensive ones and so quite enjoyable as users.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to jar For This Useful Post:

    rkesey (June 30th, 2021), Turquoise (May 13th, 2021), Yazeh (May 13th, 2021)

  4. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    759
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 383 Times in 148 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    I quite agree with Jar, although personally I would rank Namiki second in the Asian group, ahead of Danitrio and Sailor.

    Turquoise, Midori Tamenuri is one of my favorite finishes, too. Pictures below are pieces from my collection. Likely that when you get one you'll want more? I guess that's right. I bought a Nakaya some years ago and now I have around 100!





  5. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to whichwatch For This Useful Post:

    amk (May 18th, 2021), BayesianPrior (May 13th, 2021), mizgeorge (July 1st, 2021), rkesey (June 30th, 2021), Turquoise (May 13th, 2021), Yazeh (May 13th, 2021)

  6. #4
    Senior Member Wile E Coyote's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    18SWK7534504853
    Posts
    836
    Thanks
    172
    Thanked 541 Times in 327 Posts
    Rep Power
    12

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by whichwatch View Post

    Turquoise, Midori Tamenuri is one of my favorite finishes, too. Pictures below are pieces from my collection. Likely that when you get one you'll want more? I guess that's right. I bought a Nakaya some years ago and now I have around 100!

  7. #5
    Member Turquoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 48 Times in 28 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    OMG, thank you for showing that beautiful lineup of midori tamenuri pens! Itís wonderful to see a group of them ó the online ďsalesĒ photos really donít do them justice. What is the last pen on the right?

  8. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    759
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 383 Times in 148 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by Turquoise View Post
    What is the last pen on the right?
    Nakaya Long Piccolo String Rolled Midori Tamenuri

  9. The Following User Says Thank You to whichwatch For This Useful Post:

    Turquoise (May 13th, 2021)

  10. #7
    Member Turquoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 48 Times in 28 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Thanks for the feedback! Your pens are really lovely to look at! I have noticed that some of the entry level pens feature brighter colors.

    I have heard that most entry level (e.g., less expensive, less complicated designs) have the design screen printed rather than hand-painted. Have also heard disparaging comments about that process, but I donít see that it is a detriment. Seems like there would still be hand painting, however, and that the print is just a means of transferring the design?

  11. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    759
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 383 Times in 148 Posts
    Rep Power
    8

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    I am not an expert in the process of screen printing.

    Having made that disclaimer, to the best of my understanding, true maki-e pens are individually hand done one at a time, and each one contains minor (or major) variations from all others. The lower priced pens with the Asian designs that are screen printed do have some hand work. A screen stencil is made that probably does involve hand painting of the design. But then this same design is applied to many pens in an automated fashion by which each pen is identical.
    .

    The prices reflect the differences in the amount of manual work and to a great degree you get what you pay for. Neither is especially right or wrong. Both methods have their fans. Problems occur when dishonest sellers try to pass off the screen printed versions as "true maki-e" or full equivalents to the higher priced products.

    Again, I am not an expert in screen printing. If any of the above is wrong, I hope someone will correct me.

  12. #9
    Member Turquoise's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    27
    Thanked 48 Times in 28 Posts
    Rep Power
    1

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Anyone have experience with Wancherís Dream Pen with urushi finish? Iíve seen generally favorable reviews for the craftsmanship, but would appreciate first-hand experience.

  13. #10
    Senior Member jar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Deep South Texas
    Posts
    3,957
    Thanks
    411
    Thanked 3,615 Times in 1,569 Posts
    Rep Power
    15

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    There are several basic methods.

    Starting with screen printing. In a screen print process each color is applied using a separate screen and it is necessary to precisely register each screening to place the design properly. There can be as many as five to seven different screens used to make the base design. Then final details are placed upon the very top layer by hand. The advantage is the limited manual labor required and the fact that dozens or hundreds or thousands of the pens can be produced.

    Next are studio pens. In the Studio pens everything is done by hand but not by one individual; instead a studio will have people that concentrate on one facet of the design and the pen will move from artist to artist in a production line. It's far slower than the automated screen process above but can still produce hundreds of very similar pens. Often studio pens will be signed but with the name or chop of the studio rather than a master.

    Finally there is the sole artist works, by far the most labor intensive and most expensive since the number of examples will usually be in the range of dozens or even just one single creation. These will be the most expensive and smallest number produced.
    Last edited by jar; May 14th, 2021 at 06:54 AM.

  14. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to jar For This Useful Post:

    Scribbler (May 13th, 2021), Turquoise (May 14th, 2021)

  15. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Posts
    63
    Thanks
    23
    Thanked 50 Times in 26 Posts
    Rep Power
    2

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    You can also request some studios in Japan/artists in US/Europe to finish a pen to your specifications. This is a list of people that will take commissions that I complied a while back: https://fpgeeks.com/forum/showthread...985#post303985

    <didn't read your initial post properly but I ll leave it here> As for combining a midori tamenuri finish with raden.... I suspect Bokumondoh could make something with her pre-made designs since she does aka and blue(ao like) tamenuri. Likewise... Nakaya would be able to do something for you like the rose of sharon model, or you can look to other artists. Namiki/Sailor/Platinum will not custom orders: out of the large name brands only Nakaya and Danitrio? will take customs. You could also contact Stylo-art and see if they would be willing to put together something for you.

    I have heard of some cheaper mass produced models that wear more quickly and do not retain their finish though I am not sure of the report's credibility. Perhaps those you should avoid... you can search the forum and elsewhere for examples. Most of the name brands should be fine however?

    1. if you want something somewhat custom:
    - going to Nakaya and asking them for exactly what you want is the way to go. Stylo-art/Danitrio could be similar but I cannot say anything with certainty since I have not worked with them as much. This will be far less work than options 2.

    2. if you want to go find something truly custom from pen size to nib then
    - I recommend going to a pen maker Edison, Newton, Carolina etc.. commissioning something out of ebonite then going to a artist and get what you want that way.

    2. Anything pre-made ... any of the companies Jar mentioned should be good and possibly others.

    If you want "consistency" as in mechanical precision and similarity then the print-screen would be the way to go. Other than that every piece is usually hand finished/crafted and there will be variations. For example, every tamenuri batches from the same company will differ slightly. That being said the artistic value and the beauty... I would argue differ for everyone and trying something and looking for it yourself is the best way to get a firm grasp on what you want. I have spent hours online looking at photos but it does not not compare to holding the real thing and writing with it.

    Edit: As for wancher, the one time I trialed one (for <10 mins) I had a positive experience. It wrote nicely, and the urushi felt ... like urushi. However, I did notice that at the edge of the pen there seem to be less layers? coats? than what I am used to, and that some of the underlying material was semi-visible at one of the sharp edges. Perhaps it was a exception, I never found out.
    Last edited by sworist; May 17th, 2021 at 04:50 PM.
    -NK

    u/sworist

  16. #12
    Senior Member guyy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Brooklyn NY
    Posts
    773
    Thanks
    374
    Thanked 593 Times in 340 Posts
    Rep Power
    5

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Are there any maki-e pens without a section step?

  17. #13
    Senior Member jar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Deep South Texas
    Posts
    3,957
    Thanks
    411
    Thanked 3,615 Times in 1,569 Posts
    Rep Power
    15

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    Are there any maki-e pens without a section step?
    Some older slip cap examples are around. Note the second from the top and the bottom examples.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to jar For This Useful Post:

    guyy (May 21st, 2021)

  19. #14
    Senior Member Lloyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    349
    Thanks
    414
    Thanked 140 Times in 83 Posts
    Rep Power
    10

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by guyy View Post
    Are there any maki-e pens without a section step?
    I believe several Danitrio models like the Densho.

    Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
    M: I came here for a good argument.
    A: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.
    M: An argument isn't just contradiction.
    A: It can be.
    M: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    A: No it isn't.
    M: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
    A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
    M: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
    A: Yes it is!
    M: No it isn't!

  20. The Following User Says Thank You to Lloyd For This Useful Post:

    guyy (May 21st, 2021)

  21. #15
    Senior Member Lloyd's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    349
    Thanks
    414
    Thanked 140 Times in 83 Posts
    Rep Power
    10

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Another idea is to get a pen, custom or not, that you like and send it to somewhere like Bokomundoh (https://www.bokumondoh.com/)

    Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
    M: I came here for a good argument.
    A: No you didn't; no, you came here for an argument.
    M: An argument isn't just contradiction.
    A: It can be.
    M: No it can't. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    A: No it isn't.
    M: Yes it is! It's not just contradiction.
    A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position.
    M: Yes, but that's not just saying 'No it isn't.'
    A: Yes it is!
    M: No it isn't!

  22. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    35
    Thanks
    37
    Thanked 27 Times in 14 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Jar, that's a great picture of five lovely pens... and my eyes widened at one of them! Five or six years ago I bought a Sailor 1911L maki-e pen, a single flower on the barrel, with a 21k music nib, from a shop-owner who couldn't tell me much of anything about it. I love the pen but it's always driven me a little crazy to know so little about its provenance. From time to time I'll google around, and never find anything similar. But yours looks very much like it! I'm wondering if you'd be able to tell me anything about mine. I'm guessing it's from the mid-80s, but that's just a hunch; I'm fairly sure it's silkscreen maki-e, maybe with urushi added by hand at the end. I've included pictures below, including one of the chop. I'd be grateful for any information you might have.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #17
    Senior Member jar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Deep South Texas
    Posts
    3,957
    Thanks
    411
    Thanked 3,615 Times in 1,569 Posts
    Rep Power
    15

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by rkesey View Post
    Jar, that's a great picture of five lovely pens... and my eyes widened at one of them! Five or six years ago I bought a Sailor 1911L maki-e pen, a single flower on the barrel, with a 21k music nib, from a shop-owner who couldn't tell me much of anything about it. I love the pen but it's always driven me a little crazy to know so little about its provenance. From time to time I'll google around, and never find anything similar. But yours looks very much like it! I'm wondering if you'd be able to tell me anything about mine. I'm guessing it's from the mid-80s, but that's just a hunch; I'm fairly sure it's silkscreen maki-e, maybe with urushi added by hand at the end. I've included pictures below, including one of the chop. I'd be grateful for any information you might have.
    That appears to be a studio chop. The studio pens are described in message #10.

    Next are studio pens. In the Studio pens everything is done by hand but not by one individual; instead a studio will have people that concentrate on one facet of the design and the pen will move from artist to artist in a production line. It's far slower than the automated screen process above but can still produce hundreds of very similar pens. Often studio pens will be signed but with the name or chop of the studio rather than a master.
    The studio chop can be a combination of the studio name and the principal artist.

    The studio system was much like the apprentice system in other crafts. Younger craftsmen who have not yet reached the master level learn their craft in the studios and the exceptional ones go on to become masters.

  24. The Following User Says Thank You to jar For This Useful Post:

    Lloyd (July 1st, 2021)

  25. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    35
    Thanks
    37
    Thanked 27 Times in 14 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Thanks so much! Fascinating, truly. A final question--is there a database of studio chops anywhere that might help me figure out which studio it came from, and roughly when?

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post

    That appears to be a studio chop. The studio pens are described in message #10.

    Next are studio pens. In the Studio pens everything is done by hand but not by one individual; instead a studio will have people that concentrate on one facet of the design and the pen will move from artist to artist in a production line. It's far slower than the automated screen process above but can still produce hundreds of very similar pens. Often studio pens will be signed but with the name or chop of the studio rather than a master.
    The studio chop can be a combination of the studio name and the principal artist. The studio system was much like the apprentice system in other crafts. Younger craftsmen who have not yet reached the master level learn their craft in the studios and the exceptional ones go on to become masters.

  26. #19
    Senior Member jar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Deep South Texas
    Posts
    3,957
    Thanks
    411
    Thanked 3,615 Times in 1,569 Posts
    Rep Power
    15

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by rkesey View Post
    Thanks so much! Fascinating, truly. A final question--is there a database of studio chops anywhere that might help me figure out which studio it came from, and roughly when?

    Quote Originally Posted by jar View Post

    That appears to be a studio chop. The studio pens are described in message #10.

    Next are studio pens. In the Studio pens everything is done by hand but not by one individual; instead a studio will have people that concentrate on one facet of the design and the pen will move from artist to artist in a production line. It's far slower than the automated screen process above but can still produce hundreds of very similar pens. Often studio pens will be signed but with the name or chop of the studio rather than a master.
    The studio chop can be a combination of the studio name and the principal artist. The studio system was much like the apprentice system in other crafts. Younger craftsmen who have not yet reached the master level learn their craft in the studios and the exceptional ones go on to become masters.
    Not that I'm aware of it but Sailor in particular hired quite a few (and I believe is still doing so) young craftsmen.

  27. The Following User Says Thank You to jar For This Useful Post:

    rkesey (July 1st, 2021)

  28. #20
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Posts
    64
    Thanks
    2
    Thanked 25 Times in 17 Posts
    Rep Power
    2

    Default Re: Urushi and Maki-e recommendations

    I just posted my first Urushi pen acquisition in the Italian Pens forum. Although those pens are now gone, I believe the team behind mine has a few more in the works. Check out Tamenuri Studios (and my post), if you're interested.

    -scot

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •