Urushi pens are very much in vogue at the moment and there are more than a few artists using this as an excuse to move in a new direction and experiment. Some people like this, some people scream ‘cultural appropriation’, however what happens when a westerner has spent 20 years in Japan studying and working with this lacquer? Enter Ruth Bolton.Continue reading
Flagship of the Pilot fountain pen range and a comparative behemoth in size, the Custom Urushi has shown that simplicity and cleanliness of design can be as appealing as complicated art works. Available primarily in black, it is also made in smaller numbers with a vermilion finish to the cap and barrel. For a long time it was only available in Japan and the USA, however as of recent it can now be bought from an increasing number of European and UK based retailers. Continue reading
I’m far from alone in liking maki-e and appreciating the skills and processes that go in to the creation of this form of art. As with many I often thought that my only options would be the ‘cheap’ commercial screen print pens, which are approximately £100 a pop, as the far more attractive alternatives I saw were all high end in the four figure price range and with releases been limited to single digit numbers of pens. Discovering the Namiki Nippon Art range was a revelation. Sure these pens are still £400+ outside of rare deals, but they are also much more affordable for a hand drawn piece of work.
Just to warn/advise, these are my personal views on Kickstarter, and the pens I’ve either bought through it, or have come about as a result of previous campaigns.
First, for those not aware. Kickstarter is not a shop. It is just a venture capital raising platform, which rapidly changed from campaigns promising financial returns to discounted end products instead. This can be beneficial to us, with some decent savings, but there is also the element of risk as campaigns may run late or even fail. With the latter any investment/payment is lost.
On the 25th of January 2018, Wancher launched the Kickstarter project ‘The Dream Pen‘, with three options, True Ebonite, True Urushi, and True Maki-E. The launch was accompanied by a series of very positive reviews by various bloggers and vbloggers, resulting in a heavy subscription, including from yours truly (I blame you Figboot). A year and a bit later mine arrived and has been used for the last three weeks.