I’d like to thank everyone for their interest in the Urushi Pearl Project, the first LE project between Edison and Hakumin Urushi Kobo. The project was a huge success and we have decided that we are going to continue this cooperative effort.
In fact, we are currently in the process of planning our next LE! We have decided that this next edition will be done on the Herald and we have some good ideas for the technique, which will be something different from the Pearl LE. While we are keeping the specific technique under wraps for now, we will say that the color scheme will be in the cooler side of the spectrum this time and that we will be using rhodium trim.
However, we are stuck on deciding one thing. Clip or no clip? A clip would add convenience and stop a pen from rolling away. Going clipless would emphasize an unbroken surface of the lacquer and show off the purity of the design. Which do we choose? Either way would be beautiful, and it ends up all being a matter of personal preference.
And so we have decided, who better to decide than those who will be owning them?
We have started a poll over at the Fountain Pen Network to put this up for a vote among our clients.
First, I am pleased to announce that Ernest and I will be teaming up and sharing a table at the DC Pen Show this weekend.
Our teaming up will truly make for a phenomenal custom pen opportunity.
If the customer wishes, a custom order for any Edison Pen can be placed, with Ernest working his urushi magic on said pen. Or we can work with the customer to create a completely new design.
This means that the possibilities are endless. Any Edison Pen or any custom Edison creation can be comissioned. Then the customer can discuss lacquer techniques with Ernest to customize a wonderful traditional Japanese lacquer finish.
This certainly represents something awfully unique in the pen world.
Second, TheUrushi Pearls are Finished!
Please see the pics below…they certainly speak for themselves!
I will have more completed photos up on the Urushi Peal Page later, as I’m busy getting ready for the DC Pen Show.
This has been a fantastic project. Ernest and I are already making plans for the next Limited Edition. If you want to subscribe to my blog (upper-right-hand corner of this page), you will be automatically updated when we are starting the next series, and taking orders.
So I hope to see lots of you at the DC Pen Show. If you are on the fence about attending, remember that this is the biggest and best show in the US if not the world!
The Edison Pen Company is proud to announce a collaborative project with Ernest Shin, of Hakumin Urushi Kobo.
Most of you know enough about the Edison Pen Company. Here’s an introduction to Hakumin Urushi….
Hakumin Urushi, run by Ernest Shin, is a US-based studio devoted to working with the Japanese tradition of lacquerware and exposing it within the United States as well as the western world. Although Urushi is not unknown outside of Japan, many have only been exposed to a relatively small range of what is possible when using lacquer. While these techniques including the famed Maki-e are certainly praiseworthy works of art, they only touch on a small fraction of everything that is Urushi.
Japanese lacquerware (or Urushi, as it is also known by its Japanese name) has a history spanning over several millennia. Over that time, lacquer production has reached a level of complexity that is rarely seen in the world of arts and crafts. Between the versatility of the lacquer itself and ingenuity of the craftsman, there have developed hundreds of different techniques to create exquisite works of art from the perfectly polished deep black so closely associated with Urushi, to meticulous paintings with sprinkled gold and silver, to the exquisite patterns created as much through the whim of chance as the mastery of the craftsman.
Urushi works particularly well with fountain pens because of it’s closeness to the user. As much as it is beautiful in its appearance, a piece of lacquerware is meant to be touched–to be physically experienced. Urushi has always been used for utilitarian goods in Japan, and specifically for those that are meant to be picked up or held in the hand–small soup bowls, inro and tea caddies to name only a few. It only makes sense that something as close to the user as a writing instrument be finished with lacquer.
So what is the collaboration with Edison and Hakumin Urushi?
Edison and Hakumin Urushi will create a Tsugaru-nuri version of the Pearl. This will be a limited edition. The plan is for ten pens, but if demand is high enough, this may be increased to a limited edition of twenty.
Tsugaru-nuri is one of the regional forms of lacquerware produced in Japan and is named for Tsugaru, Aomori Prefecture in Japan. The range of techniques uniquely derives its patterns using serendipitous means. A textured surface is created through the use of various materials such as seeds or burnt rice husks, or mixtures of various substances with Urushi, such as egg whites or tofu. This layer is then lacquered over with contrasting colors and after curing, the whole piece is then sanded smooth finally revealing the distinctive patterns of Tsugaru-nuri.
The particular technique to be used for these pens is called Karanuri, one of several techniques considered Tsugaru-nuri. After the meticulous application of the first layers of lacquer, the same used for standard unadorned Urushi pieces, an uneven layer of lacquer is applied using a mixture of urushi and egg whites, a sticky, gel-like mixture that resists running and dripping prior to curing. The mixture is carefully applied ensuring that the texture is pronounced enough to create the desired patterns while not too thick to avoid the wrinkles typically caused by curing an overly thick layer of lacquer.
After a slow and extensive curing process, the uneven layer covered over with multiple layers in contrasting colors, in this case, 23 karat gold powder and translucent Urushi. Once these layers are fully cured the piece is sanded smooth, just enough to reveal the intricate patterns of Karanuri. Afterwards, the piece is finally polished meticulously to bring the surface to the deep shine so distinctive of Urushi.