The technique called maki-e uses natural lacquer urushi as an adhesive for metallic powders of a different grain and natural inorganic pigments, in order to express colour and different textures of the surface. In Japan you can find most of the maki-e artists on the Noto peninsula, Wajima city.
Traditional technique maki-e is used for a very sophisticated decoration of a huge number of objects in Japan. This technique has been developing for more than 300 years and is on the top of decorating methods in the field of natural lacquer branch of Japan and China. The artist (or craftsman) expresses a very abstract theme, where features are layers of gold, silver, black and other, or he can depict very precisely objects of daily life as well as famous sceneries.
In the beginning of 20th century maki-e artists were looking for a new object for decorative techniques. At that time they were suffering from a rapid change of social structure in Japan and consequently decreasing demand for their prime products. Another problem to solve was technique itself, which was extremely developed and decorated objects were no more objects of a daily life, they became objects of art. Artists such as Gonroku Matsuda and makers of writing instruments such as Ryosuke Namiki found then a brand new object for decorative work: the fountain pen. An object for daily life use as well as a highly collectible item.
In the country of brush writing, there were established companies producing very sophisticated designs for fountain pens with a supreme technology of the fountain pen itself… For instance we can mention Dunhill-Namiki, Sailor, Platinum-Nakaya, etc. As a consequence it must be admitted that the production is basically oriented on the western markets, selling Japanese designs favourite to western collectors, reflecting the westerner’s interpretation of Japanese culture.
While you may find big companies offering both pens embellished with genuine traditional crafts (mostly on limited editions) and pens produced in series in Japan, freelance artists are also to be found, offering a decorative work on a selected pen on order by customers. One of them is Mr. Kaoru Machikawa, who designed and produced the pieces of art presented on this page. He mostly decorates MontBlanc Meisterstück 149 and Pelikan M1000. From a technical point of view, if you are interested in his work and have intention to order the decoration of your favorite pen, we recommend to select pen with the following features:
The parts should be completely removable. If not, the clip should be removable at least.
- We do not recommend pen with a very fine thread, where the design can’t be applied on the entire length.
To those who consider this offer it is necessary to mention the price – a complex decoration similar to the Golden Pavilion shown above costs about 3,100 Euro. The price includes the design draft in three versions, design work and one way post fee. It is even possible to order the work including the purchase of the pen, but then the latter price is added up.
If you have already selected the pen, you just need to contact me using the below form. The communication with Mr. Machikawa will be provided by myself.
For those considering the pen as an original gift – as soon as the design is confirmed, the delivery time is about 2 months.
And not to be forgotten – His products are always personalized and unique.
We believe our pens will be appreciated by many collectors and people who admire the craftsmanship of Japan.