Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Featured Pen - Hakumin Koboku Shiage

My most recent acquisition is a Hakumin Koboku Shiage on an Edision Pearl.  Now what does all of this mean?

From the Hakumin Urushi Kobo website

Brian at Edison Pens formed a collaboration  with Ernest Shinn of Hakumin Urushi Kobo to produce several limited edition Urushi pens. I had the good fortune to see a number of Ernest's beautiful pens at the NYC Pen Show in 2010. But at that time I was not in the position to acquire one of these beauties. So I watched and waited and drooled over the pens on Ernest's website.

You really need to take some time to explore the website.  He has applied his beautiful work to a number of Edision models, but in addition he has applied his talents to a number of well known and recognizable pen models from Parker 51 to Sheaffer Touchdown and Snorkel.

From the Hakumin Urushi Kobo website: 
Koboku Shiage, also known as Sumiko Shiage, uses charcoal powder along with urushi to create a matte finish reminiscent of the texture and color of the traditional molded inksticks known as sumi or koboku.
The website also provides a wonderful explanation of what Urushi is:

Urushi is to many, a miraculous substance. It is the sap from the lacquer tree, Toxicodendron vernicifluum, a plant closely related to poison ivy, and as such, considerably toxic. As with its better known cousins, the poison ivies, oaks and sumacs, contact with the tree can cause an unbearable affliction of rashes and blisters. Yet somehow, in some ancient time, someone realized that this liquid—the life-blood of this wondrous tree—holds a hidden potential.
Urushi, as it has come to be known by its Japanese name, naturally cures through a process of oxidation and polymerization into a material with remarkable properties for a natural substance. Once hardened, urushi forms a tough and scratch resistant surface impervious to water, alcohol, minor heat, acids and bases. Because of these properties, as well as its characteristics in application, urushi has an incredible versatility in use from architectural elements and utilitarian wares to fine arts and crafts renown for their beauty and intricacy.
With proper care and skill, urushi creates a wonderful luster that, when combined with countless different decorative techniques, can create objects that are as functional as they are beautiful. Metal powders, nacre, and eggshells, or even substances such as albumen, tofu and flour can all be used in conjunction with urushi to create exquisite patterns and designs derived sometimes from the skill of intellect and craft and sometimes from the whim of chance and serendipity.
Regardless of the technique, the end results capable of urushi are nothing short of miraculous. Yet in this modern time and age, where meticulous crafts of the hand are being threatened by industrialized mass production, the use of urushi has slowly been at a decline. When once Japanware was considered at the pinnacle of the functional arts, it is now little known outside of Asia and specialized circles.

Nevertheless, the craft of using urushi has not yet died out, and there are still many discoveries to be made as craftsmen continue test new techniques and combine modern materials with ancient knowledge. And so, hopefully, the beauty of this wonderful craft will be passed on through many more generations to come.
With that, I present to you my pen.

The nib is 18k ground to an extra fine and the kanji on the section is the kanji for wolf (O-kami).  It is also a homophone for the phrase, great spirit (大神).


Molossus said...

What a beautiful pen!

Economy Pens said...

This looks exceptional. Thanks for sharing!

dowdyism said...

I haven't been taken aback by a pen in a while, but this one - wow!

Speedmaster said...

Wow, I love that!

Peninkcillin said...

Omigosh black torpedo of death! Beautiful!

Truppi said...

Truly gorgeous. Congrats on acquiring such a fine pen. The gorgeous Urushi work done by Ernest and the stellar craftsmanship of Brian's pens are a match made in heaven.

Ai Communications said...

This is a very nice nice looking pen.

Ai Communications

Yochanan said...

Nice gurth, love the matte black color, overall a fascinating looking pen!

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