The Nakaya Pen Event was an absolute success! Close to 100 fountain pen aficionados visited the Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery to see Nakaya’s lead designer and nib meister Yoshida-San at work. The online pen community from the BeNeLux and far beyond was well-represented, and our store quickly turned into a cozy and fun meeting of like-minded souls that all speak the same language: nibs, nib-meistering, urushi, inkflow, lettering, Tomoe River, … Full of wonder and respectfully, we gazed at Yoshida-San swift and accurately tuning a nib or creating a crisp stub with extra ink flow.
Shinichi Yoshida was born in 1964 in the city of Hiroshima, and worked for Platinum Co. from 1991 until 1998. On request from Mr. Nakata, he joined the Nakaya company shortly after. He is one of the most important employees within the company, designing the pens and coming up with new artwork designs for Wajima craftsmen to create. On top of that, Yoshida-San ensures that every Nakaya nib leaves the factory in absolute perfect writing condition.
Yoshida-San is a praised nib meister, a profession that leaves many fountain pen enthusiasts in awe. With incredible sleight of hand and certainty (mastered through decades of experience), he makes each nib dance across his small grinding stones: left, right, up, down, and figures of eight. The final result is meticulously checked with his loupe and adjusted where needed. The benefit of the Nakaya Event is that each customer (and even long-time Nakaya owners) can have their pen’s nib changed in real-time. Yoshida-san carefully observes the writing style of the owner and the performance of the nib. Only when the nib meister is happy, the new pen can join its owner on its adventure!
Mrs. Yoshiko Kato, kind as ever, translates where necessary and keeps a close eye on the paperwork. Kato-san handled all nib or pen requests calm and diligently, and helped with translating these questions between the customers and Yoshida-san.
Of course, Mrs. Kato and Mr. Yoshida didn’t travel alone. They brought a large selection of Nakaya fountain pens along for the customers to gaze at, try, and purchase. The ‘standard’ line of Tamenuri and Roiro urushi lacquer pens was well-represented, and they even brought a unique, show-exclusive product: the Ryogiri. The body of the Ryogiri is the base model of the widely popular Dorsal Fin but does not have the distinct fin-shaped structure made from many layers of urushi lacquer. It is a beautiful pen, and something well-worth traveling to a nearby Nakaya event – because this pen can not be ordered!
Among the decorated Maki-E and Raden fountain pens, you could find a couple of highly exclusive gems, such as the Gunyu-Zu, in a remarkably elaborate Chinkin finish. The imagery is based on two paintings by Jakuchu Ito, a renowned artist from the early 18th century. A giant octopus dominates the scene in the middle of the pen. Many colorful sea creatures surround it. The Chinkin technique is elevated to a new level by the independent artist that created this pen. It’s refined and delicate and shows incredible amounts of texture on a closer look. Gold and silver dust are combined with colorful lacquers to create an intricate interplay not often seen in Chinkin techniques. This pen is an absolute work of art. Only one piece currently exists, but it can be ordered on special demand.
The Kawasemi (Kingfisher) Maki-e is depicted in M-A-R-V-E-L-L-O-U-S colors under an arch of Momiji autumn leaves. A small fish swims across the grip section of the pen, staying out of sight from the all-seeing eye of the Kingfisher bird. A quirky and fun detail that brings extra value to the spectacular.
Other pens that impressed:
‘Scary Eye’ and ‘White Rose’
Shu Nurippanashi exists of a black (Kuro) urushi base layer, on which only two top layers of red (Shu) coatings are painted. The black base color is slightly visible. It creates a finish that resembles Negoro-Nuri lacquerware. The Shu top coat is not polished (Nurippanashi) to give a subtle satin finish. It’s feasible that with heavy use, the red topcoat will wear slightly, revealing some parts of the black base creating a genuine ‘Wabi-Sabi’ product, unique to the user. Negoro Nuri is a lacquer technique from the 14th century, and artifacts made from this technique are highly coveted amongst collectors.
Bamboo by silver powder
My Dream Team, Marleen, Anny, Silke, and Jitse made sure that all customers were treated with delicious soup, appetizers, sparkling wine, homemade lemonade, coffee, tea, and of course, biscuits and chocolates from the best Pattisier in Diest! Dries from The Pencilcase Blog (www.pencilcaseblog.com) and Kathy kept the event going smoothly with their expert advice and helping hand to aid customers in finding their beautiful, next pen!
After the event, Yoshida-san helped in drawing a lucky winner of the beautiful Ladon pen case. This black wooden collector’s case with leather-covered lid went home with A. Ludicello from Tongerlo! Congratulations!
My sincere thank you goes out to Nakaya, Mr. Yoshida, Mrs. Kato, all customers who visited, the Dream Team of SFPG helpers, and all other supporters! No event would be possible without all these people. THANK YOU, Catherine
Kathy, Catherine, Marleen
Janine Tholen-Florijn came all the way from Rotterdam for the 22 participants in this special event. She brought with her a personal “guiding sheet” that she had painstakingly prepared, and everybody could ask questions about the techniques involved in creating special fonts. Lettering is mostly about making (or remaking) nice letters using a particular script. This is not conventional calligraphy, but rather a technique that involves writing slowly, carefully and, above all, beautifully. Sounds easy, I hear you say? Check out one of Janine’s tutorials and see for yourself!
Janine also had a range of fountain pens that quickly became the centre of attention. After all, the fountain pen is the ideal instrument for all kinds of beautiful writing. But not just any fountain pen, preferably one that fits snugly in your hand with a nib that suits your writing style. The workshop was also an opportunity to get to know some other brands - and TWSBI was the showstopper! :o)
The participants were given an opportunity to try out Robert Oster’s range of fountain pen inks, and everyone very much enjoyed using them.
The lettering workshop was a real success, and the unanimous verdict was that we should have another one. Thank you, Janine, for your contagious enthusiasm.
We would like to thank all the participants and students who took part in this workshop. It was a real pleasure working with you! We seem to speak the same language! We’re really looking forward to the next event.
The first INK ART EVENT has come and gone. And there’s so much to say about it ! It was exciting, surprising and especially great fun. A big thanks to Nick Stewart and Janine Tholen-Florijn for sharing their passion with us.
On the day of the event, Nick Stewart, artist & art director, gave no fewer than 22 students a great opportunity to experiment with all sorts of ink and bleach. Of course, everybody was initially a little awkward and uncomfortable. I suppose that’s normal when you get people to come along to an ink workshop! But the ice was quickly broken, by which time Nick had them eating out of his hand :o)
Nick had prepared 4 tasks. The first was to observe the chromatography of black ink when it is put on wet paper. The students were then asked to apply the still semi-wet black ink motifs with a mixture of 50% bleach and 50% water. A nib is useful when it comes to creating patterns or drawings in black ink. It was also a great idea to use a little brush to drip or sprinkle the bleach mixture.
In task 2 the students were asked to put two ink colours on a wet surface and to combine that with task 1. The colour was changed by mixing and developing the chromatography of the two colours and adding a little bleach. As a result, some of the brown ink changed to green and the purple ink was transmuted into bright blue.
Paper was very much the focus of task 3. The heavier the paper, the more intense the chromatography. Nick brought to the event a stack of beautiful Bockingford watercolour paper from St Cuthberts Mill in the UK. The brown “Noodler’s Rome Burning” evolved from brown to a soft yellow hue and then to lilac-pink-rosé. After drying, an illustration or text was applied with the original ink using a nib or a paintbrush.
The final task was in many ways the most spectacular : the blending of different metallic sheen inks using an automatic pen. An automatic pen is simply a holder with a special metal tip that can be narrow or wide and holds ink like a calligraphy pen. Using Herbin Amethyste de l’Oural, Caroube de Chypre and Emeraude de Chivor, the students mixed and transfused the colours with thick and thin strips. Then, with a few spatters of bleach the colours were transformed to produce special effects. The ultimate result after drying was a magnificent riot of base colours, mixed colours, gloss and glitter and - the final touch - the bleach effect.
In just two hours, Nick had the students participating in a very exciting adventure in which there was something for everyone. Ink has incredible potential, a virgin territory with an almost infinite range of creative possibilities. And ink is relatively cheap. Also, you don’t need much to create an effect. All you need to make a really stunning work of art is GOOD paper, some bleach and a few tools. So thank you, Nick, for sharing all that with us.
September 23th will be our D-DAY ! Our INK-day. Our INK-ART-DAY. Fountain pen ink is more then just some ink. Come and find out what we are talking about. It will be a fantastic day !