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Pilot "cheap" Maki-E: What Amount Of Manual Work Is In There?

pilot namiki maki-e hiramakie

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18 replies to this topic

#1 TassoBarbasso

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 09:41

Hi Guys,

 

I've recently bought a Pilot with narcissus decoration in hiramaki-e (One of these) and I find it to be very beautiful. I'm aware that there's a debate as to whether hiramaki-e is a "real" maki-e (whatever that may mean), or just a cheap form. What I would like to know is, what are exactly the manual steps involved in the making of these Pilot pens?

 

My understanding (based on this article from the Encyclopaedia Britannica) is that it's actually a mostly manual work: "The pattern is first outlined on a sheet of paper with brush and ink. It is then traced on the reverse side of the paper with a mixture of heated wet lacquer and (usually red) pigment. The artist transfers the pattern directly to the desired surface by rubbing with the fingertips, a process called okime." Frankly speaking, to me this looks like a purely manual work, not something "industrial", as I sometimes read online.

 

If the procedure followed by Pilot was exactly this, for me this would be more than enough to consider this as a little piece of art, even if it's not as sophisticated as other maki-e tecniques. But I have my doubts that Pilot actually follows this procedure. Hiramaki-e implies manual drawing, then transferred on the pen body, but the pen I have has really neat and precise lines, which I don't believe can be achieved with manual drawing. 

 

Any ideas?

 

best,
Fabio



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#2 Algester

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 10:44

its silk screen printed I doubt you can buy a traditional maki-e with that price and is not part of the namiki more signature series... which should no look different than a danitrio

#3 TassoBarbasso

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 10:48

yes but what does "silk screen printed" mean, in practice? :)



#4 Algester

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 11:55

it is what it is using the silk screen method for mass production in short you can say its "authentic" but it just evokes the feel of maki-e

Edited by Algester, 24 June 2015 - 11:56.


#5 Pickwick

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 13:20

yes but what does "silk screen printed" mean, in practice? :)

A simple explanation for silk screening, is a frame with a piece of silk stretched over it. A stencil is made of the subject to be printed and adhered to the underside and place onto the object to be printed. Ink is put on the top of the silk frame, and a squeegee board forces the ink through the stencil and prints.


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#6 delano

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 13:34

A simple explanation for silk screening, is a frame with a piece of silk stretched over it. A stencil is made of the subject to be printed and adhered to the underside and place onto the object to be printed. Ink is put on the top of the silk frame, and a squeegee board forces the ink through the stencil and prints.

 

 

 

Multi-colored screen printing, like the Maki-e, require several passes each in its own color; but only after the previous color dries completely.  It can be a long process if done by hand -- no idea if run through a blower.



#7 TassoBarbasso

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 15:16

Thank you all for your thoughts. Sounds like an interesting process anyway. I wonder why so much despise for these types of decoration.



#8 tenney

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Posted 24 June 2015 - 20:16

Nowadays there are many ways to multi-color print onto cylindrical objects. Personally I hate people selling these printed pens and calling them makie whether they are or are not some form of makie.
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#9 Drawing61

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 00:37

The pen is very attractive and you paid a reasonable price. Pilot makes good nibs at all price levels. You will love the way it writes. Enjoy.


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#10 Algester

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 03:13

Nowadays there are many ways to multi-color print onto cylindrical objects. Personally I hate people selling these printed pens and calling them makie whether they are or are not some form of makie.

because it is still a modern maki-e technique... do take note a lot of crafts in japan are dying with no new blood to refill them...

#11 TassoBarbasso

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 11:01

The main question I'm asking myself would be: is the body of the pen coated with Urushi, and then print-painted? Or is the print applied striaght on the plastic? It would seem that there's an Urushi coating because the inner of the cap is covered with a soft material to prevent scratches, and I don't see why it should be so, since the cap doesn't reach the decoration anyway; but somewhere else I've read that these are just printed straight on plastic, with no urushi coating. Any ideas?



#12 Pickwick

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 13:37

Thank you all for your thoughts. Sounds like an interesting process anyway. I wonder why so much despise for these types of decoration.

It means the process can be repeatedly reproduced, so each piece of work will have no variation. Depending on the type of ink used and material the process is applied to, it may not stand up to too much handling. Especially a fountain pen. I guess it all depends on the layers of lacquer used at the finish.


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Sincerely yours,

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#13 TassoBarbasso

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 14:00

It means the process can be repeatedly reproduced, so each piece of work will have no variation. Depending on the type of ink used and material the process is applied to, it may not stand up to too much handling. Especially a fountain pen. I guess it all depends on the layers of lacquer used at the finish.

Yeah I imagine that, it doesn't seem to be a very strong finish, indeed. 



#14 Algester

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Posted 25 June 2015 - 14:29

its straight on plastic and then is lacquer coated but not necessarily Urushi

#15 tenney

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 03:56

All of this is why very nice makie done all by hand over weeks and months does cost so much... and is beautiful pieces of art.
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Glenn (love those pen posses)

#16 Algester

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 05:00

not to mention curing of Urushi for use takes months as well...

#17 Alex2014

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Posted 26 June 2015 - 06:46

It is not a Modern Maki-e - screen made (usually cca 100$), but rather a hira maki-e, somehow more expensive (cca 350 $). It could be supposed that the materials are higher quality and even the handmade work is a bit more laborious. I have some Namiki togidashi hira makie FP's (cca 1000$) that seem to me more attractive than other ones more expensive. Therefore, I chose such pens according to my eye, not to the technologies. It is to be supposed that some expensive FPs from the series Yukari, Yukari Royal and Emperor are 'more" handmade. Namiki maki-e art is fine, anyway, and more beautiful than many other manufacturers. 



#18 tenney

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 07:38

Some of the slightly more expensive than $100 pens take a standard "cheap" screen printed design and then hand-place small bits of shells, or gold leaf, etc. That seems to double the price because it's now "individually hand made".
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Glenn (love those pen posses)

#19 El Gordo

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Posted 29 June 2015 - 08:23

Hi Guys,

 

I've recently bought a Pilot with narcissus decoration in hiramaki-e (One of these) and I find it to be very beautiful. I'm aware that there's a debate as to whether hiramaki-e is a "real" maki-e (whatever that may mean), or just a cheap form. What I would like to know is, what are exactly the manual steps involved in the making of these Pilot pens?

 

My understanding (based on this article from the Encyclopaedia Britannica) is that it's actually a mostly manual work: "The pattern is first outlined on a sheet of paper with brush and ink. It is then traced on the reverse side of the paper with a mixture of heated wet lacquer and (usually red) pigment. The artist transfers the pattern directly to the desired surface by rubbing with the fingertips, a process called okime." Frankly speaking, to me this looks like a purely manual work, not something "industrial", as I sometimes read online.

 

If the procedure followed by Pilot was exactly this, for me this would be more than enough to consider this as a little piece of art, even if it's not as sophisticated as other maki-e tecniques. But I have my doubts that Pilot actually follows this procedure. Hiramaki-e implies manual drawing, then transferred on the pen body, but the pen I have has really neat and precise lines, which I don't believe can be achieved with manual drawing. 

 

Any ideas?

 

best,
Fabio

Maybe have a look with a magnifier glass, some of the elements could be (or at least look as)  decals as well (appears to be on other brands)


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: pilot, namiki, maki-e, hiramakie



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