Model name: Autumn Under The Stars
Artist: Ikki Moroike
Materials: Ebonite with Maki-e decoration
Filling system: Converter & Cartridge type
Nib selection: Available in M & B 21K solid gold bicolor nib
Limited Edition: 28 pieces worldwide
“Autumn under the Stars” features the key stars of the magnificent constellations of Ursa Major and Cassiopeia plus the Polaris North Star.
Below – A Leafy Autumn Landscape
Above – Cassiopeia and Ursa Major
Beyond – The Milky Way
Autumn is beginning in the Northern Hemisphere. The constellation of Ursa Major now appears to be lumbering along the horizon and towards the East we see the classic ‘W’ formation of the constellation of Cassiopeia (The Queen) apparently climbing high into the North East of the Milky Way which bisects the Autumn early evening sky. Between the two constellations sits the North Star –Polaris , the brightest star of the neighboring constellation Ursa Minor.
Ursa Major – The most prominent feature of this constellation is the ‘Plough’, an asterism that is actually better known than the constellation itself! The plough has historically been thought of as a saucepan, a ladle, a wagon and a chariot and more recently by Americans as ‘The big Dipper’. The brightest star in the constellation of Ursa Major is called Dubhe.
Polaris –The North Star is 432 light years away and is 46 times larger than our Sun.
Cassiopeia – As legend has it this constellation was named after a vain Greek Queen. The characteristic ‘W’ formation of the major stars is clearly visible with the Milky Way in the background.
The artist, Ikki Morioike, has created his masterpiece through the autumn red hue of the maple leaves with the constellations above and a special window across the landscape to the distant stars of the Milky Way. Also shown in the design is the fruit and leaves of the Snake Gourd.
Click to enlarge
About the Collection:
Seasons Under The Stars
Human Kind has always had a fascination for the Stars and the Heavenly Constellations.
The Four Seasons have also attracted much interest in all cultures.
Maki-e artist Ikki Moroike has combined the Landscapes and Skyscapes at night to create a special Limited edition collection of Fountain pens depicting the most famous constellations visible in the night sky.
Inspiration for these night landscapes was drawn from the Japanese artistic movement
known as “Shin Hanga” or “ New Etching” which took place between 1910-1940. The most beautiful prints called “Shiki-e” ( landscape images according to the Seasons) which were adaptations of the original woodblock artwork. Some artists were particularly skilled at creating the mystery of a night atmosphere. One artist- Kawase Hasui (1883-1957) was famous for his Winter landscapes and his talent for portraying snow landscape such as his famous ‘Canal under the snow’ .
The maki-e process and techniques:
-Taka-maki-e: “Taka” means ” raised” and refers here to a relief decoration. This technique is one of the pillars of maki-e decoration developed back in the fourteenth century.
The thick lacquer “urushi-Hakushita” is mixed with gold dust resulting in “Kin-taka-maki-e”
(also less frequently using silver dust resulting in “Gin-taka-maki-e”), The mixture is thickened by the addition of powder material (eg charcoal) and is applied to the design to create a slightly raised effect. The relief is increased by layering and then is covered with translucent lacquer for finishing. The result gives a true sense of depth through the various layers of thickened lacquer. The maple leaves on the barrel are good examples of this technique.
-Shishiai-togidashi-maki-e: this complex method is most difficult, because it combines several techniques. It is mostly with a scene or landscape. This method highlights all the details of the design, and gives it depth and perspective. The artist can bring out the foreground, or details , by specially preparing the different layers of lacquer and exposing each of them by polishing togidashi (see below).
Some patterns are processed as flat designs (hira-maki-e), and others in relief (taka-maki-e) often with inclusions of semi-precious materials such as raden etc. with other maki-e techniques. This process is very time consuming mainly due to the laquer drying time between each step.
-Togidashi-maki-e: the development of a decoration by repeated polishing.
The general principle is to cover the prepared substrate (ebonite base of the pen) with several layers of black Urushi lacquer or alternatively with gold or silver paint with a base coloured maki-e lacquer. Then gold dust is sprinkled onto the base “togidashi kin” or silver dust “togidashi gin.” In the case of the use of many colored pigment powders it is called “iro-togidashi” . This first phase provides a slight relief decoration. Then the artist covers all the subject with the same lacquer used for the first layer and the whole is then sanded and polished until smooth and shiny. All layers are covered with a special Urushi lacquer which is sanded in the sanding/polishing process.