Urushi is a material full of contrasts. This natural lacquer which has been used in East Asian arts and crafts for millennia is distinguished by its exceptional sheen and unique depth of color which is created through the application of many, very thin layers. The LAMY dialog urushi edition which is limited to 33 sets captures the fascination of this characterful material in a unique tetralogy.
Each of the 33 sets includes four elegantly finished fountain pens – four interpretations of the LAMY dialog 3. The guiding theme of the LAMY dialog urushi edition is a subject which is as timeless as it is universal: the four seasons with their own individual moods. Spring, summer, autumn and winter as the symbol for the eternal cycle of life.
The edition has been designed and artistically realised by urushi master Norihiko Ogura from Japan (summer) and Manfred Schmid from Germany (spring, autumn and winter). Hereby urushi is, as a traditional craft and material, reinterpreted: with an innovative combination with stainless steel as well as processing methods which the participating artists developed themselves and used for the first time with the LAMY dialog 3.
Black urushi lacquer creates the deepest black known worldwide. This is not created by pigments but through the addition of iron powder which causes an oxidation of the lacquer and is subsequently filtered out. Applied very thinly, the black lacquer appears transparent at first. It is only with the application of additional layers that the colour intensity and depth are created which are so characteristic of urushi surfaces.
For the spring model, urushi master Manfred Schmid hasn’t used the black lacquer in this classic way but, instead, developed a new and original technique. An ultra-thin layer of the black lacquer is applied to the stainless-steel body which is coated with light blue niobium and this blue then shimmers through the black lacquer. Using a fine brush, the artist then lightly sprinkles alcohol over the black lacquer which breaks up the surface and creates a complex structure full of subtle reflexes which are unique and cannot be repeated.
The summer model was designed by the Japanese master Norihiko Ogura with a special variant of the so-called gold sprinkling technique (Maki-e) whereby a special, super-fine grain gold powder (each grain has a diameter of 0.03 mm) is sprinkled over the entire lacquer surface. The surface is then smoothed with charcoal made of camellia wood. A procedure which highlights the immense perfection and precision of the urushi master: when this is smoothed, the grains in the gold powder are reduced to exactly half their original size. The subsequent application and smoothing of a further layer of gold, the grains of which are slightly larger, creates a streamlined texture on the surface. In daily use these lines are “polished” through contact with the skin and become increasingly glossier. The lower lacquer layers also become visible and in this way the fountain pen is subject to a continuous living change process.
Manfred Schmid has also chosen his own urushi method for the autumn model. Whilst the lacquer is usually only used in the colours black and red, Manfred Schmid used the so-called transparent lacquer for this model. Typically, only used for sealing and not in the actual decor, this natural urushi lacquer gradually unfolds a warm amber shade with every layer. Manfred Schmid applies this to a stainless steel body with golden PVD coating which, prior to this, was smoothed vertically and horizontally to create a fine texture. This structure which has been created in this way later gleams from a depth through the lacquer and the base and surface fuse.
The finishing method of winter is the same as used in the “Spring” model.
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