Since I started publishing my works on fountain pens with urushi lacquer I received many questions, from both people I know and complete strangers. Two of them were most frequent:
1) What about rash? allergy?
2) How to start?
Well, I do not have an allergy for urushiol. Zero. Nada. No rash. No drama. As far as I know I’m a few (5?) percent of population that is immune. At first I started with gloves etc, but when once I touched my forearm skin with brush, did not notice that until next day, and woke up without any reaction – it was obvious – no allergy. It makes me happy because I hate gloves whet doing precise work.
Secend question has much more complicated answer. I started with research. Long and deep. I was gathering documents, movies on YT, translating Japanese with google translate etc. And it took my one year before I even touched urushi lacquer in a not-cured form. It all started with Nakaya. I was waitnig for it for 2 months, and when finaly got it i was lost. Nakaya Decapod Twist. Fantastic pen, incredible urushi finish (tamenuri), and perfect nib – soft medium. Urushi was so different from anything I saw and touched before I startet digging.
First Youtube. Not much there. I was even searching in Japanese, using google translator. I found just a few channels and some separate movies. (I will review those channels in future articles) So I dug deeper. I found more and more information and built some basic idea of what is all about. Then came another problem – where to buy this freakin’ urushi stuff? Even on FPN and FPgeeks information was scarce. But there are some shops online and finally found them. Right now most of my supplies are from Japan.
Then cane the learning curve. Tons and tons of mistakes. IT IS REALLY HARD. I will show some of my experience, but it is impossible to show everything. Urushi did not cure, or cured too fast creating wrinkles. The layer was too thin or too thick. they were not even. Dust appeared out of nowhere. Brushes – another learning curve. I bought around 30 until now – most different artists brushes and most of them not suitable 😉 Even those best quality. But surprisingly some cheap synthetic worked fine. I was dreaming about proper “hake” – flat Japanese brush made with human hair. Finally bought it and then – I could not use it. It is so difficult, even now after several months.
I’m still at the very beginning of this process. But I know I found MY THING.