Specialist calligraphy supplies 2019
If Ewan is visiting your area you are welcome to send a pre-order which he can bring with him. Orders from outside the UK are possible via paypal, please email Ewan for details.
These inks come from Boku-Undo in Nara, Japan. Ewan Clayton's selection is based on his personal use and a visit he made to the company to test their materials. Mr Nobuyoshi Matsui, Boko-Undo's overseas trade director, also visited the Writing Symposium at Sunderland University to give seminars on ink manufacture and use which has helped establish knowledge of these materials in the UK. Cornelisens in London also stock a limited range. Unfortunately Boku Undo has now ceased making the coloured inks (Saiboku) so this stock is my last.
A note on how to grind ink
Use a very few drops (3 is minimum) of warm water. Grind until the ink is too thick to write with, then dilute back down to the fluidity you want. This way you ensure good blackness of ink. Dab the inkstick dry on a cloth once the grinding is finished, if left wet it will develop small cracks. Keep it out of direct sunlight (also causes cracking).
Keep all surfaces free of soap, soap adversely affects the flow of ink and gouache making thin lines hard to get.
Storage: discard the plastic around the ink and keep it in its paulownia wood box it keeps the ink at a steady humidity. Avoid placing in direct sunlight – it may crack.
Saiboku: traditional coloured Japanese ink sticks hand-made in Nara, Japan.
Vermilion £18 (this is genuine vermilion)
Chrome Yellow £6
White £5.00 (made from Oyster shell)
Redish gold £21
Cooler Gold £21
Gaken: white grinding dishes for coloured stick ink.
Pack of 5 £28
Single Gaken £6
Black Sumi Ink sticks hand-made in Nara, Japan:
All sticks packaged in a wooden storage box.
Warm brownish black with a touch of purple, particularly good for use on off-white paper, good for sharp lines, matt. Leave at least an hour before rubbing out ruled lines and do so gently. (NB the size of the ink stick supplied is one third smaller than my previous stock)
Bluish black, one of the best two quality sticks in this selection, pine tonal effect, matt. If in doubt buy this one.
A warm black. Sharp thin lines and good covering power. A slight sheen. This ink is different from the others in this list in that the soot is collected from a wick burning in vegetable oil and it has a slightly higher glue content. It is specifically useful for the cursive 'Kana' style of Japanese calligraphy.
Sosho-Banko (small) £15
Bluish black, made to give the same tonal effect of as the traditional pine soot ink which is now prohibitively expensive to produce. This ink is good for sharp lines, matt, probably the densest coverage of all the inks.
Sosho-Banko (large) £21
Bluish black, made to give the same tonal effect of as the traditional pine soot ink, which is now prohibitively expensive to produce. This ink is good for sharp lines, matt, probably the densest coverage of all the inks. This stick is one third larger than the small size stick.
Suzuri/Ink stone £25
Ink stone for grinding black ink sticks. The name of this stone, which comes from Boku Undo, is Wado-Ken Uchiake. It comes from Miyagi prefecture and is a dense grained slate-black stone with copper pyrites within the stone, it is the pyrites that actually grind the ink.
Gold Tablets for writing sutras, pack of five. £10
This is copper powder which many years down the line will tarnish a little, it writes densely but with very fine lines and is used like a pan of water colour.
Gansai Water Colour: Metallic £10
Used like watercolours Aurora (shades of white) £10
See contact page for addresses to email or write to Ewan