The Maki-e artwork on the Cat Pen is traditional maki-e, in the sense
that it follows the heritage of a natural or animal theme. It is
however a new and unique look into the maki-e realm.
Created by Katsunobu Nishihara, this maki-e style, just like the artist,
can be viewed as avant-garde by those who embrace the art form. The
textures and use of colored gold creates an image that is far more
detailed and alive than some maki-e. Nishihara comes from a family rich
in the lineage of maki-e.
His father creates a "flat-surface" maki-e for family and religious
shrines in his region of Japan. Born in Hiroshima, Japan, Nishihara
traveled to Ishikawa Prefecture to study his maki-e techniques.
Following the skills learned from the Wajima region, which is well known
for the lacquer-ware, Wajima-Nuri, he has been able to incorporate his
own style and form to his work.
Nishihara is a craftsman in all techniques and styles of maki-e. He is
very fond of working with "raden", which is the inlay of abalone shell
or mother of pearl and has also mastered the technique of inlaying fine
pieces of eggshell on many of his works.
More than anything else, it is true to say, Nishihara enjoys being
challenged within his technical expertise. Between an artist and a
craftsman is very fine line; from his work one can only judge based
upon the incredible delicacy and skill he possess. With Nishihara, that
line can easily become blurred.