Shiwa-nuri Technique

One of the specific Urushi techniques I use is Shiwa-nuri, しわぬり, or Shiwa-nur. 

Uniquely with  Shiwa-nuri a special, thicker lacquer called Kuro-roiro, 黒漆, is applied, undiluted. Interestingly when placed in an Urushi-buro, 漆風呂 or Furo, this lacquer acts differently. Urushi lacquer can only be cured layer by layer under very precise temperature and humidity conditions that are simulated and controlled within the Furo. While absorbing the moisture from the air in the Furo the undiluted Kuro-roiro lacquer contracts and forms black wrinkles. These wrinkles are what dictate the pattern.

I then build upon this base over weeks, by adding successive layers of differently coloured Iro-urushi lacquer. Each layer of lacquer (the pieces i make may have up to 20) spends 24-72h in the Furo. Within, the lacquer absorbs moisture from the air, solidifying the layer. Each layer is lightly sanded before the next is applied. After all the layers are applied they are slowly and precisely sanded and polished to reveal the intricate highly coloured patterns. Extremely time consuming but Urushi lacquering results in jewellery that is light, durable and effortlessly wearable.

The traditional Japanese and Urushi artists believe the wrinkled pattern produced by applying Kuro-urushi 黒漆 undiluted to be an imperfection, therefore this technique its not used widely in traditional circles, however i believe the pattern produced is stunning.


  • Iro-urushi • 色漆 - Lit. colored lacquer. Urushi colored with pigments
  • Kuro-urushi • 黒漆 - Lit. black lacquer.