Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Aikido Wallscroll or Kakejiku

Didn't get what you wanted for Christmas? Post holiday sale for a scroll anywhere in the US for $45.00. (Includes shipping and taxes). The caveat, I will choose the cloth. Size is approximately 2 feet long by 10 inches wide....contact sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com for details.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Commissioned Aikidou Kakejiku or Wallscroll

This scroll was commissioned for an Aikidou trainer in the Southern US. It says in English, Through the virtue of humble training, understanding of Aiki is acquired naturally.
I had a difficult time obtaining the original Japanese saying, if there is an original quote accorded to Morihei Ueshiba, the founder of Aikidou. So I received help on the translation from two sources, my wife and another gentleman. It reads in Japanese, 謙虚に鍛錬をつめば合気の悟りは自ずと得られる (Kenkyo ni tanren wo tsumeba, aiki no satori wa onozu to erareru.)
Just for informations sake, there were 4 iterations provided by Mr. Akamatsu.  Then my wife took the translations, and melded them into syllabic form that would work for calligraphy and the lines provided. It is written in the Gyousho, semi-cursive style by Ryugyoku Yamada.

The scroll was made by myself, it is a three step style scroll called sandan hyougu. The ichimonji is a a wave pattern with gold and silver. The chuumawashi, intermediate cloth is a burnt orange, with large ivy karakusa (arabesque) pattern. This cloth is a pure silk (Shouken) The Ten/Chi is a dried reed color shike silk. It is completed with a jikusaki that has a red lacquer, and machined edge, and the hanging string is a light green with gold (kinka).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Keiko (Training) Scroll

This scroll is for a European martial artist. He brought to my attention a new Japanese word that I was wikipedia in Japanese.
unfamiliar with. 稽古 Keiko. It is a term for training. I was familiar with the lay terms for training such as 練習 Renshu, 実習 Jisshu and 訓練 Kunren. However, this is a term almost exclusively used for Martial Arts or bujutsu training. You can read about it at this link on

The scroll is Hanshi size with a black kireji. The red ichimonji was to help create a strong visual barrier between the writing and the cloth. It is written in the Gyousho (Semi-cursive) style by my wife Ryugyoku (Yoshimi Yamada Maples). It is finished with a Shitan (Rosewood) jikusaki and a Kon (navy) kakehimo or hanging string.

If you would like a custom scroll made as a gift for your dojo, school, or Japanese culture loving family member please email to sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com

Dimensions of this scroll are as follows:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kakejiku for Wife

Yoshimi had some particular writing that she enjoyed and thought it was some of her best work. She asked me to put it into a scroll for her. This is the result. I used a green Shike cloth, with plastic ivory jikusaki, and a light gold hanging string. I love the simplicity, and informal design used in this Maru Hyougu scroll with the formal Kaisho (Block Print) writing.

This wallscroll is not for sale. If you would like to find out more please email to sales@customjapanesecalligrahy.com or visit my website and download the scroll design workbook in PDF at www.customjapanesecalligraphy.com

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Trinity Kakejiku Scroll for Viewing Stone

This scroll is a large Japanese size paper called Joufuku. It is for a Bonsai customer in Southern California. He wanted something that was more spiritual in nature for one of his viewing stones. It reads Trinity, and then the three small words underneath are Fother, Holy Ghost, and Son. In Japanese it reads Sanmi Ittai Tenpu Seirei Onko It is written in the Gyousho, Semi-Cursive style by Yoshimi Yamada Maples.
The cloth is a Benberugu Silk, with a Pine branch looking arabesque. The Ichimonji is a gold on white small flower karakusa. The Hanging string is a light gold, and the jikusaki is a Kokutan Enshu.
Scroll Dimensions as follows:

Name in Kanji
Name in English
Size in Bun
Size in Inches
Ue Ichimonji
Artwork Width
Artwork Length
Shita Ichimonji
Scroll Width
Scroll Length

Friday, September 19, 2014

Handmade Byoubu

屏風 Byoubu is another common product made by Hyousoushi. My Sensei called me only a Hyougushi up to this point, but if I can learn to make other products as nicely as the scrolls, then I hope that I can be an overall Hyousoushi.

In Japan, you can purchase the Kamachi (inner frame) that is already premanufactured. But here I have to make all the measurements and cuts myself. I then followed the directions that my Sensei taught to me. I put the final paper on over a year ago, but had not finished the wood trim.

I finally decided on staining the wood cherry, and did that a couple of months back. Finally tonight I made the cuts and finished the framing.

If you would like to purchase this or would like one handmade for yourself in a custom style, please let me know at sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Custom Designed Scroll for Bonsai Exhibition

 Bonsai Artist friends! Do one of these scrolls look familiar? A bonsai artist came to me and asked for help to develop his idea to display his bonsai. He wanted a distant mountain or cliff in a painting to use with his Rocky Mountain Juniper. So I scoured for photos of actual scenes in the Rocky Mountains. I knew his tree would be placed on the left, because of its natural flow to the right. In Japanese this is 左勝って右流れ (hidari Katte, Migi Nagare). So I was looking specifically for a cliff or mountain that continued and complimented the flow to the right to coincide with the movement of the bonsai. It also clued me off to where the Hanko or artist stamp should be placed. I finally found a photo of a locale in New Mexico, and checked if this would be correct geographically for a Rocky Mountain Juniper, and aha, I found it.

This was then sent to Mariusz Szmerdt to make the painting. I know his skills as a Sumi artist, and he could have made every crack and crag with such precision and detail, but that would have detracted from the display because a detailed painting competes with the bonsai in many cases. I wanted this wallscroll to be a truly supporting actor role in the display. The first two iterations were good, but I thought that they might be too small, to work with this particular tree. I asked him to do one last version slightly larger with a little more detail. He then shipped the final three versions.

I also requested that the bonsai artist provide me with detailed information on the dimensions of the display space and the colors of the backgrounds that would be used. This was vital for me to try and get the size of the scrolls just right and select appropriate cloth colors/patterns that would sit well in the background.

The most worrisome thing about this is that normally, I get a painting from this artist in about 2 weeks....but three weeks had passed away and still no painting. I called the USPS, the NY customs branch and finally had to call the Regional USPS office in order to get this painting here. It took me over four hours of time negotiating with the USPS to get the painting here on time. As soon as it came, I started making the scrolls.

I made the scrolls based upon the formality of the species and styles of the bonsai, as well as how a specific style would bring out the feel of each painting. The less detailed and smaller version painting, I decided to go with a less formal scroll style called Maru Hyougu. I used a solid Benberugu cloth that is rust sand color, with a gold on white Ichimonji. I used a Light Gold Hanging string and a rosewood jikusaki. For the more detailed slightly larger cliff, I decided to put it in a three step style scroll. There was a slight green in the Ichimonji, with a brown on glold large arabesque design. The Chuumawashi is a Shiha cloth with a small arabesque to offset the larger design in the Ichimonji. The Ten/Chi is a Benberugu cloth with a dry reed/khaki color. It was finished with a light gold hanging string and a Chanuri (Brown Lacquer) jikusaki.

Dimensions of the first scroll as follows:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 107 12.76
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 14 1.67
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 60 7.16
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 168.5 20.10
Pillars 3.5 0.42
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 8 0.95
Chi 55 6.56
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 67 7.99
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 352.5 42.05

Dimensions of the Second Scroll as follows:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 86 10.26
上中廻し Ue Chuumawashi 30 3.58
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 11 1.31
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 76 9.07
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 182 21.71
Pillars 5 0.60
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 7 0.84
下中廻し Shita Chuumawashi 20 2.39
Chi 45 5.37
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 86 10.26
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 370 44.14

Now do you know where you have seen this scroll?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Scroll for Wedding

The Haiku on this scroll is the original Japanese of the customer in the Midwest. I was very impressed with the lengths he went to in order to create something original for his then fiancée and now wife. These are
pictures from the wedding reception. The writing is in Kaisho style, and the scroll has been placed
in a formal alcove with a bouquet, surrounded by origami cranes.

May this man ever be blessed in his love.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Scrollmaking Methods & Timetable

I have often been asked by many people, "How long before I get my scroll?" The reply I give is depends. Do you want a machine made production line scroll, like those pictured at the left...Or do you want a carefully thought and planned handmade scroll. The best scrolls made by hand spend years curing on the drying board.

Several advantages to handmade scrolls are the fact that with the new production line techniques, the skills of restoration have not caught up. If you want a museum grade work, that can be restored without damage in the future, a kakejiku, or wallscroll needs to be made by hand.

I  make all of my wallscrolls and byoubu by hand. It allows for some creative processes that just can not be accomplished with a machine made wallscroll. The funniest thing, is when a bonsai artist or Martial Artist tells me I am not fast enough and they need to go with another option. I just state, can you have a finished bonsai  or black belt in a day, week or month? It is the same with my work, time is the indicator of my quality.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hyousou Exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum

Attached is one page of the lists of Hyousou artists at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum. This was the 57th annual Hyousou Exhibition. It was held on the second floor in the 4th Exhibit hall. I am late to post as the exhibition went from the 21st to the 26th of June in 2014. I still have a long way to go and much to learn, but I enjoy each day working as I do. Hyousou is the art for framing into items such as Kakejiku, (hanging Scrolls), byoubu (Screens), Fusuma (sliding doors) and other methods to display art.

I am listed at 109 in the booklet. First is listed the type of product (Hanging Scroll) Next is listed Mariusz Szmerdt the artist, Then the Paintings Title (Oomukashi Natsu no Ukai) and then is listed my name, Jonathan Maples. (no contact information was provided, but I am at sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com or phone at 801-254-6842

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sales for Calligraphy Practice

This was a piece written by Yoshimi Yamada Maples, for a person in the Western States who would like to practice Japanese calligraphy. It is written in the Kaisho style.

Literally, this means: "Perfect you form, protect your life; do not let your thoughts be agitated"

Thomas Merton, the translator whose version you cite, is taking a bit of liberty with the text. The Chinese is more terse. 
The Thomas Merton translation is 
"Hold your being secure and quiet.  Keep your life collected in its own center."
Meanings of individual character is 
全 【ぜん】 (n) (1) all; whole; entire; complete; overall
【い; しゃ】 (n) (arch) (vulg) you
形 【かた; がた】 (n,suf) (1) (がた when a suffix) (See ・1) shape; appearance; (2) collateral; (3) (See ・ぜに・1) obverse of an old "zeni" coin
抱え 【かかえ】 (n) (1) armful; (2) employee
生 【せい; しょう】 (n) (1) life; living; (n,n-suf) (2) (せい only) (male) (hum) I; me; myself
【なかれ】 (prt) must not; do not
使 【し】 (n) (1) messenger; (2) (abbr) (See 検非違使) police and judicial chief (Heian and Kamakura periods); (3) {Buddh} (See 煩悩・2) klesha (polluting thoughts such as greed, hatred and delusion, which result in suffering)
思う To think
思慮 【しりょ】 (n,vs) prudence
 營Unknown in Japanese

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blank Scroll for Artist

This scroll was ordered at the Utah Asian Festival. They wanted something simple for their calligraphy. I am very glad with the way this turned out. It is done in the Maru Hyougu style on paper. The cloth is a benberugu shike. The Ichimonji is a Kinran cloth with a large gold karakusa on a Green color. The jikusaki are an ivory plastic and it is completed with an Usukin (light gold) hanging string.

If you are an artist and would like a blank wallscroll made for you, please inquire to sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com

Dimensions of the scroll as follows.

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 102 12.17
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 13.5 1.61
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 74.5 8.89
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 107 12.76
Pillars 6 0.72
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 9 1.07
Chi 55 6.56
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 86.5 10.32
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 286.5 34.18

Friday, July 11, 2014

Persimmon Scroll Update

This Persimmon Scroll just sold...and is no longer available.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Scroll Sold through Bonsai Auction

This is the first scroll I had sell through an auction. Only one bid, but hey who's complaining!
I hope the bonsai artist can display it with a beautiful tree and it will provide a good accent for a display.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Takemusu Aiki Dojo Wallscroll

Here is a kakejiku just completed for a customer on the East coast. They are opening an Aikido dojo and I have completed this scroll for them. It is a very well brushed work in Kaisho style. Very formal and I think it will go well with the dojo. The scroll has a purse silk and and shike cloth Ten/Chi. It is in the Yamato Hyougu style. It is completed with a shitan jikusaki and Kodai Saniro Kakehimo.

If some of these terms are confusing to you, I recommend that you purchase my book, "How to Make Handmade Wallscrolls". It is available on my shop at http://www.shop.customjapanesecalligraphy.com/product.sc?productId=56&categoryId=-1Book or Amazon 

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 95 11.33
上中廻し Ue Chuumawashi 34 4.06
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 14 1.67
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 104 12.41
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 225 26.84
Pillars 20.5 2.45
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 9 1.07
下中廻し Shita Chuumawashi 20 2.39
Chi 60 7.16
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 145 17.30
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 443 52.85

Monday, May 5, 2014

Custom Gift Kakejiku

This scroll is not for sale. You can design your own scroll at www.shop.customjapanesecalligraphy.com or email to sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com

This is the writing Renshu 練習 in Japanese, which means Practice. The person is an avid golfer, and I wanted to provide something for him to remember about his game.

The silk is a pure silk, and this scroll is in a Maru Hyougu style. The jikusaki is plastic, and the hanging string is Light Gold.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Migrating Geese and Moon Scroll for Bonsai Artist

 This was painted by Mariusz Szmerdt for a fall display that will be upcoming this year. I really took a long time on this scroll, which made many aspects of it for the long run much better hanging. From order to finish this took over a half year, and I am very glad for the patience of this bonsai artist.

There is a lot of white space in the painting, and the geese are small silhouettes. This type of painting makes it easy for the tree to become the focal point of the display and the scroll to just complement the features.

I chose this darker tan to help blend in with fall grasses that are very dry and dormant for the winter. The ichimonji is a small karakusa (arabesque) that is a gold on gold cream color. The kakehimo is the cloud pattern, which is gold with white fleck. The jikusaki is made with rosewood.

The dimensions of the scroll are as follows:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 97 11.57
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 13 1.55
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 50 5.96
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 139 16.58
Pillars 18 2.15
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 8 0.95
Chi 50 5.96
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 86 10.26
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 307 36.62

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Remounting an Old Painting

Remember the painting I bought at auction of the Sagi 鷺 which is a heron or egret in Japan. This is the work I did today. First I cut away all the borders. I could have removed by applying water, but this was sufficient.

Next I removed all the old backing paper called Urauchi from the painting.

Lastly, I applied a new first layer of paper called Hada Urauchi to the painting.

I hope you like how it is progressing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Osensei Morihei Ueshiba Sumi Kakejiku

 This is painted by Mariusz Szmerdt of Poland. He has such talent to do either abstract or very detailed painting. I wanted to do justice to the quality of the painting, so in this case I chose a black gold flower Karakusa (arabesque) that is a  Pure silk for the Chumawashi (intermediate cloth). I chose a gold on gold with a small flower karakusa for the border to contrast with the black cloth, and for the Ten/Chi, I used a benberugu, shike cloth that is khaki/tan. It is completed with a Ceramic jikusaki that has a dark brown that creates a color symmetry with the black cloth. It is finished with a Gold (Kincha) hanging string.

Dimensions as follows:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 100 11.93
上中廻し Ue Chuumawashi 51 6.08
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 13 1.55
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 100 11.93
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 210 25.05
Pillars 20 2.39
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 8 0.95
下中廻し Shita Chuumawashi 24 2.86
Chi 55 6.56
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 140 16.70
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 448 53.44

Friday, March 28, 2014

Mountain and Boat Paintings in Kakejiku

These paintings done as a pair. It was painted by Mariusz Szmerdt for an exhibition in Spring. I had proposed to do it in a joint kind of framing similar to this kakejiku. However, the artist preferred to have this done in two separate scrolls. So I made this in a three style format. I used the light gold and white wave to be like a wind, and the chumawashi gold pattern cloth with an arabesque. The ten/chi is a light, solid tan. The hanging string or kakehimo is a light gold called Usukin. The jikusaki used were a wooden black lacquer.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Shrike for Art Exhibition

This Shrike was painted by Mariusz Szmerdt for an exhibition he plans on entering. I have titled it myself as, "In Anticipation of Spring" The bird looks chilled and the grasses are dried and withered, but there is a feeling of the spring to come in the near future.

To complement the title and feeling I had when first seeing the painting was to have the Ichimonji and Chumawashi to reflect fall with an orange and gold, while the light green Ten/Chi is the hint of spring. It is completed with a Nashichi Jikusaki and a Uguisu (Dark Green) hanging string.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

My own pics don't do justice...

I lack serious photography skills. As a result sometimes the presentation of the scrolls does not look as nice...when customers send me the pics in their natural settings, things become so much more clear.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Trash to Treasure

Add caption

This is a scroll I purchased through an online auction....What a headache for shipping a worthless scroll. I knew the cloths mounting would be bad, because they only took pictures of the painting. The painting has cracks in the paper and wrinkling, but I am going to remake it into something remarkable. I am aiming for that elusive wabi/sabi concept, and may be able to pull it off if I study it deeply. The first thing I will have to do is remove the cloth and take off the back layers of paper on the painting. Then I will put a new layer of paper on it to remove the wrinkles that have settled on the artwork paper. After that I will remount it and try and resell it.

What do you think? REmount

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Matching Pair of Martial Arts Scrolls

This was a commission for a personal dojo. These Karateka study Shito-ryu style of Karate. The kakejiku or wallscrolls have a very simple style.

One scroll reads First Purify Your Mind. The Second reads One Punch, One Mind (Ikken Isshin 一拳一心). I used a lighter rosewood Jikusaki to contrast with the black cloth, but used the dark navy (Kon) hanging string to blend in with the black cloth. Customer requested a red ichimonji, which I think worked out very elegantly for this scroll.

If you would like a custom scroll made contact to sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com

Scroll dimensions as follows:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 92 10.97
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 14 1.67
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 55 6.56
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 220 26.24
Pillars 20 2.39
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 8 0.95
Chi 60 7.16
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 95 11.33
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 394 47.00

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Gift Custom Wallscroll

This was a gift commission. It has a family name at the top and then a phrase. In English we normally say like two peas in a pod to indicate how two people are alike. This phrase is slightly altered to read Like two pods in a pea. It is an inside joke because one time this phrase was said just like this.  If you would like a custom handmade wallscroll, please email to sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com

Due to the nature of the plant theme, I used a dark green on gold Ichimonji with a yellow/green wave pattern intermediary cloth. The Ten/Chi (top and bottom) is a light green. The scroll order also included a black gold pattern Fuuchin, with a dark green hanging tassel. The hanging string is the uguisu which is a dark green. I tried to go to Lightest, Dark Green, Lightest Yellow Green, Darker Green, back to Dark Green. I think it provides a very harmonious transition.

The calligraphy was done by Yoshimi Yamada Maples, and it is in the Kaisho style. The scroll is in the Sandan Hyougu format. Dimensions are below:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 84 10.02
上中廻し Ue Chuumawashi 50 5.96
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 13 1.55
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 111 13.24
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 448 53.44
Pillars 20 2.39
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 10 1.19
下中廻し Shita Chuumawashi 35 4.18
Chi 55 6.56
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 151 18.01
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 682 81.36

Monday, March 3, 2014

First Name Translation into Japanese Kakejiku

Here is a new scroll commissioned for a friend of a school acquaintance's new baby girl. The girls name is Luella, and in Japanese would Read Ruera. So I went to my dictionary to find some terms that would work with that name and be feminine as well. The first character is Ru 屡, Which can be often or Again and Again. This character is also read as Shibashiba. The Second character is 偉 Era(i), which means Excellent or Admirable. So it would roughly mean someone who is admirable again and again.

It was written by Yoshimi Yamada Maples in the Kaisho style and I completed the scroll with a light purple mixed silk with a small pattern in it. The ichimonji is a gold on gold small karakusa and the hanging string is a light gold. It is completed with ivory plastic jikusaki.

This size scroll is relatively inexpensive and if you would like a quote for a similar price contact to sales@customjapanesecalligraphy.com. Dimensions of the scroll as follows:

Name in Kanji Name in English Size in Bun Size in Inches
Ten 104 12.41
上一文字 Ue Ichimonji 6.5 0.78
紙本の幅さ Artwork Width 55 6.56
紙本の長さ Artwork Length 120 14.31
Pillars 20 2.39
下一文字 Shita Ichimonji 4 0.48
Chi 65 7.75
掛け軸の幅さ Scroll Width 95 11.33
掛け軸の長さ Scroll Length 299.5 35.73