Location: Tokyo, Japan
Address: 4–20–12 Kuramae‚ Taito‚
Tokyo‚ Japan 111–0051
Specialty: Custom Blended Art Inks
Wait Time: 1-4 Hours
Languages Spoken: Japanese and some English
While in Tokyo, my sister wanted to find a unique craft store to find souvenirs for her friends back home. After doing lots of research, we discovered Inkstand, which is an incredible, minimalistic custom-blended ink shop. Their inks are handcrafted using pigments rather than dye-ink-like typical inks, which means their inks are more vibrant, richer colors that don’t fade or wash away. They also sell a number of pen options, from hand-blown glass drawing implements, to nibbed fountain pens, and everything in between, because pigment ink requires specially designed pens to work properly and not clog up the pen’s shaft.
There are four options for ordering inks from Inkstand.
- Custom Blends are the most expensive and involved process, whereby clients book a blending appointment and mix 2-3 pigments of their choosing to create their own one-of-a-kind color. When using this process, clients will make note of how many drops they use of each color to create their custom color recipe, which allows the staff to recreate and prepare the color in larger batches. Clients will also have the space, time, and resources to help customize This process takes roughly 45 minutes to blend a custom color from their 17 base colors, and then another 1.5 hours to have the mixture recreated, prepared, and bottled by the staff. This option costs about $30 USD per 33mL bottle, but it is recommended that you purchase in bulk. If you run out of your color, Inkstand will keep your custom recipe on file for two years, and you can order online from anywhere in the world. They will create more and ship it to you as needed.
- If you are short on time or don’t have a need for a custom blended color, their Specimen Inspired Pigments are a great option for more whimsical color selections. Browse the shop and its walls to see specimens of plants, flowers, and crystals and the shades they’ve inspired. Pick your favorite, select the size you need, and head to the counter and place your order. This process takes roughly 30 minutes because the recipes are already written up; they simply need to be blended together by an Inkstand color specialist. The price for this ranges from $ 11 USD for an 11mL bottle, $17 for a 22mL bottle, and $20 for a 33mL bottle.
- If you have a color you’d like to source from an object, photograph, document, or some other font of inspiration, bring it into Inkstand, and they can custom-match an ink shade for you, for the same price listed above. They take the guesswork out of matching shades to what you need.
- Ink-On Tap is exactly what it sounds like. Clients can select one of 5 ink colors on tap, which includes red, black, green, blue, and brown. These inks are the ones shown in the glass teardrop dispensers above and are readily available. The prices for these are the same as the prices for the Specimen Inspired Pigments above, and it only takes 3-5 minutes for the ink to be bottled and packaged up.
I also absolutely loved the store’s overall aesthetic. The way they blend art, nature, and technology was very reminiscent of an alchemist’s workshop, and I loved the presentation of the brightly pigmented inks in chemistry beakers, and the glass teardrop taps, plus the packaging in simple glass bottles with a sample of the ink color within blotted onto the label was an elegant way to showcase the bottles’ contents.
These pigments can be used in calligraphy, card, and letter making, stamping and scrapbooking, or even for painting and accents on paper crafts. Some of the samples in the store showed a variety of uses and really inspired me to break out my calligraphy and fountain pens when I got back home and use the beautiful inks I purchased here. I’ll keep you updated on how they look compared to other dye-based inks I’ve used in the past.
If you’re in Tokyo and you have any interest in an incredible modern take on a traditional Japanese art form, Inkstand is absolutely worth visiting and is such a memorable souvenir opportunity. I know my sister’s friend will adore her gift, just as I love the blend I purchased. I know I’ll definitely visit again the next time I’m in Tokyo!
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