Let's start with Mt. Fuji.
"Natural Pigments and Grinding" Study Group
My Thoughts on The Study Group
Mechanical Engineering, Inorganic Synthetic Chemistry, Synthetic Organic Chemistry,
Synthetic Biology, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Science and technology are advancing day by day.
Grinding, which begins in the Stone Age, is a physical process.
Let’s think about natural pigments and powders, where we will also include the application
of advanced powder technology.
Let’s begin the road of discovery to interesting things.
How does one perceive apples?
Delicious, red, palm sized
Looking at the contemporary "Art Design", “Art Reproduction”, and “Virtual Reality”,
Is the "sensibility of natural pigments" alive today?
The images shown are "Fuji Lava Paint" and "Lapis Lazuli Paint".
The color of "Fuji Lava Paint" is blackish brown, which represents the colour of the soil.
Lapis Lazuli Paint is a blue, lapis-like colour, which represents the colour of the sky.
This color could be produced with artificial pigments.
Artificial pigments have been used in mass production.
It is a colour made by skillfully using physical and chemical processes.
There are 100% natural crushed pigments where it is appreciated as nature with a touch of
the earth in its simplest form.
By controlling submicron particles, it can be used in medium and small scale productions.
In philosophy, questions on nature have been asked continuously.
As seen in Aristotle's "Physics", Plato's "Laws”, Zhuang Zhou, Hegel, Basho,
Deleuze < 1925-1995> His thoughts on nature was that “Root cause = Origin”.
100% natural pigments are beautiful colours made by the process of physical manipulation.
The discovery of creating paint from pebbles connects the world by sharing various stories
and memories.
“Stone from the garden” and “autumn leaves” are made into “paint”.
There is a gentle feeling of reminiscence that occurs from touching objects.
In Japan, this feeling is called “MONO NO AWARE”.
This connects to the concepts of "love of places", "phenomenological geography", and
"humanistic geography".
In Greek, the word “Topophilia” is the combination of topos (place) and philia (affection)
which literally means love of place.
The history of grinding is an essential part of the history of mankind.
Natural pigments are not so much of a tradition but are a global culture observed since the
Stone age, the dawn of mankind.
Sea otters and bearded macaque monkeys are also observed to grind their food.
This links us to primate archaeology, anthropology, history and biology.
In Japan, there is a type of painting called “nihonga”, which means “Japanese painting”
where mineral pigment is used.
Many pigments are artificially produced, but natural pigments are also used with care.
This has become a tradition since Buddhism first entered Japan in 604.
There are more than 10 specialty stores in Tokyo and Kyoto.
Natural pigments such as malachite are sold in those stores.
This is a rare occurence in the world outside of Japan.
“Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you
were born in it.” - George Bernard Shaw.
Natural pigments should not be seen as a national tradition, but a Earth colour that
represents “sensibility of the world”
Natural pigments create new possibilities with the use of modern grinding techniques.
This is a machine that grinds with the force of gravity 150.
Grinding up to approximately 100 nm is possible.
Palmenides < BC520-450>said "What exists is uncreated and imperishable for it is whole
and unchanging and complete.”
Thus, a small cut apple is an apple, no matter how small it is.
This is one of the uniqueness of the colour of pigment which is obtained by grinding.
Fusion with advanced technology
If the height is divided 100x smaller, the surface area will increase by 100 times.
100μm to 1μm
10μm to 100nm
Increased by 100x
Not only are we able to make effective use of rare objects, usage of various surface
treatments are also possible.
This is a method that could be used on almost everything in the world.
Applicable to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) no 9, 12 and 15.
Goal 9 : Build the foundation for industry and technological innovation. Pigments could be
used as a raw material.
Goal 12 : Responsible consumption and production by effectively using rare materials.
Goal 15: Protecting the richness of the earth by reusing waste products. This reduces or
eliminates wastes from manufacturing.
A common understanding that accepted in the world.
The "Continental Drift Theory" and "Plate Tectonics Theory"
Which stated that the land on Earth was one super continent.
So it could be said that all land on earth is made of similar composition.
Humans grow to be attached towards the place where they came from.
Here on earth, there is a rock cycle process where rocks become soil in nature.
We have grown to like such colours which are similar to the colour of soil present in nature.
For us, this is also another reason why the “colours from various places” are unique.
It could be said as a common sensibility that occurs globally.
Einstein has once said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by
Thus, it is important to treasure a common sensibility that has been present since the Stone
Rocks are weathered by the heat of the sun and eroded by water ; by the power of the sea,
rivers and plants
Through continuous pulverisation and corrosion processes, rocks in nature will eventually
become soil.
And this is how natural pigments are also produced in nature.
This is known as a “rock cycle”, where sedimentary rocks are formed from igneous rocks.
This includes gravel, sand, silt, clay and aerosols.
Heraclitus < BC540-480>said, "Everything flows."
This is a paint made from the grain of sand.
Weathered sand becomes soil.
The paint made from pebbles is the colour it should be before it becomes soil.
Rock cycles occur from igneous rocks to sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks.
Using this kit, you can enjoy the perpetual flow of time in those pebbles.
I'm looking forward to the various possibilities from creating natural pigments from this kit.
The appeal of natural pigments has been re-recognized around the world especially; Asia,
America and Europe.
The “Iwa Enogu” mineral pigment that has remained in Japan, has now involved advanced
technology into its production. This signifies mankind’s homecoming to their origin, which is
the Earth.
"Natural pigments" [IWAENOGU] is using "advanced powder technology" to create "new
forms of arts and crafts".
This brings forth new possibilities all over the world.
I would call this occurrence the “Renaissance of Natural Pigments.”
This is a tie dyed with pigment made from"Lava of Mt. Fuji".
These are accessories made from "powder of minerals" and "Himalayan Stone Powder".
This can also be used in works of glass, pottery, cloth...
Application of natural pigments into works of arts and craft around the world will create a
movement where “stories from various places” and “the colours of the Earth” are focused
This has the potential to contribute to eliminating poverty, inequality and creating successful
Thinking about natural pigments connects us to SDGs’s mission.
And also to question and discuss about the current system present in the art world.
This study group on Natural Pigments and Grinding started with the research of “Mt. Fuji.”
We believe that our research will help to protect the purity of the environment and nature.
We sincerely would like to convey the unique characteristics of natural pigments.
Natural pigments as objects, are extensively defined by colour.
The appearance of the image
An abstract representation
Expression as a thing
"Objects", "Phenomena", "Artificial","Natural" "Pigments", "Colour", "Light", "Sensation",
"Vision","Pigments" and "Knowledge"
The brain is a synthesis of many elements.
Even if it is the same thing with the same color, the meaning differs depending on what the
person who sees it thinks.
This is an important question in the digital world.
"Actual Physical Object", "Printing", "Video"
What do people actually see?
How about replacing it with music?
"Live Concert", "Electronic Musical Instrument", "Acoustic Instrument", "Recorded Sound"
The size of grain that could be seen with the naked eye is about 0.1 mm.
Grading process
Human beings can observe even smaller things by using certain instruments.
What is seen as natural and what is thought to be natural are two concepts we consider
when we decide something for what it is. Colours are usually determined this way.
All cultural and academic fields are specialized separately into various fields.
For example, let’s consider the television and computer’s softwares and hardwares.
It is rare for a person to understand all of its structure in order to enjoy watching TV shows
and surfing the Internet.
Also,it is known that Copernicus and Galileo have proved the theory of heliocentrism.
However, from orbital calculations, there would not be many people who would completely
understand them all.
Another example is when one sees flowers blooming in the field, only certain people start
their understanding from the point of modern molecular biology.
An innocent child will be led by curiosity and learn about the world around them through
their personal experience.
Thus it is impossible for many people to know and understand everything in the present
A simple understanding of nature is preserved in the human mind after eons of evolution.
Based on today’s standards, it might be favorable to understand a subject from a scientific
However, I think that these two concepts could coexist at the same time.
This could be related to the sensibility of natural pigments. The same could not be said for
Let’s enjoy the Natural Pigment Renaissance.
RYOUKAN <1758-1831> said,
“Even after a 1000 years, the green from "Pine trees" and "Kashiwa-no-ki" were not lost.
The clear winds have been blowing since ancient times.”
Birds chirp beautifully throughout the four seasons.
The spring that flows into the valley has been flowing since ancient times.”
Discovering new beauty and harmony of nature.
By utilising the natural pigment making kit, let’s discover colours of the earth.
This kit is applicable to natural pigments and natural dyes.
From top to right
"Dried rose petals, pine leaves, cork, tree bark, charcoal"
"Small Stones of 2 Colors"
"Grape Skin"
In the Centre
“Fragmented Processed Lapis Lazuli”
“Fragmented Processed Coral”
Grind in small quantities according to the capacity of the tool.
Avoid grinding in large quantities at once.
Grid shown is at the scale of 10mm.
Crush via compression by using "Wooden Handle", "2 Bolts" and "Nut".
Select a pebble of 5 mm or less and crush it.
Tighten with a wooden handle.
However, do not tighten it too tightly.
Tighten only a little more after the sound of the stone crushing is heard.
Then loosen it by unscrewing one of the bolts.
Remove powder from crushed pebbles by tapping the nut with a bolt.
Coarse grinding of minerals and pebbles.
The shellfish is first broken into pieces using pliers before crushing.
Lapis lazuli
Small stone < Black >
Small Stone < white >
Filter through a mesh with 2mm opening.
Crush using coarse tiles similar to using a millstone.
Continue grinding until particles become fine.
As it becomes finer, the sound heard from grinding will change.
Then continue to grind using a small flat tile.
Try to make it as fine as possible.
The ground pebbles will turn out like this. Pebbles are grinded finely into powder until the
size of the powder cannot be distinguished by the naked eye.
The rough grinding process is complete.
White stone powder will be used in the next step.
Dry and soft materials are grinded with white sand.
Bark of the tree is grinded
These are grape skins.
Grind materials with water content as if to squeeze the content out.
Colour of ground grape skin changes when a mordant i.e: alum is added.
Paint is made by adding glue to ground materials.
Add glue to lapis lazuli <eg:gum> and mix.
Adding glue creates two kinds of mixtures; a suspension/supernatant containing fine
particles and a precipitate containing coarse particles. Use separately as desired.
So let’s try making paint using small stones!
You can do it like this. Please enjoy the two different textures 1) which are the supernatant
(fine particles) and 2) precipitate (coarse particles).
For the slightly larger materials, let’s grind them this way.
The roughness of a diamond whetstone depends on the grit level, which is stated as a
The finer whetstone will have a larger number.
The colour of ground pigment also changes depending on the roughness of the whetstone.
This method is recommended for palm sized materials. Grind with water or glue.
3mm (0.14g) stone is grinded.
Ground pigment is enough to be used to paint two postcards.
Come let’s try it out!