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D+P Studio News

Here is a wee bit of news from the D+P Studio!

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Creative Time – Celebrating New Year with Colour and Pattern 🎉

4 January 2021

Let’s celebrate the New Year with some colour and pattern. For our first Creative Time activity of 2021 why not enjoy some fun doodling with any materials you have at hand – such as pencil ✏️, pens 🖊️, colouring pencils, or paints. 🎨🖌️ 

To inspire us D+P Studio participant Maria has kindly sent us her lovely artworks that she has been delighting in making, she says she really likes experimenting with ‘abstract, with a hint of realism, like rainbows, cityscapes, etc.’


Have fun, doodle or come up with some creative words at our free online art community. Our regular relaxing activities – Creative Time – encourage you to have some creative enjoyment and keep in touch with us and find inspiration from other participants in Scotland and beyond!

It would be great if you would like to send us an image of anything you make, for us to show online if possible, please either 1. email us your image, 2. post to instagram with this tag #dandpstudio_creativetime or 3. post on our Facebook page.

Creative Time

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Season’s Greetings 🎄

21 December 2020

Best wishes for the festive season!

We hope you are keeping warm and well and enjoy the winter holidays. Here is our Season’s Greetings card with images of some of the many wholehearted and inspiring works by participants 💖 Huge thanks for all your encouragement and support this year and we look forward to meet with you again in 2021 as the winter sun rises ❄️🌞

From Blair and the D+P Studio team.

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Unsurpassed and deep – tracing the Kaikyōge and Fuekō

15 December 2020

Unsurpassed and deep - tracing the Kaikyōge and Fuekō

At Shakyō Sutra copying practice (online on zoom) we traced or copied two short verses which are often read or chanted in zen and other schools – the Kaikyōge Opening the Sutras Verse and the Fuekō Turning of Merit. 

They are deep and inspiring short verses, the Fuekō directly coming from the Lotus Sutra. Some of the people who joined the shakyō practice copied with a pen and others used a small brush. Blair gave a demo of the shakyo meditative process and how to use the traditional materials, such as the fude brush with the hair of life tip, as well as easier to find alternatives – like a pencil and copy paper! 

Unsurpassed and deep - tracing the Kaikyōge and Fuekō

With it being the middle of December, and having chosen two short poetic verses to trace, we naturally had time for a break for a sweet snack – for Blair a mince pie and dark choc with green tea 🍵😊 and after chanting the Kaikyōge and ringing the bell we restarted the practice.

It was nice that some folk tried the Japanese and also English versions of the verses. And added stamps if they had them! 

The first two lines of the Kaikyōge can be translated:

‘Unsurpassed, deep, minute, wondrous Dharma,
In a hundred thousand million years is rare to encounter..’

Unsurpassed and deep - tracing the Kaikyōge and Fuekō

The group was a nice way to close this year’s shakyō, and write our wishes for health and wellbeing and other things close to our hearts. Thanks to all who joined the practice this year.

Please see some examples below of works by participants.

Joan Ja
Joan En
Ma
BASHO
Mark

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Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps

14 December 2020

Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps
Master Wakabayashi’s stamped shodo calligraphy

We looked closely at the styles of in 印 stamps at the Tenkoku 篆刻 seal engraving group, particularly at Japanese Master Wakabayashi.

Wakabayashi Shūjō was like a grandfather to Blair who started studying shodō calligraphy with him in 2002. He kindly introduced Blair to Tenkoku seal engraving and the materials to use and Blair could discover the many stamps made by him, mostly of his creative name 舟城 Shūjō meaning boat castle. In his calligraphy on shikishi board, he stamps this with a rectangular red letter type stamp.

His stone stamp are full of character and dynamic beauty, with the textures of the engraved lines and marks varied and alive and always interacting with the spaces.

Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps

At the group we looked at and copied some of his inei stamp impressions, and participants had time to ask questions and to work on designs or carving at whatever stage they are at, some folk planning a new design. 

Blair gave a detailed demo of how to stamp and work with, as well as care for, the lovely deep red indei ink. Also he gave tips and examples about where in an artwork to stamp harmonically.

Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps
Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps
Discovering beauty in Japanese and Chinese stamps

Below is a lovely example of a stamp by one of the participants, with some of the texture and movement seen in Master Wakabayashi’s stamps.

Joan

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Time to doodle and relax with the changing season

14 December 2020

Time to doodle and relax with the changing season

At our comfortable and easygoing Destress drawing group online on zoom we started with some gentle free doodles, such as flowing lines and zig zags, before making our own patterns to colour. See some of the pieces participants worked on below, very varied ✨

Time to doodle and relax with the changing season

Blair said some words about the season and we imagined gazing up through twisting branches from a forest full of golden leaves, up to a glowing moon, which helped us to doodle some more and find our own fun creative paths. He read some poetry by Ryokan also, here is a snippet:

The moon appears in every season it is true,
But surely it’s best in fall.
In autumn mountains loom and water runs clear.
A brilliant disk floats across the infinite sky..

Time to doodle and relax with the changing season

We had a friendly group with a nice atmosphere, and folk didn’t have to show any works they were doing, so there was no pressure to be creative or come up with anything specific, this group is more about enjoying the doodling and drawing process , finding calm and connection and the sensory meditative side of drawing.

Mike1
Mike2
m2
m1

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Shodo of the autumn moon shining in the blue pool.. 

14 December 2020

Shodo of the autumn moon shining in the blue pool.. 

Inspired by one of Chinese poet Han Shan’s Cold Mountain poems, we brushed the characters for autumn moon – shūgetsu 秋月, at our online Shodo group Zen Brush. Some of us were lucky to catch a glimpse of the waxing crescent moon in the early evening above the horizon glowing yellow or orange 🌙 before quickly sinking into a blanket of clouds!

Shodo of the autumn moon shining in the blue pool.. 

First Blair talked about the two kanji characters and their background and styles, fascinating to see how the shape of the pictogram for moon 月 had changed over thousands of years, and within the older kanji for autumn 秋 the fire and light of the sun on the grain as well as the insect too in some versions.

Shodo of the autumn moon shining in the blue pool.. 
Shodo of the autumn moon shining in the blue pool.. 

After some demos we worked on each kanji in the more boxy kaisho style and then the fluid curvy sōsho ‘grass’ style which simplifies and connects many of the strokes. The style that Blair demonstrated of the sōsho is based upon the master Chiei from the 7th Century Sui dynasty. His work is often copied by Japanese calligraphers.

Shodo of the autumn moon shining in the blue pool.. 

It was delightful connecting deeply with this thought provoking short zen poem by Han Shan, looking at calligraphy inpired by it, and then writing part of it in shodo ourselves.

Shodo of the autumn moon shining in the blue pool.. 

Please see some examples by participants in these photos.

Joan
Shugetsu

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Cutting and carving stones for Japanese and Chinese stamps

8 November 2020

At the November 篆刻 tenkoku (seal engraving) group meeting online by zoom, Blair gave an in depth demonstration of carving techniques to directly guide participants and give them tips on this exciting part of the process!

Japanese and Chinese Seal Engraving – Tenkoku

This covered how to handle and work with each of the traditional materials including the stones, clamp, and cutters of varied sizes.

We also looked at the layout of stamp compositions and tips on how to have enough breathing space and balance, depending on the style.

Japanese and Chinese Seal Engraving – Tenkoku
Japanese and Chinese Seal Engraving – Tenkoku

He also helped advise folk with their kanji or names and their designs for stamps. Lots of great ideas from folk (thanks for your photos) and very varied 印  stamps, including ookami wolf 🐺, a Zen name, and an English first and last name converted by Blair into four kanji for a white letter 白文stamp 🙂

Cutting and carving stones for Japanese and Chinese stamps

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Relaxing and immersing ourselves in autumnal lines

8 November 2020

Relaxing and immersing ourselves in autumnal lines

At our De-stress drawing group on zoom we enjoyed a slow paced, peaceful doodling time with a loose autumn theme. To start we relaxed with doodling zig zags and curves, before taking a moment to notice the pattern and feel of the changing season 😊 

destress drawing Blair Thomson D+P Studio
destress drawing 2 Blair Thomson D+P Studio

We loosely sketched some leafy shapes, inspired by simple outlines and curves, points of leaves, and also took in some different hues of autumn  🍂

Relaxing and immersing ourselves in autumnal lines
Relaxing and immersing ourselves in autumnal lines

Bringing in a meditative and mindful approach with a light heart, and a little poetry too for inspiration, we could find some freedom and ease in the drawing without having any worry about what the result would be. And of course we had time to explore and work on anything we fancied which was fun. Thanks for sending your images. ✨

Relaxing and immersing ourselves in autumnal lines

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Shakyo 写経 copying the sutra of boundless awareness and life

8 November 2020

At our Shakyo group, co-hosted with Glasgow Zen Group, we enjoyed peacefully copying the Boundless Life Ten Phrase Kannon Sutra 延命十句観音経.

Shakyo - bringing the Sutra to life with each brush stroke and pen mark
Shakyo 写経 copying the sutra of boundless awareness and life
Some of the many possibilities to write or brush the shakyo, if you don’t have the shakyo brush (second on the right), such as fudepen or brushpen, pen or pencil, or even a bamboo takepen or a twig!

It felt right to trace it at this time, being a sutra that has been close to people’s hearts over the centuries and considered by many as one that helps wellbeing in times of sickness or difficulty. It is short – spread over just four full lines including the title – but a sutra of vitality, full of energy.  

It was a nice group of people who joined the practice –  Blair let folk know about his experience of shakyo in Japanese temples, as well as the history of it in China and Japan, and how to practice it. He demonstrated how to use the traditional materials as well as how to copy or trace with easy to find materials such as a brush pen, pen or even a simple pencil, and how to find a suitable posture and breathing so the practice can be meditative, embodied and comfortable.

We talked a bit about tracing, writing freehand, adding a wish, and writing in Japanese and English. And without too much detail Blair went through each line of the sutra and how the ten phrases can be understood and translated.

We were energised by our tea and snack and after the sound of the large bell and the rhythm of the chanting of this sutra, we had time to trace or copy at our own pace. Thanks to the participants for sending images of their sutra copies below, and thanks to folks for taking part 🙂

Shakyo 写経 copying the sutra of boundless awareness and life
Shakyo 写経 copying the sutra of boundless awareness and life
Shakyo 写経 copying the sutra of boundless awareness and life
Shakyo 写経 copying the sutra of boundless awareness and life

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Opening your heart to 愛 Ai Love in Shodo

8 November 2020

Opening your heart to 愛 Ai Love in Shodo

We brushed 愛 Ai – Love, care, affection, craving/ attachment – at our Monday online Zen brush Shodo calligraphy 書道 group in October. It was inspiring to work with this single kanji (Chinese character) as it is so delightful to brush in the shodo styles.

Please have a look at our videos📹 of Blair brushing Ai.

With demos from Blair, we explored the kaisho 楷書 style as well as the faster gyosho 行書 and the very flowing sosho 草書 style. 

Opening your heart to 愛 Ai Love in Shodo

Exploring the older tensho 篆書 style and the fascinating meanings of each part of the kanji and also as a whole, how the kanji changed over time with the claw shape, the connection to heart – shin or kokoro ❤️ which is within the kanji, this helped us engage with it more deeply and bring understanding to each stroke and stroke order. 

Opening your heart to 愛 Ai Love in Shodo

The three parts of the kanji combined has a connotation of heartrending as well heartfulness. The varied meanings, type of strokes and movement in this popular kanji make it a great one to practice shodo with and also a nice gift for someone you care for.

The group enjoyed how the kaisho more boxy style moved into the gyosho style followed by the sosho grass style. The sosho is looser and makes sense to be brushed this way after getting a feel for the other styles. Thanks to the group for sending us some of their images including a bonus picture from Laura of her enchanting Daruma dolls, the legendary founder of Chan and Zen.

Opening your heart to 愛 Ai Love in Shodo

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