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Japanese Shodo Calligraphy Masterclass

Japanese Shodo Calligraphy Masterclass

Explore the traditional materials and brushing key styles, learning from inspiring Shodo masterpieces

Date and Time

Sat 26 Oct 2024
12.30pm - 4.30pm BST


Kagyu Samye Dzong
7 Ashley Street
G3 6DR

£80 (Eventbrite ticket link)

Age Suitability



In this immersive afternoon masterclass we will discover the meditative depth of Shodo 書道 calligraphy and enjoy practicing the essential techniques, learning how to brush the key styles with traditional materials in harmony.

The class teaching methods are based directly on the Japanese style of teaching used in esteemed Shodo schools. We will work from the Thousand Character Classic Senjimon 千字文 and discover the delightful styles of such calligraphers as Chiei 智永 and Kaiso 懐素. Beginning with stroke practice, we will be guided in each exciting part of the process as well as learn how to mindfully relax into each moment of brushing, then be supported to complete works of calligraphy.

Shodo Calligraphy returns to the Tibetan Buddhist Centre

What we will explore and learn:

  • Discover the rinsho 臨書 practice of copying classic works.
  • Detailed guidance on strokes and use of the brush for each style, working with both ofude and kofude sizes of brush.
  • Focus on kaisho and sosho styles, learning how to complete works in each.
  • Learn to work with sumi ink, hanshi calligraphy paper and shikishi boards.
  • Develop writing your name in Japanese in the rakkan 落款 signature area.
  • Discover the visual background and ancient meanings of each character.
  • Understand the connections between the key styles of Kaisho 楷書(boxed style), Gyosho 行書(semi cursive) and Sosho 草書(fully cursive ‘grass’ style).

Every Day is a Good Day in Calligraphy

Shodo Calligraphy returns to the Tibetan Buddhist Centre

Class and Student Level

This is a friendly class using traditional materials – all materials are provided. Suitable for both total beginners and those with Shodo experience, this is a cultural and welcoming group which is great for those with an interest in Japanese or Chinese culture, or arts, language or Zen. Each participant will have direct teaching time with the teacher. No previous experience is needed to take part.

Great also for folk with an interest in Japanese or Chinese culture, or arts or language, or Zen, and no previous experience is needed to take part in these groups.

Blair teaches shodo

About your teacher

Clear demonstrations and friendly help is given from calligrapher Blair Thomson, who first studied Shodo in 2002 in Toyama, Japan, with calligraphy Master Wakabayashi, and with zen monks and respected teachers in Tokyo. Blair has an award winning background in the arts and community art, and has led calligraphy workshops with organisations including University of Bristol, Shiseido, JETAA and the Japanese Garden at Cowden.

Shodo Brushes

Booking and more information

Please book your space through Eventbrite. Spaces are limited so advance booking is recommended. Sorry but tickets are non-refundable, unless we need to cancel the class in unexpected circumstances. The classes are for ages 16+. If you would like to find out more please contact us.

To see past Japanese calligraphy activities, please check the Japanese calligraphy news page.

Japanese shodo calligraphy at the Beautiful autumnal Cowden Garden

Brushing sky flowers at Shodo calligraphy

Meditative calm and connecting to spaciousness and light