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D+P Studio News

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

Currently browsing Tag: Shodo calligraphy

Spring experiments and lots of tensho!

5 June 2019

The primary school group on Saturday at North United Communities in Maryhill Hub tried Japanese calligraphy for the first time and had lots of fun!

To begin with we did some short meditation together, just grounding and breathing, settling, and then touching the materials which everyone enjoyed. Then we poured the sumi ink and straight away they were making marks with the fude brushes and engaging with the pictorial aspects of the characters, and the shapes of the strokes.

They were especially keen to try the tensho and kinbun styles of characters, and we chatted about the meanings behind these and how they related to our experience of being connected to nature. There was a fair bit of experimentation in this group with the children exploring the dense quality of the ink and also the hanshi paper which was is a lot thinner they are used to. 

明 akarui – bright was a nice kanji that was enjoyed, and also 春 haru – spring – and dai 大 – great – with other kanji also being worked on. The meanings and rich visual language of each character was quickly absorbed by the young people.

The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

Kindly supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

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Workshop for North United Communities

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Clouds and heart-mind at Maryhill Hub

30 May 2019

Clouds and heart-mind at Maryhill Hub

Secondary school young people at the Friday night North United Communities group embraced Japanese writing and Shodo calligraphy. The group had some meditative time first to feel the textures and weight of the materials, such as the types of fude brushes, suzuri ink well and bunchin paper weight, and to settle and breathe deeply, before beginning.

Clouds and heart-mind at Maryhill Hub

Kumo 雲 – cloud – was especially popular in the kaisho style. And with a few participants being anime fans such as of Natsu Dragneel, so we worked on natsu 夏- summer – as well as a bonus!

Clouds and heart-mind at Maryhill Hub
Clouds and heart-mind at Maryhill Hub
Clouds and heart-mind at Maryhill Hub

Some young people also enjoyed working on kokoro 心 – heart or mind. One young participant even worked on the hiragana syllabary which was fantastic and we explored some of the pronunciation of these as well as the kanji characters.

Clouds and heart-mind at Maryhill Hub
Clouds and heart-mind at Maryhill Hub
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

Kindly supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

**********

Workshop for North United Communities

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Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre

21 May 2019

At our first Sasakawa Foundation sponsored event in Ruchill, local children and staff tried out Japanese calligraphy for the first time, using traditional materials such as fude brushes and sumi ink to write some Chinese kanji characters. We explored a natural theme of light and space. 

Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre

We started with some discussion about the styles and type of imagery, and just a little about the history! Then after some demonstration, we worked from tsuki 月, moon, and hi 日, sun or day. The young people really engaged with the peaceful and attentive way of working, and with the tensho and kaisho styles, and surprisingly told us it was so easy! They wanted more kanji to work from 🙂

Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre

Next we worked on mountains and water, or landscape, sansui 山水, a nice simple word with two characters. Then ai 愛, love, and onto dai 大, great or large, which has a lovely balance and contrast between the type of brushstrokes. No problem for the Ruchill young folk! 

Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre
Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre
Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre
Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre
Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre

We then worked on each person’s name in the katakana syllabary, which we encouraged them to add to some of their pieces, or just try it on a single sheet of paper. 

Shodo calligraphy at Ruchill Community Centre
The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

Kindly supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

**********

Workshop for North United Communities

**********

Category: Art Groups Tags: , , , ,

The way of sho

24 April 2019

At Zen Heart Brush this time we worked with the characters for Shodo – the way of writing. 書 Sho/ kaku can mean to write, to draw or to paint so has a fairly broad range of interpretation. Lots of horizontal strokes in this character!

The way of sho
The way of sho
The way of sho

道 Dou/ michi – meaning way, road, teachings such as Buddha way – visually varies a lot from tensho to kaisho styles, especially the foot moving forward on the left side (hen radical), itself meaning walk or advance. We looked briefly at the roots of meaning of this Chinese character which are ancient and shamanic.

The way of sho

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Kokyou – the eternal mirror

24 April 2019

Kokyou - the eternal mirror

We first had some fun loosening up with some markmaking before working on the kanji character 古 ko / furui for old or ancient. Exploring the oldest bone carving style of character was really fun in addition to the tensho and kaisho styles.

Kokyou - the eternal mirror

鏡 Kyou/ kagami meaning mirror had a lort more strokes to work with but we enjoyed the contrast with the ko character. This relates to the old Chinese bronze mirrors.

Kokyou - the eternal mirror
Kokyou - the eternal mirror

Combining both kanji together with the resulting sound Kokyou, has a very old Chinese meaning – mirrors are the origin of yin and yang and regulate the body eternally – as well as a later meaning in Buddhism – in the ancient mirror nothing is discriminated, everything is shown.

Kokyou - the eternal mirror

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Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

1 March 2019

In January Blair visited Japan as part of a project kindly funded by the GB Sasakawa Foundation. He had an exciting packed schedule learning about various Shodo calligraphy styles of Japanese calligraphy with Shodo masters in Tokyo, and investigating mindful meditation practices with different teachers and monks in Tokyo and the Hokuriku area.

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

He met respected Japanese Zazen meditation (Zen) teachers to investigate connections between mindful meditation practice for calm and well-being, Japanese harmony with the environment and Shakyo practice. Shakyo is a peaceful, meditative method of tracing the Japanese and Chinese kanji characters of sutras such as the Heart Sutra. His teachers introduced him to Ganshinkei’s (Yan Zhenqing) calligraphy being exhibited at Tokyo National Museum.

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

It was a fun trip for Blair and he was able to stay in an old Soto Shu temple as well as learn from masters like Issho Fujita who are knowledgeable about many Japanese practices related to Buddhism and mindfulness. He also visited Natadera temple and caves, an old Shingon temple dating to the 8th century – he found connections there between the sacred earth and nature worship of Shinto, Hakusan mountain reverance and Buddhist meditative practice.

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

There were many mysteries and places he would have liked to spend more time delving into, but he couldn’t stop too long before hopping on the next bus or shinkansen train to reach a new Zazen meeting or Shodo workshop! Blair is very thankful for all the support he received in Japan, from many kind and helpful individuals as well as teachers and monks.

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

From March to May we are running a series of free workshops in the Glasgow area exploring the themes mentioned above.

7th March 2019
Ruchill After School P4-P7 Shodo Japanese Calligraphy

8th March 2019
Maryhill 12+ Shodo Japanese Calligraphy

9th March 2019
Maryhill Breakfast Club Shodo Japanese Calligraphy

25th April 2019
Maryhill Art Group – Japanese calligraphy night

28th April 2019
Introduction to Japanese Sho Calligraphy

4th May 2019
Introduction to Shakyo – Tracing the Sutras

We will have fun trying out and discussing Japanese Shodo calligraphy, meditation and mindful awareness, and investigate how these practices can help us connect with our environment through markmaking. Also we will look for shared cultural connections for instance with Celtic and Pictish symbols and pictograms. There is very little knowledge about mindful Shakyo practice, which is a calming and activity aiding wellbeing and awareness, this is a new practice for people in the UK.

Winter clarity and creative exploration in Japan

 

The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

Kindly supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation


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Arts and culture project – calligraphy, meditation and Shakyo

3 January 2019

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

Supported by the Sasakawa Foundation, we will be running some free workshops in the North, West and central areas of Glasgow for young people and adults to discuss, explore and have fun trying out Japanese Shodo calligraphy, with some meditation and mindful awareness, such as the peaceful and meditative practice of Shakyo. Look out for dates in late Winter and Spring 2019! We will announce which groups are free to join (please note Zen Heart Brush is not part of this project).

Tracing the Sutras – Shakyo Peaceful practice following the Heart SutraTracing the Sutras – Shakyo Peaceful practice following the Heart Sutra

We hope to inspire people in and beyond Glasgow to connect with their environment through markmaking and look for shared cultural connections between Japan and Scotland, for instance with Celtic and Pictish symbols and pictograms.

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

Skybrush Earthbrush

 

The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

Kindly supported by The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation

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Exploring the calligraphy of the great earth at Heart Brush

21 December 2018

In this last session of the year, we talked about the meanings of Daichi 大地, great earth or vast earth, and the various styles that could be used for both these characters.

Exploring the calligraphy of the great earth at Heart Brush

We especially looked at the possible styles for Dai – 大, a kanji – Chinese character – meaning big, large or great, which appears so simply with its three strokes, but has quite a balance to it. The symmetry of this character can change a lot depending on how it is brushed, and if using the tensho, kaisho, gyosho or sosho styles. It is interesting how the original pictogram of a person changed into the meaning of large or great.

Exploring the calligraphy of the great earth at Heart Brush

Exploring the calligraphy of the great earth at Heart Brush

Exploring the calligraphy of the great earth at Heart Brush

Participants experimented with smaller characters using fudepen 筆ペン brush pens, as well as takepen 竹ペン bamboo pens ( handmade and not that easy to find in Japan, very beautiful marks) and noticed the different feel and style of the marks from the larger and softer fude brushes. Towards the end some folk tried the two kanji of Daichi together.

Exploring the calligraphy of the great earth at Heart Brush

Exploring the calligraphy of the great earth at Heart Brush

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Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

8 December 2018

The old tensho character for mu – nothing – is actually a pictogram, either of a person dancing, or holding ceremonial pieces of wood, so it is really interesting to work on.

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

The more complicated tensho has a strong balance and the kaisho style of mu we worked with has a lighter feel to work with the shin – heart-mind.

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

無心 mushin has zen meaning which we chatted about (could be translated a carefree and unfixed heart-mind), as does unsui 雲水 – clouds and water, which can also mean zen practitioners such as monks and nuns.

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

Sui being one of the five elements, and un (or kumo) being cloud, with it’s rain shapes like tears or dots of water falling from the sky..

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

It was nice to experiment with the different styles and have some freedom on the full page of the hanshi paper.

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

Mushin and Unsui calligraphy at Heart Brush

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Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

29 November 2018

It was a peaceful journey to Lenzie along the quiet paths and roads. When we arrived we found inspiring examples by Margaret of ink markmaking using a branch or twig from each of the varied types of trees in the grounds. Birch, Plum, Alder, Rowan, Larch, Fir, Hawthorn… and many other beautiful trees with their different character and textures.

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

After settling in, we began with a chat about the day with the theme of being with the transition of autumn into winter, the feeling of form and also space, and looked at examples of ancient markmaking such as Pictish symbols and runes from Scotland alongside the Chinese and Japanese characters. These were Kouyou 紅葉 – Autumn colours, literally crimson leaves – and Toukou 冬光 – Winter light. The tree runes shape from Maeshowe in Orkney was very similar to the oldest leaf shapes from ancient China.

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

We meditated sitting outside by the energetic fire, guided by Margaret, and were aware of the earthy form of the autumn leaves on the ground, the seasonal colours, the heat from the fire, the blue grey smoke and the way we could see through the flames in a flickering changing image. It started to drizzle and we headed back to the cozy workshop with some leaves, twigs and pine cones we had gathered.

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Our markmaking with the Japanese fude brushes helped us loosen up, working with vertical and horizontals and noticing the different feeling in our body and core as we did this. Then we used the beautiful autumnal natural objects to make some marks, being amazed by the variety of textures possible, before trying out some of the styles of calligraphy, from the oldest methods carved into bone or later stone, Blair guiding some demos from different versions of the leaf and red characters.

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

We found it helpful to notice the very different ways of working using the brushes and natural objects, and how they related to the more modern styles such as kaisho or the more ancient styles such as tensho, which we found had more in common with other ancient marks.

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

After a tasty, heart warming lunch we had a short rest, then headed back outside into the west woods this time to meditate being aware of the winter light – standing by the trees. We noticed the light framed by the fragmented lines of branches while looking up through the trees, or through our hands, and the colour of the sky and the temperature of the space and air. It was noticeably cooling down as we were out! With the soft sounds of the bell we walked back together, picking up one or two more things to experiment with, some were just ideal for using!

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Tealights were lit and these helped us be aware of the darkening cooler light outside and emerging warmth and intimacy inside the space. There was a final moment of radiant golden sunset light coming through the examples on the windows into the workshop.

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Taking the two characters winter and light as our guide we continued calligraphy, and also had some fun playing with the materials and ink, the leaves and pine cones were just perfect for some direct printmaking! One of the participants had a winter squirrel named Syril who kindly supervised the last part of the day!

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

Being with the season changing – Autumn into Winter

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