Shodõ Calligraphy Art— Japanese Oriental Aesthetics Workshop
Last week, our colleague Masepon from Vivistop Kanazawa visited us, and thanks to her we were able to immerse ourselves in Japanese art in one of the Japanese-themed workshops, try different art techniques in Japanese calligraphy Shodõ art style and rice paper coloring technique in Sumi-Nagasi=Marbling style.
At the beginning of the workshop, vivinauts were excited to find out where Kanazawa is, how many people live in that city, and what is the size of Kanazawa. We were able to compare the cities of Kanazawa and Tallinn and discuss how they are both similar and different. For example, we learned that there are about the same number of people living in Kanazawa and Tallinn, but Kanazawa is almost 3 times larger in terms of the area.
Masepon then introduced us to Shodõ’s art style, giving various examples. Shodõ calligraphy is one of the most popular visual arts in Japan. Calligraphic works are valued no less than paintings. But this type of visual art has a deep philosophical meaning in addition to its artistic values.
The relationship between simple and elegant wabi-sabi — one of the basic principles of oriental aesthetics, is clearly reflected in calligraphic works. There is nothing random in the Eastern calligraphy: every line and point has a beginning, a direction, a form and an end. The balance between the elements is important, and even an empty space speaks volumes. Hieroglyphs are harmonious, proportional, balanced. We learned that the Shodõ painting style originated in China and only then reached Japan. Shodõ is calligraphy, the “way of writing” characters, in the simplest sense, calligraphy is the art of beautiful writing. The master creates a work of art with ink on rice paper with a bamboo brush. It embodies harmony and beauty.
The people of the East believe that hieroglyph has a sacred meaning, because in the East the star is considered a message from heaven, and therefore the calligraphic sign carries an energy charge. Introducing the shodõ style of painting, Masepon showed us the characters where we had to guess and look for the correct character on the two characters shown in the picture. This writing technique allows one to approach its art through personal experience and feeling. There are no right or wrong answers here.
Before we got down to the practical activities of calligraphy, Masepon offered to make vivinauts Sumi-Nagasi=marbling style patterns on rice paper. It doesn’t just have to be on paper, it can be on fabric, wood, or generally anything that can be put in a water bath. There are several techniques, one of the most famous being Turkish ebru and Japanese suminagashi. All techniques are united by the fact that the pattern is transferred from the surface of the water to paper or other material, and each pattern is unique, i.e. it cannot be repeated twice. The process of dyeing the rice paper was very exciting and challenging — everyone did a great job. Drawings on water are usually made with special colors and have characteristic patterns. The master’s standard tools include wooden sticks, brushes, studs.
Vivinauts were very excited to dive into the world of Shodõ’s painting style and let their imagination fly. They studied different words and it was interesting to find out how it is possible to remember all the spellings and whether Google really helps in finding the correct spellings.
At the end of the workshop, everyone got answers to their questions and several different patterns were made on rice paper, and with the help of a bamboo brush, a lot of practice was given to writing hieroglyphs in the shodõ writing technique.
Thank you so much Vivistop Kanazawa and Masepon! Big thank you to Hikari who also came to the workshop to help!
Text and photos: Vivita Estonia