sabato 31 marzo 2012

Japanese calligraphy and painting workshop at The Wabisabi Culture Centre, San Ginesio

The Wabisabi cultural centre San Ginesio, Le Marche Italy.
The brush and ink, authentic Japan in Le Marche

As admirers of the graceful art of calligraphy (we have several banners hanging around our home,) we were quick to accept the invite to attend a Japanese calligraphy and painting workshop at the Wabisabi Cultural Centre in San Ginesio. Two authentic Japanese masters introduced us to a fusion of alternate styles; Pictorial Shodo inspired by nature and Sume-i traditional script calligraphy. When we experimented with painting our names we realised that all 6 women in the group were called Sarah, the female contingent felt there must be some meaning to this but we couldn't figure out what that was....(Idries unhelpfully suggested it meant it was a very common name). From the initial exercise of creating our own ink by blending water with an ink stick onto a stone block, to the brush-work itself, the whole process was deeply relaxing. Our teachers explained that the process was a Zen practice in which we were encouraged not to 'think' too much about but just to 'do'. 3 hours has never gone so quickly. 

The master at work.
What stayed with us when we returned home was the experience of not thinking but just doing and how quickly and effortlessly the teachers produced great artwork in this state. Some of their most beautiful paintings were just a couple of brush strokes. Back home we had a look at a book that included writings by the great Chinese Zen painter Shih-T'ao. In discussing calligraphy and painting, he spoke of the effects of one's surroundings on the artwork itself. The serene haven of the Wabisabi centre was the ideal setting to explore this sacred art. In the words of Shih-T'ao; 'He who moves in the hustle and bustle of the world handles his ink an brush with caution and restraint. Thus the environment impinges upon man, can only do him harm and make him unhappy. With peace of mind comes painting...for the important thing in artwork is contemplation. When one contemplates the One (unity of all things), one sees it and that makes one happy. Then one's paintings have a mysterious depth which is unfathomable'. 

Is Idries thinking too much?
One of the many Sarah's trying her hand at Japanese script

Sarah getting inspiration for her brushwork.

Some of the results of the workshop with
a proud new owner. Yes! we framed it