Japanese calligraphy

Japanese Calligraphy: student experience

Not sure what Japanese Calligraphy entails? One of our Learning Support tutors, Jess Copper, became the student and tries it out this art form.

On the table lay our template - eight bold intersecting strokes reading ‘horse’ in Japanese calligraphy. We had half an hour to create our own character, with Hisano Luttman, Morley’s Japanese tutor, on hand to guide us.  As inspiration, work by Hisano’s father - an eminent exponent of the art - was on display, and we had the beautiful authentic materials of calligraphy to help us: bowls gleaming with black ink, fat brushes (fude) and delicate paper (kami), held in place with smooth pebbles (bunchin).

So began our attempts to perfect the dimensions and panache of the original. Initial attempts on newspaper had all the flair of road markings, but with tips from Hisano - keep the elbow high, hold the brush at the mid-point, commit the brush to paper with authority- our characters began to shape up. Finally, Hisano gave us the finely grained kami paper and eight strokes swept from the brush one last time.  And with the elegant Japanese character for Morley stamped in red at the bottom of the page our work was done. Or perhaps that should be our work of art.

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