One forthcoming piece of Buddhist calligraphy will be Dhammapada 204 printed from a true woodcut. The Dhammapada is part of the Pāli Canon & is a collection of verses on various themes. It’s full of pithy material and many verses have a quirky, cranky quality. Each verse is 2-4 lines.
I’ll be carving it on this nice oblong piece of plywood, measuring 7.5cm wide by 63cm long.
The text will be in Pāli in rotunda gothic, which is a departure from my usual pointed pen writing. I’ve always liked that style, and its bold blocky letters won’t be dinimished by the presence of the striations and strong grain in this bit of wood.
The past couple days I carved a small sample woodcut (from birch plywood). It was not difficult, just time-consuming at approx. 40 minutes per rotunda gothic letter.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that thin curved lines are actually not so difficult to do with woodcut, but maybe not thin enough for Spencerian. This makes me think a bit beyond my earlier plan and consider baroque italic. The wood grain interferes with fine carving less than expected.
Query thru the contact page if you’re curious to see images.
Lately I’ve started to consider doing another Buddhist calligraphy print. Inspired by some of the very impressive work of the 15th century woodblock carvers, the idea of doing it as a true woodblock has great appeal! This seems especially appropriate since the earliest dated printed book was a Chinese print of the Diamond Sutra done from woodblocks.
Not feeling quite up to the challenge of doing a woodcut relief print in a pointed-pen style, the plan is to use one of the broad-edge pen hands.
Being a first attempt at wood carving, the content will probably be something pretty simple, maybe the 7 factors of awakening, or 8-fold path items, or a bit from the Dhammapada. I do want to include at least a little flourish- or scroll-work however. Much as I like Latin, this one seems better suited to Pāli.
As with all my Buddhist calligraphy pieces, this work will be for free distribution.
I’ve scheduled the next pointed pen club ‘office hour’ for Thursday, April 9, from 6:30pm – 8pm.
I’ll be at the Jebena coffee shop, 990 Polk St. (at Geary). The best way to get there is to take the 38 bus (west/east along Geary/O’farrell) or the 19 bus (north/south along Polk).
Look for the “Calligraphy Club Office Hour” sign
The Spencerian calligraphy classes at Urban Bazaar will be taking a hiatus. The teacher is taking some time off to pursue other teaching opportunities, and to work on revising the curriculum, course structure, and handout materials. It is anticipated that the classes might start up again possibly in late 2014.
Meanwhile, the individual lessons course will still be available!! — see the “Lessons” tab for more details, and use the “Contact” form for inquiries about signing up for individual lessons.
Here are the upcoming calligraphy workshops at Urban Bazaar:
Session 1’s: December 4 and December 11, 7pm – 9:30pm
Session 2: December 17, 7pm – 9:30pm
For complete workshop descriptions, details, and to get your ticket, go to the Urban Bazaar Class and Workshop Site.
Once again, February’s calligraphy workshop is completely filled up! What a smart and talented group of 8 students showed up for it. And now there is even a waiting list for future workshops!