Cleaning up, letting go…sort of

Well, as I am putting things away in the new studio, its clear I will need to cull a bit over the next couple months. One thing I found is that I have saved way too many versions of my calligraphy scrolls. I studied Japanese calligraphy (shodo) for ten years very seriously.  More on that at another time. I’ll tell you all about my Sensei’s and the organizations I studied with and what it was like. But today, I need to lighten my load of stored scrolls.

These long ones take about an hour each to do just the calligraphy, not including the prep time preparing the ink by rubbing the sumi stick on the stone with water. I often did up to 20 versions of each.  It is so hard to get one perfect and its mesmerizing. The best versions were chosen by my Sensei and submitted to the guild, never to be seen by me again. The next best version I would have backed via wet-mounting with rice or wheat glue and made into a scroll for posterity. Sometimes I would back a few extra into scrolls to sell or give away as gifts.

So I decided since I have all the finished scrolls still, I should recycle all these extra versions, which are probably the 4th, 5th, 6th best of each–I already threw out all the others past that!  Pang of attachment.  Ok, I will play with them a bit, take a look at them, touch them one more time, and take some photographs. THEN I will put them into the recycling. OK, well, maybe I’ll just organize them by style and take a photo of that.  OK, now let’s choose the best one in each pile. OK, Maybe I’ll just keep one of each. All right, OK, at least I let go of most of them.  It was nice to dance with them again.

Thanks for sharing this moment with me…..







The three styles, right to left, Kaisho or block style, Gyosho (semi-cursive version of Kaisho) and Sosho, a cursive version and more abstract

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5 thoughts on “Cleaning up, letting go…sort of

  1. Stunning! Thanks for sharing them. Your talents are wide and many. An idea: you could also give the ones that were headed to the recycle bin to a school or non-profit art center for use in collage. They could still live on!


  2. Turning yet another shade of green with envy! My Chinese characters are SO lame! I could never get the hang of it. Yours are so fluid, graceful and look effortless, yet they are balanced, fit and the perfect blend of thick and thin. Ugh. And now you’ve got more than you know what to do with! What a dilemma! xo


  3. Oh Carol, you are making me cry. This takes me back to my days in Hong Kong! I sometimes dream of going back to live life there for a couple more years. In my minds eye I can see myself walking down the street and eyeing all those sign with chinese characters wandering what they say but loving the beauty of each stoke. One day…..Thanks for sharing.


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