CREDO





Shodo calligraphy is a Japanese art form of handwriting with a rich history and tradition. The word “shodo”, or “sho”, comprises two characters; 書 (to write) and 道 (a path). Thus it would suggest that calligraphy is a way of being through writing, a path that one chooses as a sense of being. Shodo in Japanese literary means “the way of artistic writing”. Calligraphy is a way of writing mindfully while creating beautiful work.

Having lived over decades away from the native country Japan, I approach Japanese calligraphy from a different perspective. I re-evaluate and engage the art form in the global point of view. This enables me to formulate an original method based on the traditional techniques in a contemporary perspective.

Historically, Shodo was studied by the Japanese nobilities in medieval times in Japan. In the same period, the concept of Bushidō was made the basis for ethics and philosophy, and influenced the nobilities’ daily practice and their lifestyles. It remains relevant in Japan today.

I integrate part of this concept into my calligraphy courses.

Integrate one’s abilities to practice
Respect one’s needs
Honor to one’s creation

With this in mind, my program is based on three main approaches.

Holistic
Shodo calligraphy is a holistic practice that integrates mind and body as a unit. Through the practice, one will learn to relax and improve one’s mood with controlled calmness and attention.

Experiential
Learning by doing, a hands-on approach is key to practice calligraphy.

Process oriented
In Shodo, all mistakes are part of the process and it is the way to improve skills. There is no right or wrong in the practice. I focus on the process rather than its result, as calligraphy is an open-ended practice. No mistakes - No progress.

Built upon these approaches, my program follows 3 basic principles in physical, mind and spiritual levels.

In order to get into the right state of mind to practice calligraphy, breathing and posture are essential.
Breathing grounds you to calm down.
Maintaining good posture leads to align the body and stabilizes the mind.

Basic principles 1 (Physical level)
• Breathing
• Posture

Basic principles 2 (Mind level)
Shodo has a meditative aspect to calming the body and mind. To engage in the practice, being in the state of no-mind - free from disturbances is important. To achieve this, focus, calm and relax one’s mind to be in the moment of making calligraphy.

• Focus
• Relax
• Calm

Basic principles 3
Next level to explore Shodo calligraphy is to study balance, rhythm and flow. Balance between the brush strokes. Flowing the strokes and possessing rhythms to make one unit of art form.

• Balance
• Flow
• Rhythm

© sumi works