Japanese Brush Lettering – An Introduction
Thursday, February 28th, 6:00-8:30pm
Instructor: Yutaka Ai
We feel honored to host Yutaka Ai, an established Japanese artist, calligrapher, and tea practitioner, for this introduction to the ancient and revered art of Japanese brush lettering. We almost hesitate to call the event a class, because it’s so much more. Ai, who comes to class in her grandmother’s kimono, strives to create an authentic cultural experience for students. She begins by pouring organic Japanese matcha tea and sharing traditional confections to establish an atmosphere of Zen-like, calm attentiveness. Since all movements must be done mindfully and as gracefully as possible to create characters with an aesthetically pleasing balance and form, the proper state of mind is important. Ai provides students with the same type of brushes, ink, and paper that students in Japan use. Each character is an ideogram – a stylized picture representing an idea, not a specific word or phrase – made from a set of common strokes. Ai explains the stories behind the characters she’s selected for class as she demonstrates how to properly hold the brush and form individual strokes. Following the Japanese manner of teaching, she’ll draw a character and have you copy it multiple times next to hers. The goal is not perfectly duplicating her character. Each person’s writing is always a bit different; their true artist heart reveals itself as they become lost in the rhythm of repeating the strokes. At the end of class, you’ll choose one character to use on a final piece of art paper suitable for framing or for a card. Besides your finished piece, you’ll also take home the Japanese brush.
Please bring the following optional materials to class:
Cancellations made up to 14 days prior to the first class meeting will be refunded or, at the participant's option, used to pay for another class. Two Hands Paperie will retain a $10 processing fee for EACH class cancelled by a participant. After 14 days, there is no refund or credit. In addition, the fee for a class cancelled within this 14-day timeframe by a participant cannot be transferred to pay for another class. These policies are to ensure that teachers are compensated for their investment in materials and in time spent preparing for the class. We reserve the right to cancel a class if fewer than 3 students enroll 48 hours prior to the scheduled class time. If for any reason Two Hands Paperie cancels a class, students will be called at the phone number on file and refunded the FULL class fee.
Yutaka Ai is an artist, a calligrapher, the granddaughter of a Japanese calligraphy master, and a Japanese Cultural Heritage ambassador who now lives in the Boulder area. Ai loves sharing her knowledge of her culture with others through Chanoyu, the ritualized tea ceremony that’s been practiced in Japan for centuries. With origins in Zen Buddhism, Chanoyu is a spiritual experience in which the participants strive to transcend the ordinary in order to discover the meaning hidden within objects, fellowship, and nature. Ai remembers being always surrounded by tea, calligraphy, and art from the time she was very little, but it wasn’t until she emigrated that she appreciated what a powerful, healing force they can be. She was living in a foreign country by herself, stressed to the max by her high-tech job, and constantly getting sick. She reconnected with the meditative ritual of drinking Matcha tea every day and making art, then realized that she was no longer falling ill. It was a difficult decision to quit her software engineering job and devote herself to tea and art, but she took the risk.
Her passion now is to perform the traditional ritual of Chanoyu, to share its underlying philosophy of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility with everyone, and to practice calligraphy. "Calligraphy is a form of meditation," says Ai as she calmly adds the characters to her art and reminisces about her grandfather. The Chanoyu philosophy and meditation are the foundation of her art and calligraphy. She paints with the intention of healing, using ground up crystals to infuse her paintings with Nature’s energy. Ai is grateful for what she has, and feels blessed to have shared her paintings and her calligraphy with collectors around the world. Learn more about her philosophy and art at www.yutakaartofhealing.com.