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JOURNEY OF THE SENSES :: A Calligraphy Primer

 

 

Calligraphy is an artform I've practiced since I was five.  Brush and ink painting is a practice that hones an inner sense of balance and dynamism. In parks in China you will see practitioners writing on the ground simply with water, the characters gradually evaporating without a trace. It is the the refinement of the gesture that drives them, its permanence is irrelevant.

The ancient triumvirate of brush, ink, and rice paper (or silk) remains an unsurpassed vehicle for focusing the mind. Moving a loaded brush across a receiving surface, we achieve that most powerful experience of being completely present, yet, at the same time, somehow disappearing into the act itself.

The marks are remnants of our gesture, a dynamic act captured in two dimensions. The motion, the breath animating it, can be intuited by looking at such marks years, centuries, millennia later. 

I encourage you to engage in this most simple yet infinitely expressive medium. There is no editing, no second guessing, no revision — just the touch of charged bristles upon a surface, the resiliency of the wet hairs against soft, absorbent paper. I encourage you to lose yourself in the magic of seeing infinite tones of black bleed into white, creating a world before of your eyes. Your purer self will emerge.

Here is a wonderful resource for both materials and for the culture surrounding brush & ink painting and calligraphy: inkston

 

 

The brush is a vehicle, the paper, a landscape. But the ink is what you are remembered by.

 

 

You enter a scholar's study, a world of thoughts and ideas. Your mind travels. There are infinite possibilities, but the scent of ink is the common thread. 

Traditionally in China, every scholar's study contained the "four treasures" — calligraphy brush, paper, ink and inkstone — symbolizing one's intellect and taste. They ground you, creating a mindset of growth and adventure: the more rooted you feel, the more confidence you have to reach farther. Deeper. Into the unknown.

Embodying hand, heart, and mind, it inspired the scent of my first fragrance: INK. Launched in December, each vial is hand-bottled at Atelier Lan Jaenicke. Its primary notes are amber, musk, cedar, patchouli, camphoraceous and woody incense to evoke the heady atmosphere of the scholar's study. 

 
Who can know how hills and valleys alter?
He only knows the deep ways he wandered.
How many green streams in those cloudy woods?
When spring comes a myriad Peach-filled rivers,
Who knows which one might lead to Paradise?
   
'Peach Blossom Spring' - Wang Wei (699-759 AD)
A master poet, painter, and musician, Wang Wei is regarded as one of the greatest artists of the Tang dynasty.