Calligraphy in Blossom with Marina Soria


If we start from letters the result will be pretty much the same, but if we move to a much broader shape resource in nature such as flowers, leaves and branches, then the result would be a whole set of new possibilities.

Our starting point will be nature. We’ll exercise with the Japanese brush creating different types of strokes, finding all the possibilities this tool can give us. We will study the basic shape of simple flowers trying to represent them in few strokes like in the sumi-e tradition.

We will research into the Taoist principles of beauty (empathy or resonance, vital rhythm or “chi-yun”, reticence or suggestion, and the empty space or gestalt, western concept)

The Japanese brush and the cola pen will be our tools, first working with sumi and then moving on to colour rendering. The final form will be a concertina book in which natural reverberations will have priority over legibility. The playful aspect of painting will open our minds and the joy in the execution will show through our strokes. Venture into this new world of calligraphy and sumi-e!

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About the Instructor

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961. Degrees in Fine Arts (5 years studies) and Graphic Design (3 years studies). She began lecturing on Graphic Design and Editorial Design in the University of Buenos Aires, and latter on as an Associate Professor in Typography, 1998.

After giving birth to her third daughter, she resigned from university and started her education on calligraphy. She has attended five International Calligraphy Conferences in the USA and three in Europe, taking courses with well known calligraphers such as Thomas Ingmire, Brody Neuenschwander, Ewan Clayton and Monica Dengo, amongst others.

In 2003 she was awarded with the ACA‘s scholarship. In 1997 she founded “Calígrafos de la Cruz del Sur” (Southern Cross Calligraphers), the first Calligraphic Guild in South America.

She has received national & international awards and exhibited her pictorial and calligraphic works in Argentina, Uruguay, USA, Spain, Japan, Germany, Russia and Norway. Her works are part of the Contemporary Museum of Calligraphy in Russia, the Hans-Joachim Burgert´s Collection in Berlin, the Klingspor Museum & the Hoefer Archive in Offenbach, the Arezzo Public Library, the Latin American Collection for the Yale University, the Savannah and Otis Colleges of Arts, the Baylor University and the Harrison Collection at the Newberry Public Library in SF amogst other private collections around the world.

She has published articles in specialized magazines and her works may be seen in LAR Annuals, Bound & Lettered (USA), Novum (Germany), Typo (Mexico), several Argentine magazines and webpages. In 2013, her work was extensively featured in Letter Arts Review: 26:3.

At present she works as an experimental calligrapher and an artist, and continues to teach in her own studio and abroad. In 2013 she organized the 1st International Experimental Calligraphy workshop in Buenos Aires, “Calligraphy in blossom”. Since then, she has been teaching abroad: 2014 Florence, Italia. Portland, Salem, Los Angeles. 2015, Sonoma, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, San Antonio in USA. 2016 Niederaichbach & Bad Sodem in Germany & in 2017 in the Summer School in Winter conference in Melbourne, Australia.

Her main interest is to mingle and blend diverse disciplines: art, textile art, graphic design, sumi-e and calligraphy to challenge the limits of conceptual art and technique. Her strength lies on her creativity.

Materials List

BRUSHES: Our main tool will be the Japanese brush, sizes: small, medium and large. Medium-sized brushes for mixing colours and loading your nibs.

PENS: You may bring some of your favourite tools: ruling pen, cola pen, folded pen, and a variety of smaller sized edged pens or copper plate nibs for small writing.

INK/ COLOURS: Walnut ink and olive green Winsor & Newton watercolour. Choose 2 or 3 other colours, or a colour watercolour palette you would like to work with

PAPER: Your favourite layout paper and you may bring a cheap quality watercolour paper to exercise on. Our final piece will be a concertina book so we will need a good quality paper that is at least 22-1/2 x 30. You may get a bigger sheet, 40 X 27-1/2, that would also work beautifully for a bigger scale book. A couple of sheets of Rives BFK or Arches 140lbs, or something similar. One sheet of Fabriano, Strathmore, Arches or Canson Mi Tientes color paper to build our covers. (When choosing this colour remember to include the same matching colour in a gouache or water colour) You could even bring a printed, marbled, Japanese or paste paper to use as the cover.

BINDING: Two pieces of A3 soft cardboard, 2 or 3mm thick to create the covers. Binding glue and a brush to apply it on to the covers and spare paper to use when gumming them. Perhaps you would like to bring a piece of cloth or light fa- bric to make a Furoshiki wrapping to our book. Or/and one meter long color ribbon matching your cover paper, but in a different tone, if you want to finish the binding with a ribbon.

MISCELLANEOUS: Flowers, branches, leaves and a simple flower pot to create a very basic Ikebana.
Small note book for taking notes, pencil or fibre tip pens for quick writing.Palette for mixing colours and paper towels or rags; tape, scissors, good cutter, glue stick, eraser and a long straight edge metallic rulerA selection of four or five short poems, haikus, quotes or even your own words will do. If related to the nature theme, then that will be most appropriate with our work.

OPTIONAL (OR STUFF WE MAY OR MAY NOT USE)… liquid resist or masking fluid. Chalk pastels. Your own music if you wish.

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