Immerse yourself in the inspiring practice of Shodo

Blair Thomson

Enjoy learning and practicing Shodo 書道 Japanese and Chinese calligraphy with Blair, who first studied the way of calligraphy in Osawano, Japan in 2002 with Master Wakabayashi. He then pursued Shodo and Shakyo sutra tracing at Japanese Zen and other temples with monks and nuns, exploring meditative and mindful aspects of Shodo, and in more recent years with advanced and highly respected kind teachers in Tokyo. He loves sharing what he has learned and helping people explore the styles, history and materials.

We offer One to One sessions with Blair, as well as groups. Please read more info or make a booking below.

Why Shodo?

At our physical groups we practice calligraphy with traditional Japanese sumi ink and fude brushes on washi paper, suitable for complete beginners or those with more experience. At online groups or one to one lessons you could take part with simply a brushpen or fudepen and any paper. We often beginning simply making marks with the ink and trying out some of the strokes, or practicing the meditative zen enso 円相 circle, then working from inspiring Chinese and Japanese characters, relating to nature, meditation or poetry. 

We enjoy trying out the different styles, exploring with our own hands how the kanji changed over the centuries from the origins in the ancient oracle shell and bone characters into the Tensho 篆書 curvy enigmatic style, the width of Reisho 隷書, and the more boxy Kaisho 楷書 style designed for the brush. The fluid Gyosho 行書 and faster flowing Sosho 草書 ‘grass’ style is always a joy to work with too. We also look at examples of masters of the styles such as Chiei from the 7th Century Sui dynasty.

This is a practice where we can really enjoy using the ink and brushes, and be totally immersed in the moment of brushing the character, naturally embracing our imperfections without judgement, feeling grounded, and nurturing our creativity and expression.

Great also for folk with an interest in Japanese or Chinese culture or arts, poetry or language, Zen or Buddhism, and no previous experience is needed to take part. We have regular calligraphy groups online or at the tranquil and welcoming Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre – please see Drawing and Painting Studio events page for what’s on.

To see past Japanese calligraphy activities, please check the Japanese calligraphy news page at the Drawing and Painting Studio.

I enjoyed trying to write the Japanese characters. For a long time I had an interest in these characters. I enjoyed working with all the supplied materials. There was a great variety. The tutor was very helpful, knowledgeable and encouraging. An excellent course. I would recommend any future courses to my friends.

Shodo calligraphy group online – Zen Brush