Written by Joy Procida
Hi There! Today’s Excellent Adventure has an international flare to it. For starters, we decided to have lunch at Robokyo’s in Greensburg. Pretty good Japanese steak house if you are looking for somewhere different to eat. Anyway, have you noticed for those of you who have been to a Japanese steak house before that most of the Hibachi chefs are Mexican? 🙂 There are some American chefs and of course a Russian chef with two missing thumbs (we didn’t ask) as well, but I don’t see very many Japanese chefs. Just curious why that is??? If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
Then, we went to Seton Hill University to drop Jill off to teach. After that, I was on a mission to find a size 2 bamboo brush and sumi ink for my drawing class. Found a brush, but the only sumi ink that I found was a sumi block and a sumi stone and I had no idea what that was. So, of course, I only purchased the brush. When Cassandra and I came back to pick Jill up, we stopped in the student lounge to wait. Sitting in there was the mother of the student Jill was teaching as well. I wanted to get a better look at the brush I just bought, so I pulled it out of the bag. As I pulled it out, the student’s mother (She is Chinese and her name is Lori – made up name) says to me: “Do you do calligraphy?” I said no, I’m taking a drawing class and our instructor wanted us to get a bamboo brush and sumi ink. At which point, she tells me that I have the correct brush and adds a few points on how to shape the brush when the bristles get all out of shape. I also asked her if she knew where I could get sumi ink. She says, “I make my own.” At this point I’m like, “What, you mean I can make sumi ink?” So, she begins to tell me that she does calligraphy and has done so since she was a child at the age of 3 while in China. She showed me the correct way to hold the brush and told me that when she was first learning, her teacher had her hold an egg in her hand while holding the brush and she wasn’t allowed to drop the egg. Sometimes the teacher would come by and just pull the brush out of your hand, she said. I asked her, “How do you make your own sumi ink?” She said you get a stick and a block and add a little water to the block and then grind the stick on the block. She also added that she only uses sumi ink that she makes and not ink that is bottled because it all goes together. It’s all about the emotions involved in preparing the ink, the way you sit, etc……..the entire process of creating calligraphy.
I did some searching on YouTube to find out more about sumi ink drawing and this is one of the videos that I found helpful:
This process, creating a gray scale, is the first thing that we did in drawing class in order to get used to the medium and to use as a guideline in the drawing we would work on in class, although, that flower palette is nice!!! Wish I had something similar as well as the water container. I may have to look around the house to see if I can come up with something.