January is the time for me to write down my goals for the new year.
I have been going to see New Year Sunrise to worship it on New Year’s Day for about 30 years.
I plan my new year goals according to the lunar calendar, so I spend the time until the Lunar New Year in February with an awareness of what I want to do in the New Year.
January is the perfect time to start writing down what’s on my mind, what I am thinking, and what I am feeling. I like writing down my goals and what I can accomplish.
Review what I wrote last year and see what I accomplished and didn’t.
If I had a goal that I couldn’t achieve last year, look at it honestly and think about whether I want to work towards the same goal this year.
Sometimes, my interests and feelings change, and I don’t continue. It’s a good experience to accept things and my changes and not judge them.
Why did I decide to take this workshop as my New Year goal?
Well, something happened when I was five, and my parents changed the kindergartens I was going to. There was a famous Japanese calligraphy “Shodo” master who was the younger brother of the director of the new kindergarten I started attending.
I began learning Japanese calligraphy, “Shodo,” under this master.
At the beginning of the classes, I had learned how to make Sumi ink and doodling with a Japanese Calligraphy brush.
For some reason, I liked mixing Sumi ink stick with water and rubbing it by hand on an ink-stone.
I forget how much time passed when I was rubbing the Sumi ink stick, and my teacher sometimes came to check on me and said, “Are you ready to dip your brush in Sumi ink?”
Maybe I was in a zen state even at a young age, hahaha!
It could be because the scent of Sumi ink and the sound of Sumi ink rubbing the Suzuri (Inkstone) relaxed me.
I discovered that I could make Sumi ink darker than midnight color and Sumi ink color to match dawn, which was closer to gray.
The color of the Sumi ink changed depending on the movement of my hand and the vibration of my feelings.
Slowly moving my hands and making ink gave “the shy little Sanae” confidence and helped her calm down.
There was a time when my teacher encouraged me to exhibit many of my works in calligraphy exhibitions at art museums, and I won numerous awards.
Then, when I was in elementary school, I noticed that my father used fountain pens, and I was drawn to them so much. I remember buying my first fountain pen when I was 13 years old.
I wanted to find my favorite color of ink for my fountain pen.
Green ink was the color for me!
After finding green ink, I sent postcards and requested songs every week to the late-night radio program “Ama-chin’s Young Request” in my hometown of Nagoya.
I could request songs over the phone, but since so many people were calling, I couldn’t always get through, so I sent postcards.
I am sure I was spending more time writing these postcards than studying for school.
I used my pen name, “Green Puff” (this name came from the popular Japanese cotton facial puff name Clean Puff) because I used a green ink fountain pen, and it sounded cute.
Since everyone sent postcards with a ballpoint pen and no one sent them with fountain pens and colored ink, especially green, DJ Ama-chin chose my card every week and played my favorite songs. It was a sweet memory I almost forgot.
September 8th, 2001, I had a near-death experience in a car accident with severe injuries, and the doctors told me I would not be able to walk anymore. You might be able to imagine how much I struggled for a long time. I was bedridden for one year, painful physical therapy, and learned to live a wheelchair life.
One day, right after I learned to use my wheelchair, I went to orientation for disabled people’s public city van. I met a woman whose name was Evie, and she introduced me to taking a pen calligraphy class at Emeritus at Santa Monica College. This story you can read here.
Although it is different from Japanese calligraphy, I thought the attitude of preparation and writing was similar.
It calms the mind and makes the atmosphere quiet.
While I practice calligraphy, I notice my dogs and cats family all relax.
I continue to practice pen calligraphy, and a few years ago, I was able to write my own haiku in pen calligraphy and submit “Lotus” with a watercolor hanga print as my first artwork for the college art show.
It reminded me of the old days when I was entering my “Shodo” Calligraphy yo the museum.
So, even though I was disable I still could create art.
There is one more thing, which is ever since I mixed ink colors at Kakimori’s Inkstand in Tokyo in 2019 after undergoing six cycles of Chemotherapy to treat Stage IV Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer when I was diagnosed with “Only Weeks to Live” in 2017. (you can read it here)
The Inkstand had ten basic colors to create/mix many colors, and I was fascinated to create three different colors of my own.
I was also interested in whether there was a way to make ink (not just mixing) using natural dye materials.
I want to make my original “ink” colors someday and hope to be able to create new calligraphy art for college art exhibitions.
So, these are the reasons why I have made “Learn How to Make My Ink” one of my goals for 2024.
It is a seven-week workshop and it has just started.
The first week was Introduction and Module 1, in which I learned what materials and supplies I needed to prepare for making ink.
I am someone who loves glassware; my excitement grew when I saw that the list included glasses such as beakers, flasks, and cylinders.
I liked the fact that I could use rainwater to make ink.
The perfect timing is that it had been raining the last few days here, so I corrected the rainwater.
This weekend, I got all the materials and supplies to start making Gum Arabic Solution and Shellac Solution.
Doesn’t these glass containers remind you of a chemistry class?
Making Gum Arabic Stock Solution was like making almond milk late and took only a little time.
Shellac Stock Solution was like making caramel syrup first.
The instructor, Tim, said,” It would take one hour to make,” but it took me almost two hours. I think my bath water to melt Shellac was not deep enough, so I will know the next time.
Anyway, I enjoyed a slow pace on Sunday time to complete it.
This workshop has been much more exciting than I expected so far.
I can’t wait to make my original color ink.
I look forward to posting more photos on my Instagram and Facebook and writing about them on my blog again after I learn.