B1052 Finding the Flow A Calligraphic Journey by Gina Jonas
Introduction to the first chapter by the author:
Recently, in my pursuit of the calligraphic art form, I have discovered an approach to calligraphy that is as deeply concerned with its inner workings, its flow, as with its external image, its form. Decidedly, this is an approach in which a letter's appearance is as much a product of a conscious interaction between body, tool, materials, and life's vital forces, as a consequence of directed strokes. The journey along this approach becomes a process which I would like to call 'Finding the Flow'. My journey as a calligrapher and consequent delight in 'Finding the Flow have inspired me to share my experience with you.
The exercises in this book arose when I began to approach calligraphy as an investigation: when I picked up a tool and made contact with a writing surface with the intention of investigating my personal relationship to this ever-so-familiar situation. Hence it was necessary to become a beginner again, to approach even such basics as pen hold and paper contact, as new territory. And, to my delight, the exercises which arose in this process were not dry or mechanical! To the contrary, because I approached them with awareness, always open to discover more through them, they invigorated me! They brought me into contact with the creative force and energy of calligraphy. Through exploring line throwing, pulling, stretching and drawing it its relationship to the natural forces of tension, pressure and friction were slowly revealed to me.
These forces now infuse my strokes and letters with a quality of power which has brought grace to my motions. Surprisingly, these motions also engender emotion: entered into with care and awareness the exercises transform ordinary physical movement into felt gestural movement. Merging this sensitivity with the pulse of rhythmical movement brings a surge of life and flow to the calligraphic line.
As the mastery of such line slowly develops, so does a confidence and joy in its formation; this result further encourages the hand to dance with the imagination in playful exploration. The source of such delight, recognized by the poet William Blake, is energy: "Energy is eternal delight." We may generate this energy m our movements by consciously incorporating within them the above-
mentioned forces of tension, pressure and friction. Through understanding the operation of these powerful forces, in relation to the drawing of lines and line figures, we may develop the principle of
vital energy in line: tensile elasticity. Interacting with these seemingly impersonal forces, our own energy is released, as is the very personal quality of our unique creativity.
Hence, I invite you to enter into and experience the very forces that give letters life. To develop an understanding of the way in which these forces operate, we will engage in exercises that are both
active and playful in character. These exercises will incorporate movements that are present in many different activities, and so can be described in common terms. From the world of music we have 'bowing' and 'conducting', which cultivate gesture and feeling in relation to movement. From the sphere of sport we have the slalom of skiing, which develops rhythmical movement. From the realm of play we have 'throwing', 'flinging', and 'skipping', in addition to 'springing' and 'jumping' all of which nurture elastic, rhythmical movement. And, perhaps the most fundamental one is that of 'drawing' in the sense of pulling a bowstring in archery, or pulling under tension by which we encourage the growth of tensile elasticity.
I have included the introduction to the first chapter above because it will give you a feeling of Ginas approach to teaching in this beautiful book. Sadly, other than 4 pages in the middle of the book, it is monochrome but this probably appropriate as this an education book rather than a catalogue of work.
This book is known to be recommended by a number of calligraphy teachers.
1st edition, 2006, paperback, ringbound, 82pp, 22 x 28 cm