Posts Tagged 'zen'

Shodo Iwagaki


Design by Shodo Iwagaki.


This exhibition card took Shodo two days to carve.

Yesterday I spent a lovely afternoon in the sunny yard of Tortoise, a lovely Japanese store on Abbott Kinney. I was attending a two hour woodblock printing workshop with Shodo Iwagaki, a Soto-Zen Buddhist monk visiting from Japan. I felt very privileged to be attending the class, as it was limited to only eight people. Shodo Iwagaki lives at the Mairai-ji zen temple in Okayama, Japan, where he has worked on his woodblock printing for many years. I wish I could show some of the photographs taken by Keiko Shinomoto (founder of Tortoise) of the inside of his temple – huge, minimalist, geometric woodblock prints on the panels of the sliding doors, alongside Noguchi lamps. It looked so striking.

For the workshop we were supplied with a Japanese woodcarving set, two small panels of wood and a postcard sized piece of handmade paper produced by a friend of Shodo. Also plenty of paper to sketch and test print on. Shodo suggested we work on a design using three shapes – a circle, triangle and square. These are apparently very zen shapes and can be interpreted in endless ways. And it was a simple enough brief to achieve a design within the two hours we had! It was interesting to see how varied the designs ended up. Everyone’s image was very unique. Some were abstract, and some were arranged to form a representation of something else. The actual process of carving the wood was so peaceful and enjoyable. I feel totally inspired to continue doing some printing in this way … and hopefully applying it to fabric as well as paper.

Shodo Iwagaki currently has an exhibition of some of his works at Tortoise, 1342 1/2 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291 – until the 7th June 2009.









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