By Mary Gow
A shrill violin, then a furious drum beat accompanied by a bass guitar with a steady beat, then the bass goes deeper, the violin goes shriller.
My hand is struggling to let go of my mind while pen moves across the page.
This was my first workshop where I listened to experimental music and was prompted to interpret it on paper. A process not to be confused with painting while listening to music.
This is a deliberate call upon my hand to perform according to tempo and beat. I usually enjoy painting to music or Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. My first creations from this calligraphy and poetry workshop were a bit sad looking, I hate to admit.
I know what wondrous expressive calligraphy looks like and it wasn’t flowing for me.
But I had to pardon myself and let myself absorb the great learning that comes – yet may begin with frustration. I knew what I wanted to put down on paper and what would look good. But I allowed myself to draw something crummy looking, something that didn’t have rhythm and proper spacing like the music did, and I even taped it up on the wall when it came time to show our work.
That in itself was a breakthrough for me. To be okay with putting up work that I knew didn’t represent all I could do. I put it up at the risk of getting feedback, yet, it felt liberating to allow imperfection to be on public display.
I’ve attended a LOT of workshops yet this was my first one ever that calligraphy and poetry were combined with music. And within the workshop the calligrapher and the poet explained how they are collaborating with musicians.
One of the calligraphers I admire the most in the world is Thomas Ingmire. He should be designated a National Treasure as far as I’m concerned. His spectacular work transcends letterforms. He’s won numerous awards and his work has been recognized internationally, so I’m not alone in this admiration.
Ingmire has been collaborating for ten years with British poet, David Anwnn (pronounced Ah-newn). Like a dialog, Ingmire reads Anwnn’s poetry and reflects on it then creates calligraphy from his reflections, Anwnn answers back, and it continues and continues.
Both appeared and spoke of their collaboration at the Book Club of California on Thursday evening, April 7, 2016.
I knew that night that the workshop they were giving two days later would be unlike any I’d ever experienced before. And I was right.
The workshop was a starting point for me to keep going with what was introduced.
Listen to some John Zorn when you can.
Get lost and found in calligraphy by Thomas Ingmire.
Take yourself somewhere you’ve never been through David Anwnn’s poetry!
And don’t give a darn whether anyone approves of what you’ve drawn or painted or written. What is real and true is what matters and it might take a workshop to kick start the remembrance of that.