One of the community’s most well-known and talented artists, Barbara Bash is bringing her artistic skills and teaching talent to the Shambhala Mountain Center April 19-21. She will be teaching, “Brush Spirit: The Expressive Art of Calligraphy.” Bash studied Dharma Art with Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Chinese pictograms with Ed Young. She also recently wrote and illustrated the True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude.
Of her chosen art form, Bash says: “Calligraphy is an inherently sacred activity because it synchronizes mind and body. It is a contemplative practice because it reveals who we are and brings the deep principles of meditation into action and manifestation in the world.” Furthermore, she adds, the practice of writing has been intertwined with religion, including her chosen practice, Buddhism.
“The Medieval monks wrote out texts in their scriptoriums, Buddhist monks copied sutras, Arabic calligraphers created elaborate ornamental designs for the name of Allah,” she explains.
At this workshop, students will learn three key things, including the strengthening the sense of embodiment in the making of a mark, says Bash. They will work first with the Chinese straight line discipline, which is actually a Tai chi practice, sitting at tables. Then Bash will guide them in bringing this settled and flexible body experience into the creation of large brush strokes while working on the floor.
“Using the whole body brings stability and relaxation into the practice of brush calligraphy,” she says.
As well, students will be illuminating the experience of mind, Bash adds. “’Calligraphy is a picture of the mind,’ according to the Chinese. Working with large brushes opens us to seeing where we are at each moment.”
Finally, students will be using the ancient principles of heaven, earth, and human as the bones of their abstract strokes. “This gives us a way to be held by the process, showing us how to begin, how to follow through, how to resolve and let go–in mark making and in life,” Bash explains.
Bash is looking forward to the workshop. “Being part of the community of a workshop brings me delight,” she says. “Everyone’s strokes are inherently interesting, imperfect and beautiful. I never get tired of seeing what unfolds in the conversation between humans and brushes!”