Hiroko Shimizu

C515 Refining Your Sense of Writing

Five Day Class

In this workshop, we will explore the potential of a single pen nib through many exercises. We will put aside the rules for writing formal calligraphic letters, such as pen angle, ductus, difference between uppercase and lowercase, and simply explore what is possible with this nib. In time, we will find ourselves manipulating a pen as part of our body without thinking. This is a huge advantage regardless of what type of calligraphy style we are pursuing.

There will be many seeds of inspiration scattered throughout the workshop. This is because knowing the potential of the pen also leads to grasping new ways of expression. Encounters with those seeds will surely be a pleasure on your journey, and may even change your view of calligraphy.

Bring your curiosity and a smile, and you are ready to start.

Supply List
  • Two sheets of Arches Text Wove (cut each into 8 equal pieces in advance)
  • Three sheets of any colored paper including one dark color, weighing around 80 lb (100 – 130 gsm)
  • A pad of 12" x 18" (around 300 mm x 460 mm) size practice papers, weighing around 80 lb (100 – 130 gsm)

Other items
  • Speedball C1 and C0, and any broad-edged pens you like.
  • Automatic pens or any similar sorts only if you have (approx. 1/4" to 1/2" in size)
  • Gouache: black, white (permanent white or titanium white, not a white for mixing) and several colors of your choice
  • Inkwells or small containers, deep enough for dipping a pen nib
  • Your usual set for writing with ink, such as a water jar and mixing brushes, etc.
  • 12" – 16" straight edge and a set square
  • Cutting mat; 9" x 12" is enough
  • Cutting knife (breakaway knife)
  • HB (#2) pencil or mechanical pencil
  • A cushion laying underneath paper (suede or thin felt, etc.)
  • Two binder clips or bull clips
  • Drafting tape
  • An awl (only if you have one)
  • Some pangrams and short texts
Materials Fee
$5: includes a sheet of mylar film for a front cover of a sample book, with each student’s name written on it by the instructor, other miscellaneous parts for simple binding of a sample book, and some sheets of tracing papers and Japanese paper

Hiroko Shimizu is a calligrapher, teacher and letter cutter living in Hyogo, Japan. She started calligraphy in 1994 while living in Boston and enthusiastically studied it for three years until she returned to Japan. She continued active study afterward by participating in workshops, international conferences, and symposiums oversea. Hiroko has been teaching regularly for 23 years and conducting workshops in major cities in Japan. Her characteristic flexibility is reflected not only in her work but also in her teaching style. Her work has been frequently selected for Letter Arts Review Annual since 2002 and exhibited internationally. She had a solo exhibition in Bruges in the summer of 2021. Hiroko runs Studio Letter Arts in Ashiya, and is a deputy executive director of NPO Japan Letter Arts Forum.