I just had my first calligraphy class at the calligraphy academy in Seoul Art Centre.
But although this was the first day of the new term, I was surprised to note that some other students on the front and back tables were already getting on with their calligraphy work. Perhaps I didn’t get the memo? Or perhaps not all of us in the room were beginners!
The classroom had three long rows of tables covered in felt cloths.On the centre table a couple of students sat still wearing their coats, with nothing in front of them and looking a bit worried. I guessed they must be my fellow newbies and so I joined them on the middle table.
Gradually more students arrived and joined the rest of us all in silence except for the sound of the brushes behind us as we waited for the clock to strike 2pm. A slurp of coffee, the buzz of a smartphone. And then the teacher came in. A dapper gentleman in a suit.
Seoul Calligraphy Museum
It’s not exactly how I imagined it would be as we didn’t do any calligraphy at all in the first lesson! We had a 90 minute talk (in Korean) from the teacher about calligraphy tools, calligraphy history, and the different styles of calligraphy. Then the teacher made a list of who needs what – paper, brushes, ink, a textbook. I showed him the brushes that I had brought with me – the ones that I had used in Japan. He said they were far too small and pointed out the one he suggested I should buy which was about 4 times as big!
So we start in earnest from next week. But I realised that for homework I need to review the notes we were given from the lecture and learn some of the special calligraphy vocabulary so I can follow the class better from now on