Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog

The Way of Calligraphy Workshop Nov. 16th and More with Artist Hua Hua Zhang

During The Way of Chopsticks exhibition, Beijing born, Philadelphia-based artist Hua Hua Zhang is collaborating with the PAA on workshops and performances that will allow audiences to further explore Chinese art and culture. Hua Hua Zhang is a celebrated artist trained in both the classical traditions of Chinese puppetry as well as modern forms of puppetry and theatre. Her work bridges the realms of sculpture and performance and draws upon Chinese tradition as well as personal experience. She is also a teaching artist specializing in introducing American audiences to traditional Chinese art forms.

On the morning of Saturday, November 16th, Hua Hua will be teaching The Way of Calligraphy, an introductory workshop on Chinese calligraphy. The PAA invites adults and children ages 7 and older to join in.  Click here to register!

Click here for information on Hua Hua Zhang’s current exhibition of “living sculptures” at the Asian Arts Initiative. And don’t miss her production of Adventure of the Stone Monkey: A Shadow Puppet Performance, on December 7th at the PAA!

Interested in calligraphy? Read more below.

Chinese calligraphy is an ancient and ever-evolving art form. The standard script that is used today first appeared around 500BCE. The square shape and carefully placed, distinct angular strokes of this style allow for efficient everyday writing.

Chinese calligraphy usually features quick yet smooth scripts that connect separate characters and provide a flow of emotion through the sentence, but there are many different styles. The running script is one style used in calligraphy. In this style, strokes for each character are often simplified and may be written out of standard order (and yes, there is an order in which strokes are supposed to be written). Oftentimes, several strokes, such as sequential dots or two strokes perpendicular to each other, are merged into one. The running script is the cursive version of the standard script.

The newest style of writing is the cursive script. This is the “fastest” script; strokes can be changed or left out, seeing as how the brush hardly leaves the paper. There is little separation between words; some words are even joined together. Although very artistic, the cursive script is illegible to the common reader.

From the proper handling of the brush to the precise execution of each stroke, Chinese calligraphy is an artistic science. According to traditional rules, characters must be legible, concise (unadorned), written correctly, and, in general, aesthetically pleasing. After affirming that the rules have been followed, however, the calligrapher can write characters at their own pace. Many people find calligraphy to be a relaxing mental exercise. The brush essentially becomes an extension of the calligrapher’s arm, and as such helps reveal the calligrapher’s elegance, impulsiveness, rebelliousness, and restraint.

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