Brush, Ink, Paper, Stone - an Intro to Chinese Calligraphy

Free workshops for adults and teens in Wellfleet and Truro
Brush, Ink, Paper, Stone – Intro to Chinese Calligraphy

With the support of the Wellfleet and Truro Local Cultural Councils, Judith Motzkin, an artist based in Cambridge and Wellfleet, is offering four hands on sessions to introduce the origins, history and structure of the Chinese written language and to provide an opportunity to experience calligraphic writing with a brush and ink on rice paper. Motzkin says, “Outer cape residents have little exposure to Chinese culture. Insight into the language is a start to understanding, peace, and friendship between our two peoples.”
The Wellfleet sessions will take place at the Wellfleet Library on Saturday, March 2, 2019.
Session 1 for teens: 12:00-1:30. Session 2 for adults:  2:00-3:30.
In Truro, the two workshops will take place at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill on Wednesday, April 17.  Adults 1:00-2:30 Teens 3:00-4:30.
Interested attendees can sign up at Wellfleet Library 508-349-0310 or at www.castlehill.org or by email to jmotzkin@gmail.com.

The workshop will include:
·       Cultural context: The Four Classical Arts, of which calligraphy is one and The Four Treasures of Chinese painting and calligraphy—stone, ink, brush, paper.
·       How to hold and use the brush to make expressive strokes. Care of the bamboo brushes.
·       Introduction of the Eight Basic Strokes used to paint bamboo as traditionally taught with the strokes in the character , yong, eternity.
·       Demonstration of the strokes learned as used to paint bamboo with ink on paper.
·       Practice on rice paper with ink to draw the early pictographs, write characters, paint bamboo
·       Examples of the progression from pictographs carved in oracle bones 4000 years ago, through the codification of the written language 2000 years ago.
·       Presentation of a few basic characters and how they are multiplied or combined with other characters to make new words and express concepts. Introduction to the radical/phonetic system.

The presenter, Judith Motzkin, has a degree in Asian Studies from Cornell University. A practicing studio artist in ceramic and mixed media, she continues her lifelong interest in Chinese culture, history and language through study and travel. In 2018, she taught Creative Practice/sculpture in Shanghai.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Wellfleet and Truro Cultural Councils, local agencies  which are supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.


Christopher Volpe and Judith Motzkin at Castle Hill Truro Center for the Arts

Chris and I installed our show yesterday and we are pleased with the way our works meet. Opening Reception is Thursday 4-6. Truro Center for the Arts @CastleHill
Chris is showing Westerlies, a series of seascapes in oil paints and tar. 

The pieces in my installation, Gather and Sort, are made of clay, vintage scientific slide boxes and digital images. Pot shards, an inevitable and often discarded product of making pots, are tumbled with sand and water into smooth round forms, imitating geologic processes of weathering and erosion. Assembled over years, they are presented here in various states of chaos and imposed order, making reference to the persistence of pottery in human and archeologic history and the scientific practices of taxonomic organization.

The work speaks to the way we select, gather and make order and use of that which is collected. A stone is placed for the dead, a cairn to mark direction, a “sekimori-ishi” at the entrance to a meditation space of solitude. Just as we share the impulse to pick out stones on the beach, we are impelled to touch these curious objects. Please do.

“A Taxonomy of Sorts” comes from this natural impulse and the action of sorting these objects in the studio, giving them context. The work “...plays with the conventions of taxonomic cataloguing and storage in the natural sciences.”  In the work they “look like they’ve been sorted according to some kind of taxonomic logic, but in fact, they have been sorted by a shifting, undependable logic that is neither chance – decisions are specific and particular – nor rigor.”

“Stone Flow” refers to archaeological time and the slow movement of material from the earth, through the hand of the potter and back to the earth. As more work is made, more pots are lost in process, and more shards are added to create new iterations of this long term project. 


Appearances 2017 GypsyGather

Last summer we lived with and learned the life cycle of the gypsy moths that invaded our woods. The piece I installed today around a lone tree in Dunes Edge Campground for Appearances Provincetown is an abstraction of all the stages--larva, pupae, fluttering males and  females born unable to fly, heavy with eggs. The materials are ceramic, mostly off-casts gathered to recycled from another project and mylar, which if the rainstorm tomorrow  doesn't bring it all down, will survive to catch your eye with fluttering light catching movement. 


Out On a Limb in Pashchima Namarskar (reverse prayer)

From a series of Personal Challenges, this figure is in a posture that I approach with hope that someday I will get there, hands in prayer position between the shoulder blades,  just not yet...


Saggar Fired Selection May 2016

Here are currently available piece each with two views.
Altered Flame Painted Vessel 10 x 10 

WashAshore Bowl on Rocks 9h x 11" 

Flame Painted Egg Urn 10h x 7" 

Bulb Form 13" h x 10" 

Woven Lid Jar 9 x 9 SOLD

Woven Lid Jar 11h x 10 

Flame Painted Vessel 1 9h x 11" SOLD

Flame Painted Vessel 2 12 h x 10" 


ALT clay Hess Gallery Pine Manor College

ALTclay at the Hess Gallery, Pine Manor College, Newton.
Gallery talk Thursday 11.19.15 at 10:30 am. through 2.16.16
The show was reviewed in Artscope Magazine Jan/Feb 2016.
Pick up a copy or read it here: PDF
ALTclay press release image

installation image
Taxonomy of Sorts

SMFA Art Sale

SMFA Art Sale 2015 Events and Public Hours

Thursday, November 19, 2015 (10 am–8 pm)—opening celebration from 5–8 pm
Friday, November 20, 2015 (10 am–8 pm)
Saturday, November 21, 2015 (10 am–8 pm)
Sunday, November 22, 2015 (10 am–5 pm)

My work in this sale. 2 Large vessels, 3 small bowl, 3 cairns, and 4 yoga posture sculptures.