This work was done by Maria Helena Hoksch in
New Orleans for the session “Pressurized and Drawn Romans” in 26
Seeds: a Year to Grow, 2017
A year ago I was celebrating my 50th
Birthday in China by climbing the Great Wall. I ended almost "dead"
of exhaustion from my 10 mile climb. Yet a few days later i went to
the main art market in Beijing looking for all things calligraphy. I
had seen, and even bought, some great Chinese watercolor art on
fabric, so amongst interesting oriental papers, I was also looking to
buy some real silk "canvas". I was surprised to discover how rare it
was even in China. Silk for artwork does not come cheap nor is it
easy to find.
At home it took me almost another year to cut into and
try out this scary, curious, precious material. What you see here is
my first, and so far, my only try with silk. (No worries, I made an
investment, and have yards of it left). The homework assignment from
Reggie was drawn roman caps, and I decided to combine them with
pointed pen. Yes, believe it or not, I took the needle-like nib
straight to the delicate fabric, and it worked almost like writing on
butter would. Sensitive and smooth. No spreading, no catching threads
on this sharpest of tools! Then I filled in my romans and the green
leafy decoration with tiny brush and watercolors, all the while
taking advantage of what watercolors can do. As the matter of fact,
the only medium used for this piece is watercolor. Including
As I "finished" the piece, it started to
seriously rebuke me. I want more, it said. You can see through me, so
show something through. Use me! So I cut another piece of silk,
marked the area I wanted to show, and covered it entirely with broad
edge pen romans, still in watercolor. As my tool was full of ink this
time, it bled a little, and letterforms came out somewhat distorted,
but after all, it was to be a just a background.
So what you now see
is two layers of silk placed on top of each other, playing with each
other. Not much planning. After completing, I just ironed the two
pieces of fabric to an absolute smooth surface. All crumpling just
disappeared. The Chinese stamp with my name in Latin and Mandarin
alphabet was custom made for me in Beijing, and gave the final touch.
Some weeks ago, while teaching a pointed pen class called Seastones at
IAMPETH conference in Louisville, I donated this piece to the
Exactly on my 51st birthday this July, a fellow
calligrapher Jennifer Calvert Cathey from College Station, Texas
generously purchased it at their auction.
This story is over, but not
my adventures with silk, nor with Reggie's homework assignments.