Sumi-e, in Japanese, means, “ink painting”, or painting with ink. Sumi ink is an art medium that dates back some six thousand years, as has been discovered in some ancient caves in China, but evolved into the refined art form that is practiced today around the ninth to the fourteenth century.

   The ink is a high carbon made from the smoke that collects in the form of soot on the ceiling of the cave when making charcoal. It is then scraped off and made into a block or “ink stick” using a pine tree resin glue mixture. The quality of the ink is determined by the type and quality of wood that is used to make the charcoal. A one inch by five inch average size stick of ink can sell for as much as Eighty to a Hundred Dollars depending upon the quality. 

   To make the ink requires slowly grinding the carbon stick in a circular motion onto a smooth stone, (usually a carved slate stone) adding small amounts of water until a desired consistency is acquired.  

   Yoshiko will spend between an hour and an hour and a half each morning, incessantly grinding the inks that she will use for this day’s work. While she grinds the carbon stick against the slate stone, she is meditating and visualizing the brush strokes she will perform this day.

   This same ink is used for both Sumi painting and Calligraphy, for which Yoshiko is a licensed 'High Master' Calligrapher, and a visionary Sumi painter, now with more than thirty-four years training and more than fourteen years teaching. At the level of 'High Master', Yoshiko stands alone in a field that is dominated by men. In addition to her 'Certificate of High Master', Yoshiko has also received a 'Certificate of Achievement' from the Governor of Japan.

   Locally, in the United States, along with her private studio, Yoshiko teaches seminars and classes at several leading institutions, including Clemson University, Furman University, Greenville Tech, Nippon Cultural Center and several of the area's Grade Schools.

   Yoshiko has a special love for Sumi painting, and it shows with the grace and delicate style in which she expresses her thoughts onto fragile and delicate, hand made rice paper... her spirit will now live on in this paper.

   As for her Art, Yoshiko is continuing to gain popularity and awards, and, her work is finding it's way into several institutions and galleries across the Upstate and beyond.


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