Thursday, 13 March 2008
What’s in a name?
Following the iron brush, or Zuiteppitsu in Japanese. A few words of explanation are probably in order as I'm sure you're wondering about this, seemingly whimsical, name.
When I was considering what to call my web-site, and indeed my studio, I had initially wanted to call it simply, Iron brush. This being a poetic, Edo Period (1615~1868) reference to the chisel we use. One occasionally finds inscriptions on sword fitting indicating that they came from the "iron brush" (teppitsu) of some, or other, artist. Unfortunately for me, another group of artists also use, what they regard as, an iron chisel. Naturally, I'd have to indignantly protest that claim. A brief search on the internet for "iron brush", delivered a host of tattoo artists!
It was then that I remembered the term "zui-hitsu"; this is a very old (9th cent. Heian Period) literary term meaning "following the brush". The term refers to a genre of writing characterised by "stream of consciousness" jottings and expressions of personal and intimate responses to the natural and sensual world. It also hints at a certain lack of choice in the matter. I have always felt that I didn't so much choose to follow “the way of the chisel” as it chose me. It seemed an obvious solution to combine these two, old expressions to coin my own, new one.