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The Sumi Story

As a digital designer, “pixel perfect” was the standard that I aspired to…one that I had to balance with the priorities of business and getting something out fast. Until I had the privilege to live in Tokyo and study sumie and shodo (under Japanese teachers who had the patience to teach me, as I don’t speak Japanese).

Over the years, I learned to appreciate the happy imperfections that only ink and paper brings. I learned a bit about Zen which is said to have refined the arts, and its links to my Chinese heritage. Later, I discovered the Taoist philosophy of Wuwei and teachings of Chuang Tzu (with whom I also happen to share my last name!).

These are moments of meditation that I get to share with the world. Pixel perfection doesn’t exist, only acceptance and appreciation of happy accidents and serendipity.

This overflows outside the gold foil borders of shikishi boards into my digital designs, and my every day.

Drawing inspiration from travel, fashion, and Taoist philosophy, I use Japanese ink painting and calligraphy techniques to create expressions that are perfectly imperfect (at least to me), yet every one of them has brought joy to my life. I hope they bring joy to yours, too.

~ GretchO

P.S. If you’d like to learn from my teachers, here are their links.:

Mitografico Design Shodo School for original-style calligraphy — email correspondence available

Rimpa Heritage Club to learn traditional Japanese ink wash painting & nihonga — online classes available

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About The Art

Looking for a way to bring style, peace and tranquility into your space?

Discover artwork inspired by wearable art and the philosophy of Taoism, which emphasise harmony with nature and balance in life.

Calming colour palettes, minimalist designs, and inspiring quotes help create a stylish and serene atmosphere in your home or office.

Carefully crafted in a variety of formats, including limited edition prints and postcards. Made with high-quality materials to ensure that you get a piece that will last for years to come.

Whether you’re looking for:

  • a meaningful piece to add to your collection,
  • a large canvas to hang in your living room,
  • a small print to place on your desk, or
  • a postcard for a client or loved one,

there’s an abundance of possibilities.

From timeless landscapes to contemporary calligraphy & fashion illustration, bring understated elegance, a bit of Zen, and the timeless wisdom and tranquillity of Taoist philosophy into your space.