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Tea-fuelled lives | Sam | Award-winning calligraphy artist

Every year, we host a tea and calligraphy workshop with our good friend Sam Chan of Callisupply. Both the art of tea and of calligraphy are steeped in Chinese tradition, and both are meditative practices in their own ways.

Chinese tea and Chinese calligraphy workshop

Sam has been studying calligraphy for more than 20 years and has won the prestigious Hong Kong Chinese Calligraphy Competition for 3 consecutive years. He designs logos of famous brands such as the Peninsula Hotel, and holds tailor-made calligraphy experiences for corporates, educational institutions and tourists, and is a co-curator of the popular exhibition - "callisupply x streetsignhk: Reconnect, Recreate".

We asked Sam to share about the synchronicities of tea and calligraphy and what kind of role tea plays in his daily life. Here are his two cents:

Chinese calligraphy practice

Sam, tell us about your love of calligraphy

Well my full-time job as an actuary involves a lot of left-brain calculations. Calligraphy is an outlet for art and beauty. It allows me to zoom out and gain  a wider perspective of life. It provides balance, as well as a sense of fulfilment. 

I've been practising Chinese calligraphy since I was young, even though it is often seen as an old-fashioned thing to do. It was very exciting for me because I was learning from famous masters whose work was featured in galleries and museums.

Sam Chan | Award-winning calligraphy artist

I started Callisupply to bring higher quality calligraphy art into the commercial world - designing logos and signs and other corporate items. I wanted to show this traditional art in a more modern, trendy way, that incorporates a business model. It's not in line with the strict perimeters of traditional calligraphy, but it's exciting to work with famous brands and express my art in new ways. 

You also enjoy drinking tea - what kind do you drink the most?

Tea has been part of our family traditions my whole life. Every week, my family and I go to dim sum - I'm very close to my parents and we just chat like friends. We 吹水 ("blow water") with no seniority deference needed. Tea is part of how my family connects with each other. It is a must.

Our favourite is Jasmine tea, probably not the best quality, but its fragrance has become as familiar as a family member.

Drinking tea Chinese style

My mum also serves us Chaozhou gongfu style tea at home during Lunar New Year to help digest all the food! I like drinking tea because it helps to cleanse the body - I always feel refreshed after a good cup of tea.   

Why do tea and calligraphy make such a great pair? 

Tea and calligraphy are both very meditative arts. They are both activities that help you focus and get "in the zone". Both activities have a beautiful, calming and classical essence.

As with many arts, the result reflects your state of mind. If I am not focused when doing art, it shows. If you're fully focused and calm when making tea, it tastes better.

Brewing tea and practicing Chinese calligraphy

They are both experiences that are difficult to describe in words. It's hard to describe the flavour of tea, and it's hard to describe my artistic process with calligraphy, but there is a clear feeling I get from both that is undeniable.  

After I finish an art piece, I feel a sense of satisfaction and happiness. While I don't usually drink tea while doing calligraphy (I can't do anything else while I'm creating), I do like to sit with a cup of tea and allow myself to marinate in that sense of satisfaction for a little while. 

If you had to choose one tea as your favourite, what would it be? 

Tangerine Puerh 小青柑 - I love the citrus flavour! It is an amazing tea and I often drink it at home in the evening with my partner.

 Tangerine Puerh Tea | Chenpi Tea

If you'd like to attend a tea and calligraphy event in future, follow us on Instagram to be notified of upcoming events!

 

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