Guided by Irene Chan, experience the principles of Taoism and its connection to art through discussions, readings, and bookmaking using traditional Asian arts and crafts techniques.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Assorted book covers

This week-long workshop explores the connection between art and the everyday through Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and discussions of the Asian philosophy Taoism. Guided by Book Arts instructor Irene Chan, experience the principles through brush-–­painting practice and making Asian arts and crafts with bookmaking. Participants learn traditional decorative arts of paper fold & dip dyeing, textile discharge, and suminagashi (water-based marbled paper). We will then Asian stab bind them into sampler books and make a fabric wraparound case for them. Come away with this collection set of decorative papers with ideas and skills to make future papers and books. There will be seven techniques/skills taught plus a daily reading and discussion of the philosophy. All skill levels are welcome.

Each morning, we begin with a reading and discussion from Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. I can share LeGuin’s version with the participants, however here is information if the participants would like to purchase the books. For the Tao Te Ching, my favorites are Ursula LeGuin’s version and the version by Jane English and Gia-Fu Feng (Vintage; Bilingual edition, 2011). For The Mustard Seed, I can share my book or pdfs.

Reading List

  • LeGuin, Ursula K. Lao Tzu Tao Te Ching: A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way, Shambhala, 1997, or other translations of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. (Some translations are available for free on the internet.).
  • Mai-Mai Sze. The Mustard Seed Manual of Painting: A Facsimile of the 1887-1888 Shanghai Edition of the Text. Princeton University Press, 1997. $42.49 (or see a used copy. Sometimes there are used copies for $15-$20). Here is a Jstor link to access it if you have an account or affiliation.

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Instructor: Irene Chan

Irene Chan is a multidisciplinary artist who works conceptually in print media, papermaking, installation, storytelling performance, and book arts on subjects of Taoism, personal immigrant narratives, and forgotten histories. Her books and works on paper have been exhibited internationally and held in 88 public collections including the Walker Art Center, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Tate Modern, Victoria & Albert Museum, and British Library in London. Chan established Ch’An Press through which she has self-published prints and 35 artist books to date.