Pen Museum, Birmingham

On Sat 7th Jan 2017 my wife and I visited the Pen Museum in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. It's a small but fascinating museum containing traditional nib-making machinery, displays of pens, inks, quills, ornate inkwells and ink blotters, early typewriters and braille equipment... and a lot of nibs. The volunteer staff are friendly and full of... Continue Reading →


Bicycle Poem

I have been interested for a while in the interaction of different surfaces with calligraphic writing. In China calligraphy is traditionally found on objects as well as flat paper, so a variety of surface shapes and textures are interacted with; it may, for example, be found on fans, lanterns, ceramics and screens. By contrast Western... Continue Reading →

New Asemic Work

I have created some new "asemic" artworks from fragments of characters produced while shooting a video on binary opposition and calligraphy (see below figs. 1-7). Asemic writing is an "open semantic form" of writing whose words lack referents. Asemic words are “abstract” in that they lack specific symbolic content, syntax or phonetic components. The term... Continue Reading →

Coloured Calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy is traditionally written with black ink on white paper. Red paper may be used for auspicious posters (red being a lucky colour in China) and red ink is often used by calligraphy teachers to correct students’ work (to distinguish the correction from the error), nevertheless it is true that Chinese calligraphy is almost... Continue Reading →

Letter Arts Review Vol.30 (3)

My essay 'Hybrid Calligraphy' is now available in Letter Arts Review.  There were a few editorial changes to the wording (not for the better in my opinion) but my points remained clear and it does look a handsome publication. Buckingham-Hsiao, R. (2016) Hybrid Calligraphy. Letter Arts Review, 30 (3), pp. 48-53 . $14.50 from John Neal Books (ISSN: 0895-7819)

2016 PhD Students’ Conference

The 2016 PhD Conference was held at 11am - 3.30pm in Room MC301 at the City Campus on Friday 9th September. It was excellently organised by my friend Isi Agdoaye. I presented a paper on my Collaborative Calligraphy performance piece and its relation to my wider research questions (see abstract below). It was well received and was... Continue Reading →

Sini workshop in Birmingham

On the 26 May 2016 I was honoured to attend a talk and calligraphy workshop given by Haji Noor Deen Mi Guangjiang at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. He talked about Sini script, its materials and religious significance and the construction of Chinese characters. I had previously sent Haji Noor Deen an essay I had written on... Continue Reading →

Fu-Ji (扶乩) writing

I photographed the above calligraphy in a Daoist temple near the city of Taichung, Taiwan. They were written by a spirit medium while in a trance and possessed by a god, immortal or other ancestor. They were displayed on either side of the altar in the main hall, behind a small barrier. Unusually they were... Continue Reading →

Archaic Scripts

As part of my research into asemic words I have been looking into ancient scripts, symbols and proto-writing (marks carrying meaning but without a phonetic element). Below are some of my copies / reinterpretations of ancient Chinese symbols and characters.  Jiahu symbols (賈湖契刻符號, see fig. 1) were found on Peiliang culture artifacts in Henan Province, China.... Continue Reading →

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