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“Every line is good because it doesn’t lie.” ~ Ed Young ~

Have you ever drawn a line in the beach sand with your finger and watched it wash away? Humans have been making their beautiful marks in the world for a long time. We have developed the unique capacity to bring our inner world out into form – from the simplicity of a line to the complexity of written language.

Barbara Bash, author, illustrator, calligraphic artist and guest faculty at the upcoming Authentic Leadership Program and presenter of the Special Event, “Opening the Door” in January 2018 at Naropa University, shares how her passion for communication in all its forms has been a source of inspiration in her journey through life.

From early childhood Barbara had a fascination for the weaving together of letters and images. For many years she worked as a calligrapher, mastering the alphabets from Rome to the Renaissance, the period of European history when all books were handwritten. Through precision of form she walked a path of tradition and discipline.


When Barbara came in contact with Tibetan Buddhism she felt the natural affinity of calligraphy and religion that exists in many cultures. She became of student of Chogyam Trungpa, also a skilled calligrapher of Tibetan writing and the founder of the Shambhala teachings. This meeting of teacher and student deepened her experience of the calligraphic act and introduced an unpredictable and outrageous element to her life, inspiring her to create embodiment practices with big brushes and buckets of ink.

In her Big Brush Workshops the ancient Asian principles of heaven, earth and human become the structure of aliveness for the present moment. Held within this structure participants learn to trust the wildness of creative energy within the boundary of form. The experience of a making brushstroke brings it all together.

For Barbara the human journey combines vision and ground, intention and acceptance, sadness and delight. The practice of self awareness through contemplative art practices widens the range, deepens the view, lightens the spirit. Through the joining of mind and body in the making of a mark this bigger awareness – the basic goodness of who we are – is naturally celebrated.

The line in the sand. The stroke of a brush. The writing of our life.

Barbara Bash is a calligrapher, author, illustrator and teacher of Big Brush and illustrated journaling workshops. She co-directed the Book Arts program with Susan Edwards at Naropa and collaborated with musicians, storytellers, and dancers developing calligraphic performance art that joined Eastern brush sensibility with Western alphabetic forms. This creative exploration has been her springboard for mixing word and image in deeper ways. Barbara’s most recent book is an expanded edition of True Nature: An Illustrated Journal of Four Seasons in Solitude.

Barbara Bash

Calligrapher, Author, Illustrator and Teacher


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