San Francisco, CA Part 1. Seal Carving
During my days in San Francisco, CA. I walked the streets of Chinatown, they say it is one of the most authentic Chinese neighborhoods in the world out of China. I expected just to stroll the streets and get the feeling of being transfer to China by hearing people speaking only Chinese. The town has two main streets, one for the tourist and one for the local Chinese where all they do the daily shopping, and dry washed underware hanging outside the windows. I had nothing planned to buy, I just followed my friends who wanted to explore the town. Suddenly an idea sparked in my head while walking the streets. I've seen several artists who stamp their artwork with Chinese characters in red ink. Ooooooh! It looks so professional. So I decided to ask locals about it. The first person I asked gave directions to John Wong shop. This man is a professional calligrapher. He studied in China. His store had plenty of interesting things, among them a piece of newspaper showing a picture of himself with the mayor of the city of San Francisco. The article describes he was granted with a Certificate of Honor, which I think is a big accomplishment for someone who just came to the United States in 1990. His 9 year old granddaughter was there. She was our translator. I asked for the seal carving work. I wanted my name Adriana carved in the stone. I chose from several stone blocks with my Chinese zodiac animal on it. The work was going to take about 30-40 minutes. I asked him if I could sketch him while he was working. He said yes. I've never being more comfortable sketching a person, since it is not my forte, he remained very still. He wrote his name and mine in the sketch and of course Jazlyn wanted to write hers too. I asked him to write the word friends as well. He showed me how to stamp correctly, you can see it in my sketch. John loved my sketch so much he asked me to sketch Jazlyn as well, which I did gladly, she was a good help as a translator and made things easier. In return he gave me a calligraphy piece of paper with my name written in Chinese and free red ink. Fabulous! I told him I would make a print and mail it to him. I think I will never forget my new favorite word: Xièxiè. Click here for Part 2.