On Sunday I went to my first-ever Quabbin Rug Group meeting. It was just great. No fewer than eleven people showed up--I was impressed. Here are some of the rugs I saw.
I only wish I were better at catching people's names. I'm terrible with names. therefore, I was only able to attribute a couple of these in-progress pieces.
Enjoy the eye candy!
I think this may have been by Judy Jewett (altho I certainly could be wrong)? It is from a pattern she purchased. Love the colors she is using. She was at the binding stage, so it should be done very soon.
Isn't this one just the most fun? I can see the face of the wonderful woman who's making it, but I cannot for the life of me remember her name. Darn. I already want this rug and she's not even finished with it yet.
This rug is by Linda Faye of Amherst and is her own design--it's a tribute to the Peace Pagoda. You can see that she's begun by hooking the many prayer flags flying in the wind there. The Peace Pagoda has a good website here. I'll be interested to see how this rug develops.
Linda also had a wonderful dog rug with her, but I was unable to get a photo of that.
Not sure whose pattern this is but I heard the woman who is making this piece say that the original designer intended for it to be done in a fine-cut. However, she is more of a wide-cut person and is successfully doing it in a 6 or an 8 (probably an 8--I didn't hear that part).
She was making the point to one of the other participants that it's possible to take a fine-cut design and do it in a wider cut. It can be done with many (not all) fine-cuts. The results will look very different, but as you can see here, it still looks great.
How stunning is this??? Wowza. I believe the woman who is making this is named Sue, but I'm not certain. I do remember her saying that this is her first-ever hooked piece. Oh. My. God.
I don't know if she designed it herself or if it is a pattern.
(Hanging my head in shame--my first piece from years ago never looked anything like this one...) I was drawn to looking at this over and over.
Isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen? I think this maker's name was Rebecca. She was a guest at the meeting, I believe. What really stands out for me about her--other than this truly wonderful folk-art rug which I believe is her own design--is that we were told she is "new to rug hooking." Whaaaa-aaaaat??? I love these cats!
I heard her say that she's only been hooking for 18 months. BUT...this is the 12th piece she has hooked in that short time. So she's certainly not "new" in my book. This is just great.
A talented woman named Penny (argh...I don't remember her last name either--was it Redfern?) sitting directly across from me was working on this rug, channeling Vincent himself. Talk about an ambitious project. I wish I had an off-the-frame photo of this; it's just wonderful.
Last but by NO means least is this really beautiful and striking piece inspired by Japanese rock gardens. Can I remember this woman's name? No, of course not, but I love her work. This is her own design.
I get that "ahhhhhhhh" feeling simply by looking at the sinuous lines of the carefully raked sand, which she's captured beautifully here. This is striking and I am loving the subtle colors.
I was definitely enchanted by all the rugs I saw. We met at the Wool & Dye Works Rug Hooking Shop in Florence, which is a treasure in itself.
I'll finish off with a DRAFT of a triquetra knot, which I tried for the first-time today. This says #3 because it's only my third try. I have a lot to learn about these, that's for sure.
By which I mean to say, this is simply a sketchy practice piece for a free-form, unplanned knot.
I have "knot" been practicing.
Although my holidays were quiet-by-design, my last two weeks have been non-stop guests. Wonderful guests and I was thrilled to have them.
But I haven't had the headspace to draw, tangle, or write and am feeling rusty. Looking forward to starting up again.
Ahhhh! BOOKBINDING Again:
I did manage to sneak away for one day, last Sunday, in order to take a beginning bookbinder class with Peter Cangialosi. He's an excellent teacher and I completely enjoyed myself. Even more impressive: every student (5 of us) left with a handmade bound book. Here's mine:
This is a very small book, but it is a book. I am delighted.
January is apparently "bookbinding" time someplace in my mind. Last year on MLK weekend I did (and blogged about) a prior workshop on bookbinding with Nancy Shepherd in Vermont. We took the whole weekend and began by learning to make paper for the covers; then we used a more sophisticated open binding than the one I learned last Sunday.
However, the day after that 2017 workshop with Nancy I formally "closed" on (legally bought) my new house. ALL the info I had acquired from her flew right out of my head as I entered the whirlwind of finalizing the sale, packing up my apartment of 40 years, and relocating.
What was special about Sunday's workshop was that it was one day and much simpler...but it jump-started my memories of a year ago and I began to recall what I had learned in the more complex 2017 workshop with Nancy. I have progressed from not being able to retrieve anything I learned from her, to remembering at least 90% of it, and I am confident that I can recover the rest. Hurrah! Thank you, Peter.
In Peter's beginner's workshop, everyone finished wonderful books. Many were prettier than mine. He kept things super-simple and was endlessly patient with our million questions.
Here is a slideshow of all five completed books. I can't wait to try my hand at this again. I look forward to being able to make my own sketchbooks.
Two additional views of my book. You can see the simple exposed smyth stitch binding in the photo to the left, and in view below you can see how flat it lies when open. If I use better quality paper for my next book, it would be perfect for sketching.
Uh-oh, there may be yet another obsession coming on...
Everyone I know was struggling this past year. Politically, socially, and psychologically it was a very rough passage. I won't get into the specifics but I cannot imagine anyone would have trouble naming a multitude of examples.
We were all in the same boat, being tossed upon the same angry ocean. Many of us had no oars, or lost them as the year progressed.
May we be gentle with each other in 2018. May we know peace. May we be well. May we take care of ourselves and each other. May we give and receive kindness.
Let us gently close the door on 2017 and welcome the New Year with humor, grace, and determination to listen and speak with thought and care.
May all living beings know safety and peace in 2018.
Look what arrived on my doorstep today. Oh boy oh boy.
NOTE to those who don't have time to read: I DID NOT MAKE THESE OR DRAW ON THEM. THEY CAME THIS WAY.
Golden Lotus boots. Talk about mad love for an object--wow. Love these.
I sent pictures to friends who know I tangle and they all went crazy for my amazing artwork. They thought I made them. Thank you to everyone who even had that passing thought. I wish!!! But I DIDN'T MAKE THESE. I just bought them, as is. They're commercial boots. I took one look at them and helplessly succumbed.
Did I need them? No. Did I have to have them? Oh yeah. Am I sorry? You're kidding, right? NO.
I fear this makes me the Imelda Marcos of mindfulness practitioners. Uh-oh.
Following Maria's instructions and working with the small Bijou tiles from the Zentangle® folks' Project Pack 02 resulted in this tile. Yes, it's a mash of half a black Bijou tile and half a tan Bijou tile, using the tangle Mollygon. I used a black Micron PN pen, graphite, an 08 White Gellyroll pen, and a White General's Chalk Pencil. Such fun to do!
My second tile. Same type of mashup as above, same materials used. The tangle here has been named by a few people over the years but I know it as Curtinz by Kate LaMontaigne..
Of course, it was immediately obvious that one could put the 2 tiles ( = 2 Fragments) together and turn them different ways to achieve different effects. This was one way.
Now, of course, I had to make a couple of additional tiles--I wanted to make 4 and I had just enough supplies to do so. Here was tile #3.
Same materials used. This tangle is a seldom-used one called Sedgling. I wonder why it has been forgotten. I like it a lot and think I'll be using it more often.
The last tile I did was based on the tangle Toodles. I tried experimenting with Toodles and did 2 versions of it, one a kind of "Pokeroot-based" version and the other a kind of "Pokeleaf-based" version, mixing them together.
And now to put all four fragments together. This is where turning the four fragments created different effects. I'll spare you all the variations and limit it to just two. Here's the first mosaic with the black halves in the center:
...And then, just by turning the tiles, here's another effect with the light halves in the center. This is the power of working with fragments. Very fun indeed.
I'm enjoying the wonky look. I'll definitely want to do a few more of these.
The thing about Zentangle® is that you never know where it's going to take you. Much like life. I began this tile 2-3 years ago--it didn't look anything like what you see here--and left it totally unfinished. Abandoned. I re-discovered it two days ago while unpacking (yes, I am still unpacking after 9 months of being here) and somehow just couldn't throw it out, though I was tempted. It stared at me and challenged me to reconstruct it or make it work in some way.
Basically it began life as a black tile which had been roughly shaded sort-of-white with the use of a soapstone, and then I think I had used some type of tool to see if I could score the tangle "Tripoli" into the soapstone background. It didn't work and I loathed the look of it. So put it away. I find it hard to believe that I didn't just toss it.
I finished it today in a very fast, sloppy way--because it was "just an experiment"--and now I rather like it. It has a pastel or oil paint-y look to it. I completely ignored the unpleasant beginning and re-built the entire concept.
This reminds me of something I learned in my childhood: A family member once accused me of "never finishing anything you start." I thought about it for awhile, got mad, and then decided she was right. So I made a major effort over the next few months to go around and finish all my unfinished projects. I must have been about ten, and I remember the resulting satisfaction. Although I hadn't liked the criticism, it spurred me to develop discipline.
Since then, it's rare for me to put something away unfinished. If anything, I've gone to the opposite extreme--I sometimes finish things immediately that might benefit from a longer pause.
(I do have one quilt that has been "paused" for 40 years. Er...it may be time to get back to that one!)
The other tile I did today was this one below. I'll put the completed tile first and then include two photos of the very beginning and the middle stages. (I know the tile background looks different in the photos but it's all the same tile--just different lighting)
Some things--like unpacking--take me longer to finish, because I just don't like doing them. But eventually, that learned discipline from childhood takes over and they do get done. It just takes me 50 times longer to get to the finish line than it does if I enjoy what I'm doing.
As a non-holiday celebrator, I appreciate this quiet time of year (especially tonight, Christmas Eve, and tomorrow) and always give myself permission to do whatever the heck I feel like doing for a couple of days.
That does not include unpacking.
It does include reading, drawing, tangling, and general lollygagging.
Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!
In my family, we would say goodbye to someone by waving and cheerily calling out, "Toodles!" It always implied a merry, carefree departure.
The Zentangle® folks just came up with this tangle and one of their grandchildren named it Toodles. In the tangle context, it hardly seems related to any type of goodbye, and is just a very versatile and totally fun tangle to draw.
Here was my first attempt (not altogether successful, but I like it anyway):
And after yesterday's involved work, I thought I'd like to try to keep things simple today, so this was my second attempt at Toodles:
Definitely a fun piece to do and so very simple.
Simplicity is nature's first step, and the last of art.
--Philip James Bailey
To my mind, tonight is Solstice Night. The longest night.
Winter Solstice is late morning tomorrow.
When I sat down to tangle at sunset today, it didn't dawn on me just how much the result might express the season. In retrospect, this was certainly a Solstice Tangle. As I worked, I was aware of the gathering dark, and deep silence.
May all beings be safe.
May all beings know peace.
May we all celebrate the return of the Light tomorrow.
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Part of the continuing Project Pack 02 series from the Zentangle® folks. There are twelve projects in this 02 series, but I may not get to all of them.
I did this before bed last night, and slept like a log. Have always loved this tangle, Diva Dance.
Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise ;
Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby,
(No, not by the Beatles! They just borrowed it.)
--Thomas Dekker, 1603
This tangle is just too much darned fun to draw! Once again it went somewhere I couldn't have imagined.
The Connection Between Zentangle and Traditional Meditation:
I enjoy the way that Zentangle® and my other meditation practice regularly take me where I hadn't expected to go. There's a nice article in Psychology Today magazine on why Zentangle is so meditative HERE.
If you have ever wanted to meditate, but feel that you can't because "my mind just won't stop!" you are experiencing the #1 fallacy about meditation--that the mind should, or will, stop thinking. It's the job of the mind to think! It is certainly not going to stop for meditation...but with experience, you may find that you notice some quieter spaces or times when your thoughts seem to be running on "dim" in the background. So don't let your noisy mind stop YOU because IT won't stop. Just the fact that you are noticing the noise is a very good sign--you are not "doing it wrong," you are, in fact, doing it right.
Why am I bringing this up? Because Zentangle is a form of moving meditation, and often people find it easier to begin with something along those lines rather than plunging into formal meditation. And you do not need any art talent at all to learn to tangle. NONE. Yes, that is true. If you can sign your name, you can tangle.
What you'll find as you're tangling is: Focus. Attention. Silence. Slowing down. You will even learn to tolerate and handle mistakes; you'll learn not to judge something in the very moment you are creating it, but to stand back and evaluate later. You'll learn patience--although you will need a lot less of this than you might assume. You'll be loving the results--but even more, you will truly love the process.
Gee, that sounds like a lot of learning. But surprisingly, it comes without effort. You'll be so focused on the pleasurable process of drawing lines that you won't even notice what you've learned until later. And--you'll be learning about meditation in that same effortless way.
To find a teacher, just go to the main Zentangle website HERE and look for their list of Certified Zentangle Teachers (also known as "CZTs"). There's a good chance you will find a CZT neaby. Have fun!
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator and coach, focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
NEXT INTRO TO ZENTANGLE CLASS:
No immediate group classes scheduled (I'm open to hearing about a good venue in Western Massachusetts. I am always happy to teach 1-1 and/or in a small group in your home.)
Come and amaze yourself!
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society