Talk about a dramatic year. And it still has over three months to go.
I know I'm not the only one dealing with drama; Americans in general have their hands full with WAY too much drama at the moment--and given who is in the White House, it's bound to accelerate. And alas, our drama tends to become the world's drama.
However, this isn't a post about politics.
So far this year for me:
I'm feeling concerned and hopeful for my dear friends, all of them--near and far. Feeling impatient to get on with my altered life here. Feeling concerned about the political scene locally and globally. Feeling more concerned than ever about our fragile, beautiful planet.
If I weren't meditating daily...well, I don't want to think about it.
May we be safe.
May we be healthy.
May we find peace, and find compassion for each other.
May we grow kinder.
May we care for our mother, the Earth.
In my previous post (9/20/17), I showed pictures from the workshop on Tangled Fans I attended last Sunday morning at Connecticut Tangle Time (CTT).***
That was the morning. And then came the afternoon. It was all about Kelly Barone and her Tangled Clocks. Here are a few of the ones Kelly has created, some of which she brought as samples to inspire us:
Tangled Paper Clocks...yes!
So as I was saying, in the afternoon, we were taught by Kelly Barone, CZT, owner of Whimsy by Kelly (that's a link to her Etsy shop; she sells the clock kits inexpensively in her shop, folks...this is my evil attempt to enable all you tanglers...).
Kelly was highly organized and her prepared kit was terrific. She began by explaining how she got started on clocks: she had seen a tangled clock made by someone in Germany. She was captivated and immediately tried to track down the source for the materials, but the manufacturer had stopped making them. She looked for months for another source, with no luck.
So...she decided to make her own kit. And she did. Once she got the bumps worked out, she began putting kits together (you can find them on her Etsy site, link above). And we each got a kit at the workshop--so we could start tangling immediately.
This was a project we all started but I only saw one person finish a clock during the workshop. The rest of us had to take the pieces home and work on them, putting the clocks together afterwards. I'll post some of the finished beauties at the end. Note that all of these are other people's work, not mine, except where noted. My own clock is finally finished and is near the bottom of the post.
EXAMPLES OF CLOCKS THE PARTICIPANTS CREATED AFTER THE WORKSHOP:
(Below I've posted some of the clocks that participants have been finishing since the workshop ended--check back for more as people finish and I add to this post.)
I hope you'll visit Kelly's Etsy site (the link is near the top of this post) to see what else she does. She is incredibly creative. Thank you, Kelly, for another great class.
All in all, this was one mind-bogglingly wonderful day. I cannot wait to finish working on my own clock. It may be awhile, but I'll post it when I get it done.
*** "CTT" is an organization for the continuing education of CZTs (Certified Zentangle Teachers) in New England and beyond. If you are a CZT, consider joining them on their Facebook page. You don't have to live in Connecticut, and teachers often make kits available for CZTs who cannot travel to attend the workshops. To join, go to their Facebook page and request membership (you'll have to prove you are a CZT so get out your certificate).
Isn't that what fans are, after all?
I was lucky enough to go to two workshops for CZTs (Certified Zentangle® Teachers) in Connecticut the other day, and we spent the morning with Diane Yaciuk, CZT, learning how to create tangled fans. I was fascinated. So fascinated, I never got to tangle my own fan. That's why this post is about other people's work.
Diane is a marbled paper addict and expert. Check out her work on Facebook HERE. Somewhere along the line, she became interested in Zentangle and fans, and she began the workshop with a little history and a lot of examples to inspire us.
Not only was the workshop itself completely absorbing, but Diane also told us the story behind the paper used in the fans. It's made in Vietnam, in a rural village with no other source of income, and the tradition is in danger of dying out. Some of the papers (see the black paper at the top below) take 100+ steps to create. You cannot believe how luscious these papers are. They have no chemicals or sizing. They are thick and sturdy. Some have tooth and some are very smooth. Diane is starting to sell the papers in order to help the town. You can read all about this HERE (don't miss the videos and fascinating history) and other tabs on that site will lead you to other things Diane's involved in (including her fabulous scarves). The paper story is very compelling. We each got to go home with one of each of the papers. I can't wait to experiment with mine.
Photo of some of the paper samples below. And underneath that are more photos of in-progress fans that I took as participants in the workshop began to tangle on their own fans. Prepare to drool!
After a brief introduction and some good instructions, participants started to work on their own fans. I had permission to take these photos, and was so busy wandering around that I never got my own fan started. But I hope to begin working on it soon. Thanks to all those who allowed me to take photos...especially as I cannot credit most of you because I can't remember who was working on what! Oy.
IN PROGRESS. ...Well actually, this is the start of the linework for my own fan! Finally. That is Kathy Barringer's wonderful tangle "Antique" at the top of the fan, and Chase Messineo's tangle "Ziggle" right underneath (that tangle isn't finished). Plus random linework at the bottom. The finished fan (I added color and more FineTec) is more toward the end of this post.
...and...TA-DA! THE FINISHED FANS ARE BELOW.
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE...
© 2017 to Ann E. Grasso, CZT. This spectacular finished fan is by Ann Grasso. I forgot to mention that one of the goodies in our kits was a jar of FineTec paint. Ann is obviously familiar with these paints and has used them with spectacular results here. I drool every time I look at this. Thanks to Ann for this photograph and permission to post this.
Aren't those finished pieces wonderful? I need to get busy on doing my own. Every summer I reach for a fan when it gets hot and humid. Now I'm curious about their history as well as their practical uses. Time to do some research.
Check back on this post occasionally. I may be updating it, as I am on the trail of getting permission to post other fans as they are finished. Thank you Diane, for one inspiring and very fine workshop.
Next post: The afternoon was equally impressive. I'll keep that topic under wraps for a bit. I hope to have it up in a couple of days.
Today's example is a frankly amazing mandala made by Cari Camarra, CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher). But she didn't draw this. It's not a tangle. It turns out, Cari's a papercutting artist and has been cutting snowflakes and mandalas for years. On Saturday evening while her family was watching tv, she folded some paper and made some cuts. Below is the still-folded, freshly cut piece, and then under that is the staggeringly lovely mandala:
I loved this.
But Cari gave us all a huge chuckle when she 'fessed up about the paper she used. As it turns out, it's the unused end of a roll from her doctor's office's examining table. You could hear the gasps and then the laughs. She assured us it was pristine and had "no butt-imprints on it" before she worked with it. (I think I remember her saying that she worked in a doctor's office and asked them for a whole roll of brand new examining-table-paper about 20 years ago, and is still using that same roll.)
You can find out more about Cari's work HERE (her website) and HERE (her Facebook Page). Thanks to Cari for letting me share this.
Now, where did I put my scissors...?
You may well ask, "Where are the first 5 posts in this series, since this is called number 6?" Um...I've only numbered one other--the first one. But if you look in the right-hand column on this page and scroll down to "Categories," you'll find a category called "Other People's Work." I've actually done several other posts on the topic and forgotten to number them.
Trying to arrange for some work to be done in my kitchen, I had given a local contractor nine dates to choose from. He chose today, the last date I gave him, saying he'd be here "after lunch." I didn't have much hope, I will admit, as I've had a bad experience with him in the past. Using him was not my choice--he's the contractor the company uses for its installations.
Of course, it's now 7 pm and despite my calling him around 3 pm (voicemail), he didn't show up and hasn't contacted me.
Good thing I am reading the following book, which I am thoroughly enjoying:
I am loving this book--although not sure I agree with all of it, but it is a lot to take in. It's very well written and funny. And yet...I wish he had not used the word "true," in the title, which smacks of dogmatism to me. Probably a reflection of my upbringing, but it makes me uneasy.
Anyway, it was no coincidence that I was reading this today.
Well, before I get to the story of the dreaded putty, let me start with some tangles. Here are two entries for this week's Diva Challenge # 332, a square within a square.
Every tangle in each tile is brand-new to me, and it shows. I consider both tiles "first tries" and drafts. Not bad, but of course they'd get better with practice.
In the first tile, three totally new patterns:
On the lower right corner: Kinnggo by Susie Ngamsuwan. Don't blame her--this is my first attempt! I like it though, and will use it in future.
Center/right-ish: Andromeda by Lily Moon.
Upper left: Bealis, by Aurora's Artwork.
My square-within-a-square for the challenge was formed by the Andromeda tangle. This was a fun exercise, even though not very meditative since I was in learning mode. I would need to practice a lot more with each of these, and I intend to. I thought I would try them in this challenge since I'd been wanting to try each of them for a couple of weeks now.
Another brand-new (to me) tangle called Sunspots, by Rosemary Turpin. This is one repeat of the pattern; it's simple and meditative to draw. I figured it qualified for this challenge because there are 4 squares, visually, inside the one repeat.
It would make a great quilt, don't you think?
Lastly, here is the Dreaded Putty--the hand therapy material that is making my hand go crazy with pain, but it's also really helping. The two culprits are Red Putty (softer), and now my wonderful OT has added the dreaded Blue Putty (scarily harder). I have to squeeze the red one and do various torture-y exercises with the blue one. Ack. Ouch. But I know it's helping.
I want my hand back so I can end this "Broken Wrist Series" of tangles and get on with my life.
Impatience has taken over!
We've all heard of Sylvia Plath, famous for her extraordinary poetry, fascinating life, and tragic suicide. But who knew she was also a visual artist? I certainly didn't.
Check out this fascinating article from one of my favorite websites called Brain Pickings. Plath was a visual artist as well as a phenomenal poet. I wish I could post some of those photographs here, but I haven't asked permission, so instead I will direct you to the site of the article where you can see them in all their glory.
Meanwhile, my damaged hand is continuing to respond to intense exercise. It hurts like hell most of the time but it's finally beginning to act like a hand again. (At least it isn't my dominant hand--and for that piece of luck, I am eternally grateful.)
I've been able to tangle a bit more. Here's a recent piece and how it evolved.
The first stage, lines in progress:
Next, here is the piece with the line work done, but without any shading:
And below is the finished piece on the actual journal page, after shading:
This was so much fun to draw, as it was simply line after line after line, each one drawn slowly and deliberately. A meditation in motion.
This weekend is the annual Franklin County Fair, a local tradition that's been going strong since 1843. (HERE is a great article from 2013 about the fair. Lots of photos.)
So off I went to the Fair, early this morning.
Easy to park. Tons of kids with parents, and everyone looking really happy.
I took photos:
Some rather wonderful quilts:
And of course, since it's an agricultural fair, there were plenty of fruit and vegetable exhibits:
It was somewhat ironic to see all the amazing winning fruit and vegetable displays, and then to walk outside and look at the food vendors and realize every item of food being offered to fair-goers was a heart-attack-on-a-plate item like fried dough, french fries, caramel apples, cotton candy, etc. But that too is traditional at county fairs. I passed on the food! I would have loved some of the apples from the photo above, but alas, it was a prize-winning display-only, and none were for sale.
I bought two lovely things:
This stuff felt just luscious on my hands, and was faintly scented in the most subtle way. I have a hunch I will want more, once the cold weather sets in. And a little did a lot.
I thought I would try this stuff for my poor sore damaged hand (from the broken wrist). When I bought it I was thinking, "What a sucker I am. Waste of good money. This will never make a difference." But ya know...I think it does. I am kind of amazed. Time will tell. It's formulated for arthritis. Note the name: "Hot & Flexy."
I was warned to be sure to wash my hands before touching my eyes after using it, because of the ingredients.
Next came ogling some of the many critters on display: the cows, bunnies, goats, butterflies, sheep, turtles, fish, donkeys and a few of these guys:
S/he (?) had just woken up and gotten up off the floor from a comfy night's sleep, hence the wood shavings all over the torso.
I could relate, given how disheveled I often look in the mornings. Ok, maybe I don't wake up covered in wood shavings but you get the idea.
I mentally congratulated all the winners and left, after first walking the midway with all its rides; that must be spectacular when it's lit up at night, and great fun.
Coming home, I made sure to finish doing my hand exercises. Recovering from this injury has been a much bigger challenge than I thought. But in the last 4 days I'm noticing some major improvements.
Two things that made me feel like a winner today: 1) I unpacked three boxes, something I haven't been able to do since I broke my wrist in June. I am beyond thrilled to see some of my favorite authors once more: David Grayson, May Sarton, Henry Beston and an assortment of others. Rumi and Kabir are at the far right. I feel surrounded by friends again, when I look at this shelf in my living room.
And 2), the final major accomplishment: three months after the wrist injury, I was able to hook my bra for the first time with both hands. (I'm putting this at the very end because I figure no one will read this far) For three months I've had to hook it using one hand only, placing it flat on the bed, and then wrestling it on over my head. Awful! A few days ago I tried putting it on normally--and couldn't. I just didn't have the hand flexibility still. I tried every day this week. And then today--SUCCESS!
And that's how I know that things really are improving.
Another insomniac night produced this in my Zentangle® Pre-Strung Journal that's near the bed. I was too lazy to get up and find my colored pencils so used only the Rainbow Lead Pencil. Many of the pre-drawn strings in this journal slide right off the page, as this one does. I love the way Zentangle regularly breaks all the rules.
I am currently reading Tara Brach's extraordinary book, Radical Acceptance, and have been thinking about acceptance in relationships. Note that "acceptance" does not necessarily indicate "agreement with," but rather is an acknowledgement of exactly what is happening--before any action is chosen. In other words, not blindly reacting, but instead seeing the situation clearly and then perhaps being able to choose a wise action rather than going with the first impulse.
I've been bringing these ideas into meditation and learning from them. In a world gone mad with angry, hostile relationships, full of trolls and bullies, there has never been more need for being able to see clearly and choose one's reaction wisely.
This carried over into my tangling, as I found myself starting with the tangle Betweed and then thinking about similarities between Betweed and Mooka, which is what I was playing with here.
...after which I slept quite well, even if not long!
Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change.
Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.
Yesterday I made a 5-minute stop at one of my favorite rug hooking shops, just to gather inspiration. Even though I cannot hook at the moment (the broken wrist), I just wanted to connect with color, wool, and creativity. I needed to ogle some rugs. As it turns out, I was so glad I stopped by. I found this beauty on their floor:
I'm guessing it's about 3-4 feet long and 2-3 feet wide. The colors! Oh, the colors. Just wonderful. So vibrant.
About 2/3 of the rug is done, but as you can see there are two major central areas on each side that are still unhooked. The backing looked to be in great shape. When the shop acquired the rug, no wool came with it (no unhooked matching wool). They've had it for some time now. Here is a close-up of one of the to-be-finished areas, which includes the unusual finishing on one side; the original artist just folded over the backing and hooked through 2 layers to finish it.
I couldn't help wondering what happened to the original rug hooker--why did this get set aside when it was so nearly done? I'm tempted to try to finish it myself!
BUT...Cheryl the Rug Rescuer, are you reading this? This has your name all over it! Are you interested in maybe finishing this rug? If so, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the current owners.
Someone needs to finish this; it's on their floor and it's absolutely gorgeous. I don't know how much they would charge for it.
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