This was the final tile we did at the workshop that ended yesterday. I've referred to the Perfs (the official Tangle name) as "Pearls" in the title of today's post because they look that way to me.
Because the venue needed to ready the room for the next workshop, there was no time to do a class mosaic so I don't have a picture to show of what would undoubtedly have been a really magnificent collection of tiles. I really enjoyed creating this one, and would like to play more with this particular string. Thanks to Martha & Molly for a truly amazing experience.
When I got home last night it was smotheringly humid here, really unpleasant. But overnight the weather shifted. Here was Dave Hayes the Weather Nut's forecast this morning. It cracked me up!
"THE 411 FOR THE 413: SUNNY, WARM, SWEET, NICE, AWESOME, PLEASANT, KILLER, GREAT, LOVELY, FABULOUS, MORE PLEASE, AND THANK YOU..."
He turned out to be 110% accurate. Love him--so helpful. It is absolutely exquisite out there. I just took a long walk and spotted these phlox broadcasting their extraordinary color along the sidewalk. Most phlox here are shriveling up now, but because these are in shade for much of the day they're still going. In person, the color is nearly psychedelic, almost too much for the eyes.
This little beauty is a much smaller mosaic that the one I posted yesterday, but it is the same pattern I posted yesterday. I took this shot of "3-Z tiles" placed into a tiny four-person mosaic before everyone else at the workshop added their own tiles. Even though it's small, I had trouble remembering which was mine, but I finally determined it's at the lower left.
This is an even better illustration than yesterday's of how we all heard the same instructions, and we all used the same materials, and yet each person produced a unique result.
Life is like art - it is all about interpretation.
Just back from a workshop led by Martha Huggins and Molly Hollibaugh of the Zentangle® family. (If you are unfamiliar with Zentangle, click on that link and prepare to enjoy their well-done website loaded with art eye candy.) I was very fortunate to attend with a good friend, and we got to spend the whole weekend doing art. Such luxury!
I have many more photos to post but to start, here are examples of two tiles we did this morning. After both my own tiles, I'll post the mosaic from the group. Not familiar with this terminology? Not to worry, here's what I mean:
"tile" = a small piece of paper that we draw on, and
"mosaic" = the collection created when a class puts all their tiles together.
The fun of the mosaic is that everyone has heard the same instructions, but look at the assembled collections of tiles below (mosaic) to see how individual each tile is. And yet they go together wonderfully.
Here are my own two tiles, and the class mosaics follow.
The mosaic of most of the tiles based on Printemps. Some people used Renaissance tiles for this one; most people used white. Isn't this an amazing mosaic? Not everyone had time to contribute a tile but I think this was the majority of the class. We all heard the same instructions; note all the differences and yet they all work when put together.
Two of my good buddies have been wanting to learn Zentangle®, so I went over to their place and did a class today. They did great--have a look at these results:
Really well done.
Of course, I forgot the handouts I had carefully prepared and printed before the class. It's been about two years since I have had a chance to teach tangling, mostly because of buying a house, packing, moving, unpacking, and then the Great Broken Wrist Adventure.
So it was truly wonderful to be able to refresh my teaching skills today with kind friends. Mind you, I have NO idea what they thought about it, but I sure had fun, and am delighted with their results. I hope they are also.
Much of what I've been doing in the last month involves embroidery with punchneedle and wool yarns. Unfortunately, I can't really show it here because the designs I'm using, both of which came off t-shirts I own, are not mine and I can't reach the artist for permission. But I'll show a portion of one of them...the back end of a horse. Here it is. I am really in love with working with wool yarns (these are lace weight and/or sock yarns) in my punchneedle.
The pink-ish background is a single ply hand-dyed Malabrigo lace weight yarn. Really the possibilities are endless since sock and lace-weight yarns come in so many colors now.
One of the best things about this is that I can try out rug designs in punchneedle first, before going ahead with the dyeing for a large rug only to discover that the colors or the design are not working. Better to find that out in a small punchneedle piece than after spending money for wool yardage or expensive wool rug yarn.
After weeks of playing peek-a-boo, leaves are exploding on the trees here. Yesterday I could see houses clearly through the trees in my backyard. This morning when I looked out, all I could see was leaves. Overnight.
Of course, it's not actually overnight as budding and growing has been happening for weeks, but something in the weather of the last few days has caused an explosion of leaves from their buds. They are so green, tender, and beautiful.
I haven't deserted the blog; my lack of entries is only due to the fact that I have been focused on punch needle embroidery and am working on two large projects that I haven't been able to get permission to show. The designer is dead, unfortunately, and I've no idea how to get in touch with his estate. I'm still working on it.
But since I'm teaching a Zentangle® beginner's class in two weeks, I'm now focusing on that. I found out today that the class is full and has a waiting list. I warmed up this morning with the typical beginner's tile (including tangles always taught and one frequently taught in a first class. If was fun to go back to basics.
I'd hoped to use my new projector and ipad for teaching this time, but in trying them out over the last couple of days, I've been unable to make them work well. Argh! I'll figure it out.
My "beginner tile" above was done while I was holding up the projector with my left hand and tangling with my right. Talk about awkward...even so, I could feel myself slipping into the meditative state found when doing Zentangle.
Next I decided to try a new tangle:
The main tangle here is called Safflower, by Sarah Fowler. This is my (mis-)interpretation of her stepouts. Does not look anything like hers, but that's ok. Done with a Micron 01 and graphite on an Apprentice Tile. I snuck some Mooka in on the lower right and bordered it with a few dots. Shading was...a challenge!
The Diva Challenge in mid-April involved two of my favorite tangles, Shattuck and Tripoli. A "duotangle." (Click on that link for eye candy--scroll down to the bottom of her blog for the location where everyone posts their response to her challenge) Here's my response. You really never know what will happen when you sit down to tangle, as this just proves. This one's just...odd. I like it though. Other than the two tangles requested for the challenge, the tile includes random linework.
I can't express how good it feels to be tangling again after several weeks of working on other art. Tangling has a unique place in my heart. Rug hooking can be so relaxing and meditative. Ditto with any type of drawing. Punch needle embroidery is also extremely relaxing. But tangling just takes me to another place, a quiet place, a place of focus and calmness. And it happens almost as soon as my pen hits the paper.
"The last time I checked, it was still legal to take long, deep breaths."
It seems Spring is scarce as hen's teeth around here. It comes and then goes just as quickly. Fortunately last Saturday we had one glorious spring day, coinciding with our rug hooking meeting in Connecticut at Ann's farmhouse. The weather and sun smiled upon us; all of us were able to attend, and we had a blast.
I have only a few pictures (since many of us have been working on the same projects for quite a long time) but they'll be worth seeing.
Well, of course--those of you who've been reading the rug hooking category of this blog will recognize Cheryl the Rug Rescuer's name and title. Yes, this is ANOTHER rug rescue by our intrepid colleague. I believe the designer's name is Denise Mitchell...see this close-up below:
Apparently Denise (if I have her name correct) was a rug hooking teacher who died recently. Before her death she designed and hooked most of this rug, but was unable to finish it. Another rug hooker who didn't feel able to tackle the job approached Cheryl, asking her to do complete it, and gave her the remaining wool for the rug. Cheryl accepted the challenge and is basically done with the hooking now. Someone else will take care of the binding, and then the rug will go to the woman who asked Cheryl to finish it. Denise, wherever she's currently existing, would be proud to see her rug completed. A better photo is below.
Elizabeth was punching away on this beauty:
And Kathleen had brought along this pattern to work on for the day (K is in the middle of two other very complicated gorgeous rugs, too large to carry around):
That's it for the rug photos, but wait until you see what is coming next. Ann, our hostess, brought out a hand-embroidered tablecloth that had us all drooling down our shirts. One of her relatives (grandmother? uh-oh, I can't remember) had begun this, and I think Ann prevailed upon an aunt to complete it. It is just stunning. I took lots of photos. Here it is:
Here are more photos of various motifs, and some close-ups. What a labor of love.
You may be wondering (but you probably aren't!!!), "Where's your rug?" My rug is so close to done that I've decided to wait until it is done to show the photo. Since I am moving at a snail's pace--too busy to work on it much--that could be another month, but I hope not. I'll try to get it done and on here sooner.
Instead, since Ann had been asking me about punchneedle, I did bring my latest punchneedle project. I finished it this morning. Still debating how to frame it. Below you can see the original tee-shirt I've had for at least ten years, if not more, with this design on the front. And next to it, my punchneedle version. The tee-shirt is fading, and I've loved this redwing blackbird image for so long that I cannot bear to lose it, so I wanted to immortalize it in punchneedle.
The one problem: I cannot find any contact information for the original artist, Rob McClellan. I believe I've traced him to Ohio, and have even found a gallery there that sells some of his work. But the most recent work they have is decades old. I wrote to the gallery to see if they could help me locate him, but they wrote back to say they have no idea how to do that. If anyone--anyone!--knows how to locate him (I suspect he may be long dead--I've found some photos of someone with that name on the internet but they too are decades old), PLEASE let me know. Clearly I did this for myself only and will not be selling or profiting in any way from the piece, but I would love to find him and thank him and credit him even more than I can by doing this.
A happy Spring to all. May it come, and stay for awhile, before the summer.
I know we've had winter this late before. Four years ago to the day, in fact, I'm pretty certain we also had snow. Today we had snow plus drizzle ("snizzle," says our local forecaster), plus now rain. It's grim out there, and of course, in Boston, the Marathon goes on. Admiration for those runners!
Much as I dislike heat, I'm ready for spring and even--gulp--summer.
Spent part of the morning coloring this tile. It has a story attached (see below).
So here's the story. A few days ago, Cris Strovilas Letourneau--a CZT and author I admire--found out that while she & daughter Alexa were visiting her sister for an overnight, their house burned to the ground. Unfortunately, their husband/father was inside and didn't make it out. He died in the fire. I cannot imagine the grief and shock and loss.
To make bad matters even worse, it now appears the fire was started by a burglar who was in the house. Of course, HE got out just fine.
There's a GoFundMe page set up and I've contributed, but I've been feeling so badly for Cris and Alexa. Other than sending prayers, there's not much I can do (I don't know her, have just met her once), and then Sonya Yencer, another CZT, created a tangle named SoulStar with Cris and Alexa and Cris's husband in mind. So last night and this morning I did the tile above.
While working on the tile, it came to me that the front "star" (lower right) is for Cris, the star tucked behind that one is for Alexa, and the "lead star" that appears to be a comet in the upper right is her husband, on his way through transition, leaving that golden trail behind as he sets out on his journey. The fact that his circle is smaller seemed to me to be about the fact that he's given up a physical life and is now on his way in soul-form.
My heart goes out to them each day. May their loss lessen, even though I know it will never go away, and may he travel safely into the Light.
"Body at rest, spirit free."
This is the reason I have not been getting any tangling done at all. It's a punchneedle embroidery, and measures about 9 & 3/4" square. I have always loved doing this type of embroidery and have Linda Repasky to thank for teaching me; she was kind enough to show me how to punch while we were having breakfast near the Shelburne Museum, probably about 15 years ago. I've been doing this form of needlework ever since.
I spotted the pattern for this piece at The Old Tattered Flag a couple of years ago and knew immediately that I wanted to make it. Julie, the designer, is just great. I also recommend the spinner frame she uses and sells.
Below are photos of the piece in progress. I began punching the coverlet about 3 weeks ago, with plenty of days where little or nothing got done because of other commitments. It was such fun to make.
A lovely ride with new friends this morning to a rug hooking event at a church about an hour away. Very well organized, and 165 people in attendance. I only photographed a few rugs, but aren't these wonderful?
Good people, good food, good vendors. What's not to love? I even won a prize, and I never win stuff at these events. All in all a very satisfying day. We started out early in very cold weather and saw plenty of snow on the ground and gorgeous snow-laden trees. Driving home, all the snow was gone. Spring is on the way...if we can only hold out long enough!
Sometimes things just surprise you. (Like every day, perhaps?)
They just don't turn out the way we expect, and we have to roll with the punches. Take this oddity:
After weeks of not being able to tangle because I was working on other projects, I had a few moments today to sit down. So how did I come up with this bizarre piece?
The photo above is a picture of Barbara Demorest, who founded Knitted Knockers, my absolute favorite things to knit. She's sitting on a pile of (as-yet-unstuffed) Knockers. I added to the pile this morning when I mailed off over 60 Knockers I made--I sent them to her organization to distribute, free, to cancer survivors who've had mastectomies. This is such a rewarding and compelling reason to knit.
Below you can see what a Knocker looks like once it's been stuffed with polyester. So much better than the silicone/plastic prostheses, which are heavy and can promote sweating and irritation. Knitted Knockers are light, airy, washable, and more closely resemble a genuine breast.
Let me allow Barbara and her organization to explain, as they can do it much better than I can.
If you've had a mastectomy, I hope you will contact the organization and ask for a free Knitted Knocker.
And if you're a knitter, I certainly hope you will volunteer to make a few of these. If you do, be sure to go to the organization's website to find a zillion patterns (knitted or crocheted, and many options for how to make them) and a list of "approved yarns." Using only approved yarns is very important, as only certain fibers can be tolerated next to delicate and/or healing skin. Thank you for considering this!
Here's the bag I sent to the organization this morning. It's absolutely stuffed to the gills with Knockers I've made while watching tv in the evenings. So easy to do, and so helpful to breast cancer survivors.
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:
I'm teaching a Beginning Zentangle® class at the Greenfield Community Center on May 29th from 1-3 pm. They do not have a website so please call them for more information.
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