Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I bought three t-shirts, each with a different design I absolutely adored. Each one was like a mandala to me.
[Ok, so it was actually only 2 1/2 hours' drive from here and only about 20 years ago. But I do love these t-shirts.]
Slowly but surely they are all starting to wear out. I got the idea to use the designs for a series of 3 punchneedle embroidery pieces (see the other two designs below), and have just completed the last of the trio. The designer, Rob McLellan, gave his t-shirt designs titles, and the title of this one is "Elksong." Many thanks to the folks at University Silkscreen for giving me permission to interpret these designs in my needlework. I'm really happy to finally be able to share what I've been working on all summer.
Below are the two previous works in my series, Midnight Pony and Redwing Blackbird. Rob McClellan was an artist who lived in Ohio in the late 20th century. He died in a car accident around 2005. A fascinating man, he was adopted by the Cheyenne Tribe and much of his art reflects that.
I spent the day today in Elaine Huffman's studio, learning to make these button-like zendalas from the wonderful Chris Titus. (Yes, Chris is the originator of the Zondom, the clear plastic sleeve to protect Zentangle® tiles. I use these all the time.)
We spent most of the day making the backgrounds; I had to leave a tad early so I only got to tangle this one, but others were able to get a second one done.
Full disclosure: Chris herself had made the backgrounds for all of these to make it easier for us, and we each did the same tangles on them. Here is the group mosaic, with one wonderful exception:
They matched so well with Elaine's pink flamingo tablecloth, don't you think?
Definitely a hugely fun day. Thanks to Chris and Elaine.
Wow, stunningly beautiful weather this last little while--sunny, warm (but not hot), and no humidity! Today was lovely. I drove to a friend's house for a rug hooking event, and we were able to work outside in her gorgeous backyard. Perfect weather and no bugs! We hooked on her patio while viewing her colorful garden and listening to the din from hungry baby birds and their parents in a birdhouse not more than 4 feet over our heads. The birdy-parents came and went ceaselessly, trying to stuff food into the mouths of the kids. And were those kids noisy and demanding! Parenthood is never easy no matter who the parents are...
Here are some of the rugs I saw (of course I got permission for these pictures--thank you all!):
And now for something completely different...
Diana had just gotten back from babysitting for four days while family members took a short vacation to Aruba (something they had won! What luck!). They brought back this amazing object for her. Even more amazing is the description of the artistic process that was used to create it--it may look painted, but it isn't. See the photograph right underneath it describing how it was done. I have never heard of this art before, but I love this little critter. Isn't he (or she) a beauty?
Truly impressive. I will have to google "mopa mopa," which I've never heard of before now.
I capped off the day by 1) treating myself to a wonderful documentary on David Hockney's 2012 and 2016 exhibitions of landscapes and portraits. More visual delight!
And then came home and finished a tense and good WWII-themed novel.
All in all, a delightful summer day. I am feeling fortunate indeed.
This is a quick post that falls squarely in my "Other People's Work" category.
Remember my blog post from 5/23/18 with the phenomenal mosaic that resulted when the entire class put its tiles together? Review the picture here. It's at the bottom of that post.
Well, my internet buddy Susie Ng from Thailand saw that photo and "couldn't resist" giving it a try herself. (Thank heavens.) So she recreated the original tile--putting her own unique spin on it--and then used Photoshop to create a mosaic, using her single tile as its basis. Check out this result. Fantastic! I'm so thrilled that she couldn't resist. We all benefit.
And--hold onto your hats--here is the mosaic she created from the above tile, using Photoshop. I absolutely love this!
Susie is one of the most original and creative tanglers I've ever run across. I read her blog avidly (find it here) and always learn something. I frequently go back and study her tangles to see how she has handled things I would like to learn. We've struck up a bit of a penpal relationship too, and she's just the nicest person. Don't miss her frequent postings in support of animals and animal rescues, often found at the very end of her blog posts. They are alternately funny and incredibly compelling. Enjoy.
Thanks to Susie for allowing me to post this.
"Resistance is futile."
My last two posts have been on the Zentangle® workshop I attended last weekend with Martha Huggins and Molly Hollibaugh leading. All in all, we had over ten hours of drawing time. That's a lot of tangling! And oh, was it lovely.
In the previous posts, I've showed our first drawings and talked about why I liked the workshop. Yet another thing I liked was that we worked with "oldies but goodies," some of the most familiar tangles. Or early tangles that haven't had much attention recently. I love to revisit older tangles and see them in new ways.
So to continue with my own results from the workshop, plus the fabulous "mosaics" (everyone's tiles collected and displayed together), here are some more things we worked on. Today's post is not the end--there is at least one, if not two more posts about the weekend coming over the next couple of days.
Let's start with an old favorite, Bales, done on a Bijou tile (tiny tile) as a warmup:
And of course, once we had these done, we made a mosaic of them. Have a look at the cool similarities and differences:
Next we did another Bijou tile with the tangle Well, which many people have trouble doing. Frankly, I had forgotten all about this tangle and hadn't tried it in years. Loved the reminder and doing it after all this time.
...and of course, we made our mosaic of that also:
But of course we couldn't leave it there. Next we combined the two tangles onto one tile (Bales + Well = "Wales"). Oh, this was even more fun:
...and then of course the class mosaic:
Every collaboration helps you grow.
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.
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!
When I went to my last local rug hooking meeting, I only expected to work on my rug and have fun.
I had NO IDEA what would be waiting for all of us who attended.
We were treated to an incredible show of rugs from Turkey, China, and Iran by one of the members, Elizabeth Vierling. Dr. Vierling is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, but she is also a rug maker and clearly has a passion for textiles. I took a million photographs...unfortunately my memory of her very informative commentary on the origins and purposes of each piece is fading fast, but here are some of the photos. Enjoy!
I believe this first piece was from Turkey. It is very large and I think Elizabeth uses it as a rug in her home. It is embroidered, using a couching stitch I think (see detail in last photo). Probably circa mid 20th-century.
The color work is just sensational. After ogling the piece (above) for a good long while, we all decided we are not using enough orange in our own designs.
Apologies in advance to Elizabeth for how much I have already forgotten of what she said about each textile. Her commentary on where she located each one, where and how each was created, and what each may have been used for, was fascinating. But in the week since I saw these works, all of her commentary has started to slide right out of my head. Darn!
If memory serves me--which likely it doesn't--below are two clothing panels embroidered by the Miao people of China (one of China's long-suppressed minority groups, now finally beginning to emerge and be recognized for their rich history and cultural treasures).
And if that weren't enough, there was more, and more still...click on each thumbnail to progress through the items, or just hit "Play."
One of the most dramatic textiles was the one below. I loved these tiny aliens. The work is so beautiful, and the colors vibrant. Each thumbnail has a different view (or you can just hit "Play").
Elizabeth travels for academic conferences, and is occasionally able to extend the travel time in order to take in more of the culture of the countries she is in. This is why she has been able to explore and research textiles on some of her trips.
Aren't we fortunate--those of us who were there to see this show? With thanks to Elizabeth for letting me photograph and post the photos, for her lively talk and especially for lugging all the heavy, bulky textiles to the meeting. All of her hard work resulted in a fabulous experience for the rest of us.
A few years ago I was fortunate enough to go to a hook-in in Vermont and met Dana Psoinas from New York, one of the most extraordinary rug hookers and artists today. I had already been mesmerized by her "Guardian" rug in a photograph, and suddenly, there was the real thing, right in front of me on the floor in Shelburne Vermont.
And there was Dana herself. A more talented and nicer person you just cannot find. She specializes in rugs that tell stories, usually stories from fairy tales or myths.
I was star-struck. We hit it off and have corresponded occasionally since then. Lucky me.
I am still star-struck by her work, and so will you be. Read on!
She recently showed me three drawings she has done--freehand, mind you!--on linen, to sell as patterns for other rug hookers. One of them is at the top of this post, and the rest are below, along with a sketch she hasn't yet drawn on foundation.
More information about Dana and her process is at the end of this post.
She sold these through her Etsy site--but please be aware that these patterns are NOT FOR SALE now. They were/are one-of-a-kind. She is busy with her own rug making and does not stock or sell patterns all the time. There is a wonderful photo of her finished Guardian Rug on her Etsy site--please have a look to see just how phenomenal her rug hooking is. She works in 2-, 3-, and 4-cuts to achieve her extraordinary rugs.
Check her site from time to time in case she does post something to sell...who knows, you may get lucky!
If you wonder about her creative process and want to know a bit more about her, you can check this recently-written blog post with more photographs of her rugs. Enjoy.
With thanks to Dana for letting me post this!
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:
My next Beginning Zentangle® class will be for a private group in October. That class is full.
I'll be teaching another beginning class at the Greenfield Community Center in the spring of 2019, date to be determined. 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