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."
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?
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!
another tangle from "the broken wrist" series.
the hand is hurting, so i took this monotangle challenge from the weekly diva challenge (with a guest challenger this week) and vowed to keep things as simple as possible. here is my 'nzeppel. micron 01, graphite. period.
just about all i could manage today!
<--here is the reason i can't type much.
or type well. or use capital letters.
but this is a vast improvement over the first cast i was in, which included a sling. that meant i was totally one-handed. with this cast, i can cheat a little. not much.
in yesterday's post i discussed how i ran amok with the tangle peanuckle, which was this week's diva challenge. see that post for the details and result.
well...! one of the other participants, susie ngamsuwan, also ran amok, only much more effectively. not only did she produce two gorgeous tiles, but she came up with an easier way of drawing the same tangle. so creative. see her work and her step-out here. it's so worth reading--and check out the rest of her blog! fabulous.
after seeing how she did it, i had to try again. result:
on the left side of the tile i tried drawing it according to molly's original instructions (molly came up with the pattern), but did it very large. i liked it ok, but got lost near the end and had to fudge some embellishments.
on the upper right of the tile i tried it again, very small, but used susie ng's instructions. easy! not only did i not get lost but i experimented with the 'join' between the peas. i liked the effect.
i threw in a couple of mooka and then tried it a 3rd time, using susie's instructions, on the bottom of the tile, and this time fooled around with an inner spiral on the peas. once again, i never got lost and it was fun to draw.
thanks, susie! you're so clever. i'll actually be using this tangle now.
prepare for a tangle gone completely amok. this was in response to this week's "i am the diva challenge #325," from guest challenger Jessica Davies. click on that link to see what this tangle is SUPPOSED to look like. note: nothing like mine.
the challenge tangle is "pea-nuckle," one of my least favorites (sorry, molly!). rather than doing it in a solid block, i wondered what would happen if i 1) tried to bend it in a circle, 2) made the insides of the "peas" something other than straight lines, and 3) connected them to each other not using the usual straight lines. oh dear...
which begs the question, is this even the pea-nuckle tangle anymore? or just a hot mess?
i'm hoping i can use my current broken wrist as an excuse. though there's probably no excuse for this!
The Diva Challenge #245 this week is on Hollibaugh. Oh, how I love this tangle. I know there will be some fabulous renditions of it, so please click on that link and treat yourself to what others have done. Here is my quick version (on the left), very different from what I usually do.
And to round off the Hollibaugh celebration, here is the same tangle done by several first-time students, below. I had only 7 minutes to teach this tangle in a meditation class (all the students were training to be meditation teachers):
You can see the meditation chimes on the left. I do love Hollibaugh. Not bad for seven minutes of coaching. We were focused on the meditative aspect of the tangle.
And now on to the
BIG YARN DYEING PROJECT, Day 2.
Life is full of surprises and today is no exception. I will only get 3 skeins done today. My goal is six, but...not gonna happen. Much busyness with other people. And my car is in the shop. (Praying to the god of cars that it is an inexpensive fix) Plus, I have an afternoon commitment. I will end up dyeing yarn tonight, just to produce the third skein. As I write this in the early afternoon, I've just taken two out of the oven. So here are some photos of the process:
...and some of the results:
And of course, no dyeing process would be complete without what's in this last photo below. At least--that's true for me. I am apparently a dyeing slob. I get dye all over my hands, despite wearing good rubber gloves. It's a mystery how I do this; other people come out with pristine hands, but mine are always gross at the end. (No, the gloves do not leak. It's definitely something I am doing...but what?) Without this stuff, I wouldn't be able to go out in public for days afterwards.
Legend has it that Pearl McGown, the diva and doyenne of rug hooking in the 1950s, used to dye wool while dressed in an evening gown to demonstrate that it could be done without being messy. (NOTE: She is an entire story to herself--she singlehandedly kept rug hooking going in the U.S., but she was quite the dictator.)
Hey, if I owned an evening gown, I too could dye wool while wearing it without getting spots on it. I never get dye on my clothes either.
But I note that the legend of Pearl Dyeing in Her Evening Gown says nothing about her HANDS. Perhaps they were blue up to the elbows when she finished. Mine are all colors when I am done.
Long live ReDuRan. (No, I don't get a commission.)
More experiments with black gesso. But today, I put it on black tiles rather than a white one as I did yesterday. I am really enjoying experimenting with this.
Am also enjoying good company and the pleasure of spending time with dear friends. You know who you are!
That's what I'm thankful for this week.
A few weeks back, the Diva (Laura Harms) talked about using black gesso on a white Zentangle® tile, rather than using an official black tile. She had a lot to say about this and why she preferred to gesso a white tile to create a black surface (you will have to scroll down her post to get to the part about the gesso and why she uses it), and I was intrigued. I finally got hold of some black gesso and tried it out today. I never intended to post this tile--it's terrifically wonky and certainly not one of my best. But somehow, it's growing on me, so here it is.
I'll be experimenting more with this. The Sigma Uniball (white pen) and the white and Rainbow pencils definitely handled better on the gesso surface than they do on the traditional black tiles. Hmmmm.
Meanwhile, while I was downtown the other day I ran into this guy:
Yes, it's Mr. Edgar Allan Poe with his raven and tell-tale heart. I knew the statue was there, but this is the first time I'd seen it. Very well done. The poor guy looks miserable and stressed out, which he was in real life--and he truly hated Boston even though he lived here for awhile. Now he's a permanent resident and looks like he would rather be anywhere else. It's a great monument though. You should be able to move your cursor over each photo and click them better if you are interested. The heart was particularly disturbing.
“When I was young and filled with folly, I fell in love with melancholy”
― Edgar Allan Poe
Diva Challenge #243 was to keep things simple and "leave the majority of the tile empty." So I did. I just used my own tangle, Miss Fisher, and a tiny bit of Mysst, along with a few random other lines. Colored with the Rainbow Lead Pencil.
Very simple. And easy. I think I will try a few more tiles in this fashion today if I have a chance (and I did, at the bottom of this post). I'm not sure if "Miss Fisher" actually qualifies as a tangle, since if memory serves me right, a tangle is defined as being formed with no more than three lines. (I'll have to look that up) But I like it anyway. It's based on a stenciled decoration in the living room of the PBS-sponsored mystery series of the same name.
Ok, off to do some yarn dyeing, which is my main goal for today.
With the exception of the last skein, the dark purple skein, I was focused on lighter colors today. And in so doing, I learned a lot. I'll say more about that next time I post, once these skeins have dried and I've had a chance to wind them up so they look more presentable. Finally, another "simple tangle" for the Diva's Challenge?
Tangles are Mooka and Niuroda with a few embellishments. I enjoyed the simplicity of this challenge.
Now I get to go to the Diva's site and see what everyone else did with this, and I know there will be wonderful tangles to see there.
All in all, a very good day--I'm exhausted!
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