i heard the sound of crickets last evening for the first time since last year.
to be more specific, i heard one lone cricket, and then about a block or so later, a second lone cricket. there is something about their sound that makes me so happy.
today i experimented with drawing a cricket (thus, the "hope" part of the title, as it was only the second day since i broke my wrist (mid-june) that i began to feel i was getting better. more about that later...
here is the very silly result--the first sketch is a cartoon cricket (from the jiminy cricket species), and the second one only a tad more realistic. both were done from youtube videos that i found when i typed in "how to draw a cricket."
below is my contribution to IAST 209 (the "it's a string thing" challenge). i was so happy to feel well enough to try this tonight. this makes two days of less swelling and pain, i'm almost afraid to feel hopeful, but i'm going with it tonight!
This was the original Compass Rose Mandala taught by Kate Lamontagne at Tangle U 16 a week or so ago. We were each given a selection of Prismacolor pencils and Moonlight Gellyroll 06 pens and Microns, along with a cool tool to create a basic mandala.
We all followed the same directions...and sure enough, everyone produced wildly-different pieces. I love that.
These are not "my" colors, but since I got them, I wanted to challenge myself to use them, and am glad that I did.
So naturally I couldn't leave that alone.
Well, I guess I could...and did--the original still looks exactly like the photo above. But I had to try a few experiments.
So I got out my iPhone and here's a slideshow of the results. Same photo run through 1) the mirror app and then 2) an app called Painteresque.
Hover over each photo below for a caption; then click on each photo to biggify it.
I loved working on the original, and then playing with it further. Now...since it's a Compass Rose Mandala, which "direction" is the favorite?
Well. It's almost done. The hooking is done. Next comes:
And you wonder why hand-hooked rugs are so expensive. Every time you buy a cheapo hooked rug from China (and they are out there, plenty of them), you are disempowering an American or Canadian artist. But it's not my intention to get on THAT soapbox today.
And now...the rewards:
So after all this hooking (not to mention the Big Yarn Dyeing Project over the last six days), I decided to self-indulge with some rewards. My new freaky shoes (see the post from two days ago), one of which is visible in the rug photo above, were the start of an orgy of self-indulgence.
Just today my new dye spoons arrived from Gene Shepherd's online store. These arrived with lightning speed. I think I may even have ordered them on Thanksgiving, just last Thursday, and it's only Monday. I love them. They have so many advantages in this form, and I love that the measures go from 1/128th to 1 full teaspoon.
They were expensive, as all good dye spoons are, but I know the value of top-of-the-line tools, and these are definitely in that category.
There's more though.
Here are Carrie Paris's beautiful new Relative Tarot Cards, which you can find more about here. I can't wait to begin using these. (They are sold out temporarily but she'll be reprinting soon.)
While I am taking a short break from dyeing massive quantities of yarn for my new Moon & Clouds rug, I'll really enjoy working with Carrie's cards. And of course, I will be working with tarot at the opening of the tarot rug show on Friday.
Well, after scaring the pants off of readers with yesterday's post on my new shoes, I thought I'd post something more subdued today.
I really needed those silly shoes yesterday as I was in a dark mood all day. Really not sure why, and that is very unusual for me. Part of it may have been weather-related as it was dark, gloomy, and rainy out, but normally that's not an issue. Who knows! The shoes cheered me up, and doing that tile cheered me up just before I went to bed.
BYDP (Big Yarn Dyeing Project) DAY 6:
After getting nothing done yesterday except cleaning the house, I was back in the dyepots today. Three more skeins are just about ready to come out of the oven, and with them, I will have officially finished 1/4 of the dyeing for the background for this large rug.
The background will be 4 colors of dark purple, and today's haul completes one of the four. I need at least 8 skeins of each. I have 6 more dyed of color #2 already, and 2 skeins of color #3, so I am nearly halfway there.
Doing a small batch and then cleaning up today was easier than just leaving my kitchen set up for dyeing for several days in a row. That was incredibly disruptive.
I will be busy for part of this week at the upcoming opening of the tarot rug show in Vermont (see my earlier posts for details on that); this means I needed to "park" the Big Yarn Dyeing Project today. It will be several days before I can resume.
I am in yarn dyeing heaven. Or hell. Depending how I look at it. Am not making my daily goal, and my house truly looks like a tornado has struck full-force. But more about that later. This is quick post just to record what I did for the Joey Challenge this week, the monotangle Yuma.
I have spirals on the brain this week, so wanted to use a spiral string. It's debatable whether I did a true form of Yuma here, but what the hey. Here's a mirrored version, using the iPhone app:
Back to the yarn dyeing saga: I only managed to get 3 skeins done again today. And I won't really be able to see them until daylight tomorrow. Next step: stop until I've spent a couple of hours coloring sketches, and make a semi-final decision about which lighter colors to use. Then, calculate how many of each color I will need, creating a map that will govern the rest of the process. I think I've done enough testing. Time to get down to business.
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.
Paris. Beirut. Iraq. Syria. Egypt. All have experienced horrific violence recently, making so much of the world so sad, and leaving us all asking why. Not just why on an intellectual level (all the political/economic/faux-religious causes) but why on a human level. Why. Just, why.
Makes me feel as though there is little I can do. But there is something we all can do: work on ourselves; watch our thoughts and our speech. I need to remember to do this every day. I do not always succeed. My hope is that we can be kinder to each other. Be more compassionate. I am not talking about becoming doormats for violence; tough love is warranted when needed. But coming from love, not from hate. (I know it is hard to imagine coming from love right now, with some of what's been going on. But if we act from hate only, we are no better than those we criticize.)
So easy to say. So hard to do. Please take one moment to watch this video (2 minutes) about a man who lost his wife in the Paris attacks. As I said, so easy to say, so hard to do--but he is doing it. May the Goddess help him in his effort.
Thinking about this, I created another zendala today based on yesterday's class. It is barely a zendala because there is only one tangle in there, but the tangle matters. It's called "Paris," and was created by Ina Sonnenbrand after the tragedy last Friday. So if you look closely, you'll see it in the mandala in two of the layers. It's based on the Eiffel Tower. My heart goes out to France. And Beirut, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and on and on.
Tangle: Paris, by Ina Sonnenbrand. Microns 1 and 01, Prismacolor pencils, Moonlight Gelly Pen, and a Pentel Brush Pen that was basically too dry to use. Gamisol was used in a few places as an experiment.
Below is the same piece, but "painted in Waterlogue," an iPhone app I played around with. It made me think of all the tears we have shed over this kind of violence.
Hull, Massachusetts, that is. On the way home this evening from a Zentangle® get-together, CZT Debra and I drove down to the Hull Gut (one end of the Hull Peninsula) on the advice of CZT Elaine and her husband, both of whom told us to check it out. The sunset was OUTRAGEOUS...
And if that stunning view wasn't enough, eight or nine CZTs attended the get-together in a wonderfully comfortable room in the church hall and Victoria Dewey Babbin led us through her freeform mandala process. There were a few minor technical issues with the camera at the start of her presentation, and, thinking I knew where she was going, I zoomed ahead--and thus I didn't grasp her basic concept once the problems were resolved and she resumed. When, oh when, will I learn? I was too far ahead to change what I'd done, once she explained her technique. So you won't see it below, sigh...
Nevertheless, I think I understood what she was getting at, even though it's not shown here. I had a lovely time, finished the work tonight, and only later realized that I had come up with very similar colors to the sunset we saw on our way home. I must have had sunset on the brain--even before it happened.
Prismacolor pencils with Moonlight Gellyroll pens (highlights) and an 01 Micron.
Today I was reading a very helpful post on white-on-black tiles by Betsy Wilson, and tested out some of her techniques (which is why my result below resembles a highly mediocre version of one of her her originals). I think Betsy will be my new idol--from the little I've seen of her other posts I really love her work.
I often like my own work too, even though I know that I need practice. But I don't particularly like this tile below. I also don't think comparisons are often useful, but even I can see, when I compare my tile to hers, that I have a long way to go. I understand, however, that practice will be my savior here. I will keep at it. Holding out Betsy's technique as a model will be useful, not discouraging, even though I am not at all thrilled with this first try.
This tile started out with the central Meer motif; I was using a white Broad UniBall Signa pen, and the ink was NOT going on well at all. It was not fun to use. Next I repeated the Meer motif in the upper left with a Faber Castell white colored pencil, testing that out. Better, but so much fainter it seemed to be disappearing on the black paper. Not happy with that either. Finally I did the Meer motif on the lower right with a white GellyRoll pen. Surprisingly, I liked that best--which isn't saying much. The coverage on all three was not that good.
At that point I thought I had finished, but then threw in some Rainbow Lead pencil for a bit of color, and added the Beadlines.
My overall feeling: Meh. (Live and learn)
Well, since I wasn't thrilled, I couldn't just leave it alone, so I went into my iPhone and used my mirror app on it. I don't know if that made it better or worse! I am definitely fascinated with this app...see below.
And just one more try with the app...see below.
I find this mirroring app mesmerizing. These hardly resemble the original at all.
More practice (and perhaps studying more of Betsy's blog) should help me improve my technique.
I can feel a major research project with the black tiles coming on!
While I'm on the topic of inspiring blogs:
If any of you reading this are confused about what Zentangle® is and why it should not be called doodling, take just a moment and read this post by CZT Sandy Hunter. I love what she's written here.
Don't get me wrong; I'm a big fan of doodling and I doodle all the time, but doodling has a different genesis and purpose, as I discussed in this post which I wrote in June of 2014.
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