Love that quote by H.G. Bohn. It sums up exactly what I've been feeling about not-doing art.
If ya don't do it, it just doesn't get done. (Bohn said it better)
Why haven't I been doing art...and for so long? Because I moved house. And naively, I had no idea that it would take me much longer to UN-pack than it ever did to pack. and move.
I'm still not done, but I just can't wait any longer to start doing at least a tiny bit of art. So today I managed to produce one Zentangle®:
Wow, it has been so long since I've done any of this work on my own that a blank tile was really intimidating. All I knew was I wanted "something round." And I've been saving tangles I liked when I've seen them on the net. I started off with Banana Braid, which was new to me, and then went to a "mac and cheese" (comfort) tangle by Carole Ohl, and then tried another new one.
Of course, I couldn't resist fiddling with these on my iPhone.
I tried out 2 different colorways above, on the iPhone.
Ahem. So, in conclusion, what I've learned is:
If you wait, all that happens is that you get older.
Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
I meant to tell you that yesterday, but...
Here is the completed piece I embroidered to cover the ugly logo on my fleece jacket. It needs a bit more tweaking and then I can take it off the frame, trim it, and sew it into place.
Until I do that, I won't really know if my idea has worked, so my fingers are crossed. Although I'm experienced at hand sewing, I'm often too impatient to do the best possible job, and this time I hope to go slowly and carefully and get it done right. I'll post a photo of it on the jacket once that's done by adding it at the end of this post.
With thanks to Hanny Waldburger, CZT, for her tangle Pearl in Balance, which enabled me to design this. The final size is 4.75" x 2.25" (more info on the tangle in my first post on this topic) and until I started working on it I wasn't sure if I could get the detail using punch needle embroidery, but it worked well.
In the spirit of the title of this series, "Traveling in Unknown Realms," I took the photo above and used it as the basis for two of my favorite iPhone apps. First is a photo from the Kaleidoscope App, a nice closeup of a rotated section:
I like the view of the individual loops in that photo, even though the design has been manipulated.
Finally I ran the original photo through the Waterlogue app:
Unknown Realms, indeed.
"Making art is like swimming underwater in a blindfold." --Darby Bannard
Boy, doesn't that sound fancy!
Especially since I'm only sitting right here in my living room.
But in fact, I feel like I am indeed traveling in unknown realms, as I blunder my way towards a huge project I'm considering. I haven't yet said what it is, but it's something that most people have already done long before they reach my age. It's not my intention to be cagey about it, but at the moment all I'm willing to say is that it's going to take a long time--if I even take the plunge--and it's likely to use up all my energy for a very long time. Months, if not more. Sorry to be mysterious, but until I've decided, "I'm in!" I just don't want to disclose it.
Alas, I can hardly think about anything else, and that's pretty limiting.
But that's not the only unknown realm I'm traveling in. In an effort to keep some creativity going despite the distraction of the Big Project, I've been working on very small textile pieces, all of them punch needle embroidery. Today I was attempting to design a 2.25" x 4.25" piece that I want to use to decorate a fleece jacket. I want to embroider something that will cover up an ugly logo that's currently on the left front side of the jacket.
Design is always an Unknown Realm for me. Always.
This was my first idea:
And my second idea:
And then i played around with the first idea:
So then later this afternoon I decided to pursue the first idea and see if I could turn it into a pattern. I spent the last hour or so doing just that. I want the motif to be slightly to the right of center. All punch needle embroidery is done backwards, so a pattern needs to be reversed.
Here's the resulting pattern. Now the big question is: Can I actually pull this off, or is it just too detailed?
The bottom line is I don't know if I can make this work, and won't know until I try punching it.
Which brings me right back into the Unknown Realm, where I am eternally a rank beginner (just as I am with the Big Project) and where everything is an experiment. Just like life.
Life is 'trying things to see if they work.' (Ray Bradbury)
*** The Pearl in Balance tangle stepouts are HERE. Thanks to Hanny Waldburger!
I saw a friend yesterday who had been sending me images she'd created on her iPad. I just loved them so she told me what app she had been using, a free one. I immediately downloaded it. And I had also acquired a new stylus, the Adonit Pro. (I have an old iPad so I cannot use the fabulous new Apple Pencil because it only works on the most recent iPad models. I won't be getting one of those for awhile.)
Here in order were my first four attempts with this new app. I think I'm in love, and addicted already. Oh, the ideas for rugs and other textiles!
Endless possibilities here!
"Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout."
This is about all I can manage today. I have a nasty summer head cold and I think I've been overdoing it.
Even though I'm trying very hard to limit my activities, even short tasks are tiring. This is Joey Challenge #128. I couldn't resist giving it a go...but now I need a nap!
Below is the same photo altered with two separate iPhone apps.
The title of today's post is explained at the very end...
Today I had a scheduled tangling date with a friend at a nearby cafe. At the last minute, we switched the time to an earlier hour, so I raced out of the house without the paper on which I'd printed instructions and the visual for a Joey Tangle Challenge I thought would be fun to try. My friend hadn't heard of this particular challenge, so I quickly sketched it out from memory--I didn't even have a Zentangle® tile with me, so I had to guess the approximate size and I free-handed the borders. I thought I'd just show my friend what it was about. But then I decided, why not just tangle on this? And here is the result. Not stellar, but hey, it could be worse!
When I got home, I took an actual tile and placed it on top of my freehand version, and traced around it. That produced the space around the very edge that I filled with triangles. I wasn't too far off!
This was a fun challenge. If you clicked the link above you can see that Joey had actually started us off with the entire large triangle, leaving the rest blank for us to fill in. Have a look at the wide variations that people produce from that one idea (they are on her site above). This incredible number of variations is part of the fun of doing challenges.
After finishing, I of course couldn't leave well enough alone and had to run it thru one of my iPhone apps. Results below. And yes--all I did was take the photo above and run it thru the app, just manipulating it a bit to see what would happen. So much fun.
This made for a lovely break from trying to resolve some of the issues I've run into in executing my latest rug design. So relaxing to sit and tangle.
While at the cafe, I drank a temporary specialty flavored coffee called "Decaf Librarian." They do not normally carry decaf, and that title says it all about what they think of un-caffeinated coffee. It was delicious but still not mild enough for me.
I guess I'm just a coffee wimp.
I have been busy today, despite excessive heat and humidity. Although it hardly seems possible that I actually needed to dye more gold yarn for my current rug (after all the excess I had at the finish of the last one), I did.
But dyeing during the heat of August is not my idea of fun. So what to do?
I woke at 5 a.m. and it was only 70 degrees outside, so I zipped into the kitchen and dyed four skeins before the heat could build. Hopefully this will be enough to finish the rug. After hanging the skeins to dry, I spent a few hours punching also and am coming close to finishing everything but the borders. on the rug Well, perhaps that's pushing it just a little bit...but I'm definitely making good progress and I think the above statement will be true after one more day of work.
Once I wound the yarn, I amused myself by making a yarn-cake mandala on my iPhone. Love these fun iPhone apps...
It's too early to show my rug design, but a took a photo of a small part of the rug and ran it through another iPhone app to make a spiral.
Wow, these apps are powerful...I love this and only wish my rug could look like this! Quite amazing. (Indeed, my rug looks nothing like this at all.)
Two people I greatly admire are leaving my life tomorrow. I will sorely miss them. They are flying home to another country, a country in turmoil. They were here for only a year to study, and during that year I got to know them a little. They are a young couple. They are well-educated, thoughtful, kind, and passionate about peace and freedom. When they get home, this passion will likely have a price. They are being tracked by their despotic government. They may no longer have jobs. They may be targeted, and they may even be imprisoned. I desperately hope they are safe from the moment their plane lands on their native soil, but I am not confident of it.
I am not naming names or their country. Even though it's highly unlikely that this post could ever cause trouble, I would not want to create any risk by identifying them.
Even if all were well in their country--and it isn't, not at all--I likely would never see them again. But now, I will not only miss them, I will worry about them from the moment they get on that plane. Things are very bad where they are going, very dangerous, and they are afraid. But they feel they must go, to work for peace.
Please let them succeed, and stay safe. It takes a heart full of courage--and love--to act in accordance with their beliefs.
I drew them a farewell card this morning before I left the house for the day, and left it at their door. Unfortunately I didn't photograph it before I gave it to them. So on the way home this evening I decided to duplicate it as well as I can remember. Here is my memory of the card, a tangled heart.
It's really two hearts, since they are a couple with love and respect for each other.
Here is a small kaleidoscopic image made from that photo. It has elements of a mandala that I will use to meditate on, while they are flying home.
Stay safe, and work for peace.
Stay safe, and work for peace.
Stay safe, and work for peace.
I will miss you.
This was the last tile I created on my peaceful day of tangling (see Part 1 for more info about that). I loved the way this came out. Once again I was in a room with over 100 people and deeply appreciated the total silence while we all focused on our tiles.
You may recognize elements of the photo above in the photo below. That's because I took the photo above and ran it through an iPhone app and created this mandala:
"Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life."
- Pema Chodron
And then I used another app and came up with this:
While I'm drawing or tangling, time seems totally irrelevant. In that moment, there is no time, just breath. Just focus. Just being.
This is the essence of meditation, surely.
“The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.”
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?
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 always 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
Skillful Meditation Project