I hope you will take a careful look at the above piece. It's made from 28 triangular tiles placed together. Each tile is unique, and was tangled by my good friend AE. The overall effect is stunning. And, they can all be moved around easily for a completely different look.
Take another moment to look at each individual triangle and you'll see the level of creativity at work here.
* * *
This afternoon I returned from spending five days with AE.. She's been dealing with a particularly challenging and confusing illness for months now, and coincidentally (or was it...?), she learned Zentangle right around the time that the illness announced itself. For the last several weeks she has been receiving intensive and intrusive treatments, and I can't emphasize how often she has mentioned that tangling has enabled her to cope.
And while coping, she has been producing these mini-beauties. Here are a few more examples (with thanks to her for letting me post these):
The meditative nature of Zentangle has been extremely helpful while she has been in treatment. Tiles are the perfect size for portability and for tangling while waiting to be seen in a doctor's office. One of the things I truly love about tangling is that it is a form of moving meditation, and enables a person to focus completely on the present, line by line, and not get caught up in past or future. This is a huge advantage if you are waiting for a treatment session, a doctor's appointment or any stressful situation. AE has been making the best of her time, as you can see here.
* * *
We have known each other for almost 40 years (how the hell did that happen?) and have a lot of shared interests. We met while pursuing a particular spiritual tradition and soon discovered a mutual love of art and crafts. For years we both did bead work (she focused on loom work, I focused on bead embroidery) and between us we accrued enough beads to open a bead store. Not that that was our intention; as we are both "tool hoarders," we never considered selling our stock and each still have pounds of seed beads. We are constant knitters and each have huge yarn stashes. We both enjoy writing and have blogs; she has also written a novel. We've each accumulated way too many art supplies. We each meditate daily. We both read constantly, and our home libraries have many similar books. I wouldn't even want to speculate about how many books each of our homes contain...too many.
I have to laugh at the similarities--we are each hopelessly determined and obsessive in pursuing our interests. In just a few short months, she's produced as many tangles as I have in all the years I've been tangling. She has taken her tangling kit to every doctor's appointment and treatment session, and used that time well. It's an honor to share some of her work here.
And yet we are also very different, something I also enjoy. I value our discussions, whether we are agreeing or disagreeing.
I am fortunate to have her as a friend, and hope we continue our crazy, obscure, satisfying interests for years to come. She is kind, resilient, talented, hilarious and courageous. A gift in my life.
"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."
– Oprah Winfrey
"There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate."
― Linda Grayson
I hereby declare an official end to my "Broken Wrist Series" of tangles.
My wrist (and my hand, which was the real worry) is coming back to life and acting more and more normal with every passing day. Finally. I've been out of commission for nearly four whole months, but I'm returning to more normal life now!
To celebrate, I tangled with a friend today.
At the moment I'm in upstate New York, and it's been quite a few days with no art, so the above was a warmup. After which I did this:
I stuck that tile into the pre-strung journal on one of the "not-strung" pages, with another tangle I tried recently:
Recently I'd bought some transparent photo corners and am happy I did--I like them better than the opaque corners. I'm enjoying using this journal, which allows me the choice to draw directly on a page or to paste in a tile. Some of the pages have strings pre-drawn, and others are blank; I appreciate having both options.
My buddy and I are both taking an online sketching course that begins tomorrow. We'll see if either of us has the guts to post some of what we do.
Wow, does it feel good to be drawing again.
Isn't that what fans are, after all?
I was lucky enough to go to two workshops for CZTs (Certified Zentangle® Teachers) in Connecticut the other day, and we spent the morning with Diane Yaciuk, CZT, learning how to create tangled fans. I was fascinated. So fascinated, I never got to tangle my own fan. That's why this post is about other people's work.
Diane is a marbled paper addict and expert. Check out her work on Facebook HERE. Somewhere along the line, she became interested in Zentangle and fans, and she began the workshop with a little history and a lot of examples to inspire us.
Not only was the workshop itself completely absorbing, but Diane also told us the story behind the paper used in the fans. It's made in Vietnam, in a rural village with no other source of income, and the tradition is in danger of dying out. Some of the papers (see the black paper at the top below) take 100+ steps to create. You cannot believe how luscious these papers are. They have no chemicals or sizing. They are thick and sturdy. Some have tooth and some are very smooth. Diane is starting to sell the papers in order to help the town. You can read all about this HERE (don't miss the videos and fascinating history) and other tabs on that site will lead you to other things Diane's involved in (including her fabulous scarves). The paper story is very compelling. We each got to go home with one of each of the papers. I can't wait to experiment with mine.
Photo of some of the paper samples below. And underneath that are more photos of in-progress fans that I took as participants in the workshop began to tangle on their own fans. Prepare to drool!
After a brief introduction and some good instructions, participants started to work on their own fans. I had permission to take these photos, and was so busy wandering around that I never got my own fan started. But I hope to begin working on it soon. Thanks to all those who allowed me to take photos...especially as I cannot credit most of you because I can't remember who was working on what! Oy.
IN PROGRESS. ...Well actually, this is the start of the linework for my own fan! Finally. That is Kathy Barringer's wonderful tangle "Antique" at the top of the fan, and Chase Messineo's tangle "Ziggle" right underneath (that tangle isn't finished). Plus random linework at the bottom. The finished fan (I added color and more FineTec) is more toward the end of this post.
...and...TA-DA! THE FINISHED FANS ARE BELOW.
DRUM ROLL, PLEASE...
© 2017 to Ann E. Grasso, CZT. This spectacular finished fan is by Ann Grasso. I forgot to mention that one of the goodies in our kits was a jar of FineTec paint. Ann is obviously familiar with these paints and has used them with spectacular results here. I drool every time I look at this. Thanks to Ann for this photograph and permission to post this.
Aren't those finished pieces wonderful? I need to get busy on doing my own. Every summer I reach for a fan when it gets hot and humid. Now I'm curious about their history as well as their practical uses. Time to do some research.
Check back on this post occasionally. I may be updating it, as I am on the trail of getting permission to post other fans as they are finished. Thank you Diane, for one inspiring and very fine workshop.
Next post: The afternoon was equally impressive. I'll keep that topic under wraps for a bit. I hope to have it up in a couple of days.
Another insomniac night produced this in my Zentangle® Pre-Strung Journal that's near the bed. I was too lazy to get up and find my colored pencils so used only the Rainbow Lead Pencil. Many of the pre-drawn strings in this journal slide right off the page, as this one does. I love the way Zentangle regularly breaks all the rules.
I am currently reading Tara Brach's extraordinary book, Radical Acceptance, and have been thinking about acceptance in relationships. Note that "acceptance" does not necessarily indicate "agreement with," but rather is an acknowledgement of exactly what is happening--before any action is chosen. In other words, not blindly reacting, but instead seeing the situation clearly and then perhaps being able to choose a wise action rather than going with the first impulse.
I've been bringing these ideas into meditation and learning from them. In a world gone mad with angry, hostile relationships, full of trolls and bullies, there has never been more need for being able to see clearly and choose one's reaction wisely.
This carried over into my tangling, as I found myself starting with the tangle Betweed and then thinking about similarities between Betweed and Mooka, which is what I was playing with here.
...after which I slept quite well, even if not long!
Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change.
Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.
in a word: NO. the last ten days, since the cast came off, have been outrageously painful as i work hard to get my hand/wrist/arm back in shape. i've been too discouraged and too tired to draw.
but today i managed a few minutes and produced this "half-assed" result. it's from a journal with some pre-strung tiles in it. this was literally all i could manage today.
i am keeping this short because, let's face it, i'm whining. and no one wants to read a post by a whiner.
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."
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.
Even just looking at that tile encourages me to take a deep breath and relax.
This next one is busier but was equally fun to create.
This morning I stumbled across an excellent post on meditation and people's misconceptions about it. It's quite short and is by Arnie Kozak, a guest blogger on the wonderful Susan Cain's site; you can read it here. He really touches on the most common assumption about meditation--that it's about "stopping the mind." It isn't.
But drawing frequently does stop my mind and pulls me into total absorption on the one line that I am drawing in this moment. Thus, meditation and drawing serve the same purpose in different ways for me.
"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."
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.”
Above is a mandala of some of the yarn I have dyed so far (original photo altered by the Waterlogue app on my iPhone). I had to leave out 4 skeins to get the rest in the photo! Below is the actual photo of the dyed yarn without retouching.
I wound the skeins into yarn cakes ready to be used in punching the rug, and they remind me of little colored moons or mandalas. Since it's been a particularly gorgeous full moon this week, I thought a "mandala of yarn-moon cakes" would be appropriate.
I wasn't able to do any dyeing today--just too tired. Ran minor errands, took a long nap, read a trash novel, and couldn't wake up enough to gather all of the yarns in one place until just before sunset. That turned out to be good light for photographing such different values.
It's beginning to dawn on me that I won't be able to decide on the colors of the inner motifs in the rug until I am actually hooking it. I am going to have to trust in trial and error. If that is true, then I need to focus only on dyeing background (the various dark purples), since that is the part I'm certain about, and then begin hooking.
Accident is design / And design is accident / In a cloud of unknowing.
Half of art is accident, but there is no accident without free experiment.
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