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.
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
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.
Although it's a week past the Equinox, the weather here has been dramatically tropical with high humidity. Today we've had constant heavy rains; the temperature is now slowly dropping, and overnight I think the wind will come in and sweep out the humid air. By the time the storm is past, I think we will finally be in fall weather.
A murky, watery light today signals autumn to me (autumn on its dark days), and I've been in an autumn mood all day. Since we do not have fall colors on the trees yet, I thought I would do a fall mandala. Here was my original black and white drawing.
I constructed this using my trusty Safe-T Compass. It's inexpensive, very light weight, and while hardly engineering-standard accurate, it's "good enough" for basic mandala work. It's a cheap instrument and you get what you pay for--the reviews on it are all over the map. Once I learned what it could and could not do well, I've been very happy with it.
Tangles used: the center is "ad-libbed," then I used Fandance, then, moving out from the center, Beadlines. The next layer started off as Flux but got morphed somehow; the outer layer is Finery. Next I added some autumnal colors.
Honestly...I feel sort of "eh" about this mandala, although I did learn a lot from it. For example, I realized almost immediately that I had made the center too small and fussy; it was hard to color in an effective way. That was a useful lesson.
The colors--which aren't true in this photo but are not too far off--are not what I normally would choose. But after all, I did say in an autumnal mood. In fact I noticed some sadness while I was working on this, along with the usual intense concentration. I don't have anything to be sad about--but doesn't this type of moving meditation sometimes bring things up for all of us? And when things come up, do we have to have a reason for them?
So I just noticed the sadness and kept working, and it was fine. Peace and tranquility were restored by the time I was done.
Working on this brought up questions for me. I'd be interested to hear from other tanglers and especially from CZTs with responses.
The Morns Are Meeker Than They Were -
A Poem by Emily Dickinson
The morns are meeker than they were--
The nuts are getting brown--
The berry's cheek is plumper--
The Rose is out of town.
The Maple wears a gayer scarf--
The field a scarlet gown--
Lest I should be old fashioned
I'll put a trinket on.
My back continues to recover slowly and today I walked 6000 steps. Hurrah! Not all were comfortable steps, but I did it, and am very encouraged. Part of the walk was to see a much-loved old friend for lunch, and on the way home, I passed the labyrinth at the Harvard Divinity School and decided I could manage to walk it today. And I did. Here is a photo of the labyrinth:
It was deserted on this cool, sunny day. Just the way I like it.
I haven't walked it in quite a while, and today I was reminded how narrow the pathway is in this particular labyrinth. It's almost not wide enough for two feet, and negotiating the turns while maintaining balance can be a challenge. Also, it seemed that I just got going in one direction when another turn would come up.
As I was walking it/working it, I was thinking about the twists and turns in life, how hard some of them can be, and what a perfect symbol of this is captured in this labyrinth. I had to greatly slow down in order to make any of the turns, another striking metaphor.
Even when two labyrinths are laid out in the same pattern, the spacing of each is different and so walking each one is different.
Similar to the way our lives work.
"A labyrinth has one entrance -- one way in and one way out. When we walk the path, we go around short curves and long curves; sometimes we are out on the edge, sometimes we circle around the center. We are never really lost, but we can never quite see where we are going."
--Alex Pattakos in this Huffington Post piece.
Finally, here's a scribbled Tangled Labyrinth I did at one of Sadelle Wiltshire's wonderful Tangled Labyrinth workshops. Clearly this was in the nature of a quick scribble rather than a thoughtful tangle, and yet...I like it because it reminds me so much of the human brain.
Check out Sadelle's fabulous tangled labyrinth works here. She is a CZT and a Veriditas-trained Labyrinth Facilitator, and a gifted artist and teacher. You'll enjoy studying her examples. Her teaching schedule is here at The Tangled Labyrinth. And don't miss reading the interesting comment she made (in the comments section)--feel free to add your own reaction to this post if you have one, or have experience with labyrinths.
Labyrinths...Zentangle®...both a form of moving meditation. Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!
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 the Cambridge-Somerville area). 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