This is a photo of a spirit rock. No, it doesn't refer to the remarkable meditation center in California. But it certainly it relates to meditation. A dear friend made it, covering the tiny stone with her hand-netting and adding those tiny beads She gave it to me as a housewarming gift. Both of us know that doing this kind of work is highly meditative--it's why I'm so drawn to art at this point in my life, along with a daily meditation practice.
Stones have always held a lot of symbolism for me, especially river rocks with their smooth round shapes and heft. They are symbols of wholeness, endurance, and comfort.
I will enjoy this sweet gift for a long time. It is so lovely to connect with much-valued old friends.
"A rugged stone grows smooth from hand to hand."
"Our lives are unique stones in the mosaic of human experience--priceless and irreplaceable."
--Henri J.M. Nouwen
Meanwhile, I cannot decide if I'm enjoying the "sketching and watercolor" course or not. I'm a bit puzzled by why I'm having so much trouble with the watercolor and specifically with the brush (watercolor brush). If it weren't the 2nd brush I've tried--with similar issues--I'd say the brush is leaking. Too much water swishing around, and you can see it's leaking outside the bounds of the apple (yes, apple...not a tomato) above. I could go on and on, but I won't. Let's just say I haven't had this experience before, not that I've had much experience at all. I'll keep going with this and see what happens. It's tough not to just grab my colored pencils, though.
In watercolor, if you are not in trouble, then you're in trouble.
In watercolour, particularly, it's almost always better to chuck than fix.
--Joe Joseph P. Blodgett
...Really? Guess I'll find out.
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
In my previous post (9/20/17), I showed pictures from the workshop on Tangled Fans I attended last Sunday morning at Connecticut Tangle Time (CTT).***
That was the morning. And then came the afternoon. It was all about Kelly Barone and her Tangled Clocks. Here are a few of the ones Kelly has created, some of which she brought as samples to inspire us:
Tangled Paper Clocks...yes!
So as I was saying, in the afternoon, we were taught by Kelly Barone, CZT, owner of Whimsy by Kelly (that's a link to her Etsy shop; she sells the clock kits inexpensively in her shop, folks...this is my evil attempt to enable all you tanglers...).
Kelly was highly organized and her prepared kit was terrific. She began by explaining how she got started on clocks: she had seen a tangled clock made by someone in Germany. She was captivated and immediately tried to track down the source for the materials, but the manufacturer had stopped making them. She looked for months for another source, with no luck.
So...she decided to make her own kit. And she did. Once she got the bumps worked out, she began putting kits together (you can find them on her Etsy site, link above). And we each got a kit at the workshop--so we could start tangling immediately.
This was a project we all started but I only saw one person finish a clock during the workshop. The rest of us had to take the pieces home and work on them, putting the clocks together afterwards. I'll post some of the finished beauties at the end. Note that all of these are other people's work, not mine, except where noted. My own clock is finally finished and is near the bottom of the post.
EXAMPLES OF CLOCKS THE PARTICIPANTS CREATED AFTER THE WORKSHOP:
(Below I've posted some of the clocks that participants have been finishing since the workshop ended--check back for more as people finish and I add to this post.)
I hope you'll visit Kelly's Etsy site (the link is near the top of this post) to see what else she does. She is incredibly creative. Thank you, Kelly, for another great class.
All in all, this was one mind-bogglingly wonderful day. I cannot wait to finish working on my own clock. It may be awhile, but I'll post it when I get it done.
*** "CTT" is an organization for the continuing education of CZTs (Certified Zentangle Teachers) in New England and beyond. If you are a CZT, consider joining them on their Facebook page. You don't have to live in Connecticut, and teachers often make kits available for CZTs who cannot travel to attend the workshops. To join, go to their Facebook page and request membership (you'll have to prove you are a CZT so get out your certificate).
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.
Today's example is a frankly amazing mandala made by Cari Camarra, CZT (Certified Zentangle Teacher). But she didn't draw this. It's not a tangle. It turns out, Cari's a papercutting artist and has been cutting snowflakes and mandalas for years. On Saturday evening while her family was watching tv, she folded some paper and made some cuts. Below is the still-folded, freshly cut piece, and then under that is the staggeringly lovely mandala:
I loved this.
But Cari gave us all a huge chuckle when she 'fessed up about the paper she used. As it turns out, it's the unused end of a roll from her doctor's office's examining table. You could hear the gasps and then the laughs. She assured us it was pristine and had "no butt-imprints on it" before she worked with it. (I think I remember her saying that she worked in a doctor's office and asked them for a whole roll of brand new examining-table-paper about 20 years ago, and is still using that same roll.)
You can find out more about Cari's work HERE (her website) and HERE (her Facebook Page). Thanks to Cari for letting me share this.
Now, where did I put my scissors...?
You may well ask, "Where are the first 5 posts in this series, since this is called number 6?" Um...I've only numbered one other--the first one. But if you look in the right-hand column on this page and scroll down to "Categories," you'll find a category called "Other People's Work." I've actually done several other posts on the topic and forgotten to number them.
We've all heard of Sylvia Plath, famous for her extraordinary poetry, fascinating life, and tragic suicide. But who knew she was also a visual artist? I certainly didn't.
Check out this fascinating article from one of my favorite websites called Brain Pickings. Plath was a visual artist as well as a phenomenal poet. I wish I could post some of those photographs here, but I haven't asked permission, so instead I will direct you to the site of the article where you can see them in all their glory.
Meanwhile, my damaged hand is continuing to respond to intense exercise. It hurts like hell most of the time but it's finally beginning to act like a hand again. (At least it isn't my dominant hand--and for that piece of luck, I am eternally grateful.)
I've been able to tangle a bit more. Here's a recent piece and how it evolved.
The first stage, lines in progress:
Next, here is the piece with the line work done, but without any shading:
And below is the finished piece on the actual journal page, after shading:
This was so much fun to draw, as it was simply line after line after line, each one drawn slowly and deliberately. A meditation in motion.
This weekend is the annual Franklin County Fair, a local tradition that's been going strong since 1843. (HERE is a great article from 2013 about the fair. Lots of photos.)
So off I went to the Fair, early this morning.
Easy to park. Tons of kids with parents, and everyone looking really happy.
I took photos:
Some rather wonderful quilts:
And of course, since it's an agricultural fair, there were plenty of fruit and vegetable exhibits:
It was somewhat ironic to see all the amazing winning fruit and vegetable displays, and then to walk outside and look at the food vendors and realize every item of food being offered to fair-goers was a heart-attack-on-a-plate item like fried dough, french fries, caramel apples, cotton candy, etc. But that too is traditional at county fairs. I passed on the food! I would have loved some of the apples from the photo above, but alas, it was a prize-winning display-only, and none were for sale.
I bought two lovely things:
This stuff felt just luscious on my hands, and was faintly scented in the most subtle way. I have a hunch I will want more, once the cold weather sets in. And a little did a lot.
I thought I would try this stuff for my poor sore damaged hand (from the broken wrist). When I bought it I was thinking, "What a sucker I am. Waste of good money. This will never make a difference." But ya know...I think it does. I am kind of amazed. Time will tell. It's formulated for arthritis. Note the name: "Hot & Flexy."
I was warned to be sure to wash my hands before touching my eyes after using it, because of the ingredients.
Next came ogling some of the many critters on display: the cows, bunnies, goats, butterflies, sheep, turtles, fish, donkeys and a few of these guys:
S/he (?) had just woken up and gotten up off the floor from a comfy night's sleep, hence the wood shavings all over the torso.
I could relate, given how disheveled I often look in the mornings. Ok, maybe I don't wake up covered in wood shavings but you get the idea.
I mentally congratulated all the winners and left, after first walking the midway with all its rides; that must be spectacular when it's lit up at night, and great fun.
Coming home, I made sure to finish doing my hand exercises. Recovering from this injury has been a much bigger challenge than I thought. But in the last 4 days I'm noticing some major improvements.
Two things that made me feel like a winner today: 1) I unpacked three boxes, something I haven't been able to do since I broke my wrist in June. I am beyond thrilled to see some of my favorite authors once more: David Grayson, May Sarton, Henry Beston and an assortment of others. Rumi and Kabir are at the far right. I feel surrounded by friends again, when I look at this shelf in my living room.
And 2), the final major accomplishment: three months after the wrist injury, I was able to hook my bra for the first time with both hands. (I'm putting this at the very end because I figure no one will read this far) For three months I've had to hook it using one hand only, placing it flat on the bed, and then wrestling it on over my head. Awful! A few days ago I tried putting it on normally--and couldn't. I just didn't have the hand flexibility still. I tried every day this week. And then today--SUCCESS!
And that's how I know that things really are improving.
Yesterday I made a 5-minute stop at one of my favorite rug hooking shops, just to gather inspiration. Even though I cannot hook at the moment (the broken wrist), I just wanted to connect with color, wool, and creativity. I needed to ogle some rugs. As it turns out, I was so glad I stopped by. I found this beauty on their floor:
I'm guessing it's about 3-4 feet long and 2-3 feet wide. The colors! Oh, the colors. Just wonderful. So vibrant.
About 2/3 of the rug is done, but as you can see there are two major central areas on each side that are still unhooked. The backing looked to be in great shape. When the shop acquired the rug, no wool came with it (no unhooked matching wool). They've had it for some time now. Here is a close-up of one of the to-be-finished areas, which includes the unusual finishing on one side; the original artist just folded over the backing and hooked through 2 layers to finish it.
I couldn't help wondering what happened to the original rug hooker--why did this get set aside when it was so nearly done? I'm tempted to try to finish it myself!
BUT...Cheryl the Rug Rescuer, are you reading this? This has your name all over it! Are you interested in maybe finishing this rug? If so, let me know and I'll put you in touch with the current owners.
Someone needs to finish this; it's on their floor and it's absolutely gorgeous. I don't know how much they would charge for it.
<--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.
I've been alluding to a secret "Big Project" for awhile now, something that's been forcing me to postpone my own work. It's no longer a secret: I'm moving. I'll be relocating soon--just haven't set the firm date yet. Since I've lived here for decades, you can imagine the level of sorting, packing, and disruption this will cause.
It will be quite a while before I'm able to take time to implement any creative ideas of my own. So I thought I'd show you some wonderful work other people are doing. I'm intending this post to be the first of a series.
Let's begin with
of Cambridge, MA and Newfoundland, Canada. Among his many other talents, Jon created these mad, wonderful sculptures from found objects.
Click on any photo to view the complete piece (only partial thumbnail photos are below) and see its title and price. Some pieces are not for sale.
If you'd like to contact Jon, you can do so at: 617-448-3079
How did I discover Jon? First, his wife is a member of my rug hooking group, the Wooly Bullies. In fact, it was Jon who suggested the name for the group 15 years ago. Yes, we are named after that incredibly stupid song of yesteryear by Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs. In case you need to hear the song, here it is.
Second, Jon used to share studio space at Joy Street Studios in Somerville, MA, with a close friend of mine. When he cleaned out his studio, he left some of his work behind since he didn't have room to store it. He put some of his pieces on the walls of my friend's woodworking shop. I love the results from the way Jon has taken found objects and put them together to form these crazy sculptures!
And because I'm not kidding when I say his work is "up" on the walls of my friend's shop, let me note that it's WAY WAY up on the walls, so I had to shoot these photos from underneath. That accounts for the angle AND for the dust--they're up so high they haven't been dusted recently. They aren't shown to their best advantage, but we do what we can, right?
And now a few thoughts on sculpture...
I say that the art of sculpture is eight times as great as any other art based on drawing, because a statue has eight views and they must all be equally good. (Benvenuto Cellini)
Sculpture occupies real space like we do... you walk around it and relate to it almost as another person or another object. (Chuck Close)
When you slow down enough to sculpt, you discover all kinds of things you never noticed before. (Karen Jobe)
A great sculpture can roll down a hill without breaking. (Michelangelo)
I would like to carve my novel in a piece of wood. (Georges Simenon)
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