On an inner level, it's been quite a week for me. Many interior struggles. I will spare you the content; let's just say I was "at sixes and sevens" all week.
In the midst of all this, I thought I would do the String Thing Challenge #114, and I did.
The result: Not good! Without in any way meaning to demean myself, let me say that I am laughing at how bad this tile is and part of me can't believe I'm posting it. But you know what? I don't care how bad it is, because I learned from it, and also it's a visual representation of my tumultuous inner state. Here it is.
Feel free to speculate about this as an expression of my inner state, and feel free to giggle. This is truly a Tile Gone Rogue. When I look at it, and think about what I was feeling as I tangled, I get a real chuckle at how it turned out.
So what can I learn from this?
Well, for one thing, I was trying out some new metallic pencils, and also trying out a new type of shading stump--not the traditional tortillion but something I saw in my travels and picked up to try. Here's a picture of the pencils and the strange new little shading stump:
The pencils are from a kids' toy store. The odd tortillions...sorry, can't remember where I got them! Both were very cheap.
The jury is out on the pencils so far. They are soft and creamy and go on easily, but are too large in my hands and don't seem to sharpen well or apply well. But perhaps I just need more practice?
I used the gold metallic pencil and the rose/purple metallic pencil in this tile.
And the shading stump? That's a puzzle as well. I will have to try this in other contexts. You can see where it nearly ripped up the paper around the "rays" on the tile, and I ended up with a kind of dirty ineffective smudge there rather than shading. But was that the stump, or my technique? Or maybe the stump isn't compatible with these pencils? I won't know until I try again with it.
And I will try again.
Ok, the question was, what did I learn from this? I learned that:
This entire process reminded me of meditation. I frequently feel, in meditation, that I "should" be experiencing something I'm not, or that "I'm doing it wrong," or that if my brain would just shut up for once, I'd be in bliss. The truth is, meditation, like life, can be very messy. In meditation, I need to be listening to my Self. In meditation, I do not need to feel there is "one right way" to proceed (or that I don't know the "one right way"). In meditation, if I am having a ping-pong experience obsessing about something stressful, I can get rigid about what I'm doing if I'm not aware of what is happening. In meditation, I don't have to change everything...in fact, I don't have to change ANYTHING. Just observe what's going on. In meditation, after I contemplate whatever is going on, I'm usually a lot more ready to find the humor i it. And in meditation, I have daily failures and daily successes; but no matter what happens, I am committed to it, and I continue to practice.
That is what it's all about: PRACTICE. (This was also my word for 2015)
Practice in art, practice in meditation, and practice in life.
I'll end with a tangle I did in my Tangle-a-day calendar when I was preparing to do the String Challenge. I didn't have much experience with the Ta-Da tangle, so I tried it out here:
I did this in one of my few relaxed moments this week, prior to attempting the String Challenge. I used a Rainbow Lead Pencil. I think you can see the difference between this and the artificial, contrived-looking, and unsuccessful String Challenge Tile. I was relaxed and centered here; I used familiar tools, and I was willing to just practice for fun, no matter how well or poorly it turned out. I was just experimenting.
Coincidentally, Ta-Da was also the featured monotangle in the #83 Joey Challenge this week, so I just sent this experimental version in as my entry for that.
Big lessons for me here.
"Back of every mistaken venture and defeat is the laughter of wisdom, if you listen." --Carl Sandburg
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