The top of the 6-sided box I've been working on is finally tangled, and I've sprayed the entire thing with fixative. All that's left is to add a button for closure. Here's the top.
I went outdoors after dark last night and was mesmerized by the bountiful fireflies everywhere in my front yard. Although I hadn't meant to, I stayed for over half an hour watching them as they danced in the dark. So very lovely. In their honor I added some white dots in the background on the top of the box, and also some dark dots on the right side of the top which is lighter in color.
To view a quick, lovely video on fireflies dancing, go HERE. Don't miss it.
The box, which really isn't that big (perhaps 8" x 1"?) took forever to tangle as I worked my way along all 6 sides. The paper actively resisted the ink, and it was awkward to tangle because of the shape. But I think it will be quite functional as soon as I add that button. I won't be making another one soon, however.
Yesterday must have been a good day for me as I also finished a Bitty BookZ™ version for Zendalas (see the last few posts for the link to more information on Bitty BookZ). Here is the final result on that. I'm quite pleased.
“Catch fireflies in flight, crinkle grass under your toes and know that you are always beloved always beautiful .... a dream within a dream.”
THE FIRST THING:
To the left you'll see a Bag of Boobs. Yes, boobs. Breast prostheses, that is. I knit them for the Knitted Knockers organization and supply them to my local hospital's mammography and medical oncology unit. They emailed Friday to ask for another batch because "women love them."
I was so happy to hear it.
I knit in the evenings while I watch the news or a tv program. I cannot watch tv without doing something with my hands, and this has forever solved that problem. Because breast cancer is so common, there's an unending need for these prostheses for women who've had a mastectomy.
THE SECOND THING THAT STARTS WITH B: THE BOX
Here is the back spine of the box (I posted a picture of the bottom of the box a few posts back--you can just catch a glimpse of that underneath the narrow spine above). And above it you can see the as-yet-untangled top of the box. The tangle on the spine is Toodles. Done with white pen, colored pencil, graphite, white chalk pencil.
This is one side of the box (both sides are the same).
So now only the front of the box is left to tangle. Surprisingly, I am not enjoying tangling on this box one bit. The underlying structure is probably chipboard or something equally hard, and the brown paper covering is not porous at all. The combo makes it very challenging to tangle on--it's as if the paper wants to reject the pens entirely. Hard to get the ink out!
Plus tangling on tiny narrow surfaces that don't support one's hand is a real challenge. The combination of pen-rejecting paper and no hand control is making this a difficult project. When I'm done I think I'll love the box, but I sure don't want to tangle another one. Live and learn!
Oh, I am having way too much fun making these. I've made seven in the last two days. Fortunately I'll be busy with other obligations the rest of the week and am forced to stop.
Here are the books with covers opened and spines exposed. When fully opened, they're completely flat and should be very easy to tangle on. I can't wait to try.
Someone online pointed out that these Bitty BookZ™ fit well in the old (no longer available) wooden box with the Zentangle® motto on the front. I've never known what to do with this box but this answers the question. I love it as a storage container.
And finally, this was some of the pre-book binding preparation mess. All cleaned up now, thank goodness.
I'm not the only one obsessed with this, but wow, it took over my life this week!
"It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions." --Robert Bly
Just what I need. Another hobby. Oh sure.
The only way I can justify this one is to say that I'm surprised at how well these things actually show off Zentangle® tiles. Or would if I ever got good at making them.
Today's version was so badly bungled that I won't even go into the story, but it turned out sort of ok. I made the most of what started out as a "right-royal mess," as my friend Vivienne used to say.
Not only that, but a bunch of cotton quilt scraps arrived in the mail from my kind friend Elaine J. Huffman. Free! And mostly gorgeous batiks. She is clearly enabling this addiction. Thank you Elaine...I have 4 more books in the works already, thanks to your gift. Clearly it pays to know a talented quilter. See below.
On the left here is my hilariously inept first attempt at making a "Bitty BookZ™," a tiny book of Zentangle® tiles, invented by Chris Titus, CZT. Trust me, these can be truly gorgeous. But not this one!
Chris doesn't have a website so I can't link you to her beautiful work with her own Bitty BookZ™.
My aim was to learn the process today, nothing more. The point was to build one prototype in which to make all the errors I was sure I would make, and then from here on I can actually create some nicer books. I hope.
These Bitty BookZs are created with ten 3.5" tiles, so I started by picking out ten of my very earliest tiles from years ago when I was first learning to tangle. These are tiles that show where I was when I was learning, and some of them are...shall we say...uninspired. But it's always great to have my own early tiles to show students when I teach. So I used almost all old tiles for the prototype. See below to see the tiles in their new roles as pages in my finished book.
For some reason I was really apprehensive about trying this. And I did make some hilarious errors. For example, when I glued the paper on the front cover I got glue on the "right side," and then I had to do some tangling over it to cover up the worst of the mess. It's still a mess in some of the blank spaces on the cover, just look.
But the cover paper on the back side was the worst mistake--I didn't look at it before applying glue, and discovered to my horror that I had glued all over the right side and therefore exposed the wrong side, which had commercial printing on it. But...in true "There are no mistakes" Zentangle fashion, I tangled across the top to cover up the printing. That's why there's an odd dark horizontal strip across the top of the back cover.
And then there was the cover-paper in general--I used card-stock for the covers. Whoa, never again! Too stiff. What was I thinking? Fortunately I have thin decorative papers and lots of fabric scraps for the next Bitty BookZs I make, which should render the entire process so much easier.
Live and learn. All in all, I'm glad I worked up the nerve to try this on my own.
"My mistakes are my life." --Samuel Beckett
This mandala started 8 months ago. I did the outer border (you can see that HERE) last October and was flummoxed about what to do next. You know how these things sometimes have to marinate. I've had the filter itself (yes, a used coffee filter from the amazing Cheryl Cianci CZT, who drinks lots of coffee) since 2014. So this one marinated a very long time as a total blank, then again as a partially done piece, and finally it's finished.
"Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper, sprinkle cool patience."
"If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life."
Antique Coverlet, a pattern by The Old Tattered Flag. I did this in red and beige hand-dyed cotton last spring, and this spring I thought i'd try it again in brown and beige hand dyed wool, using an Ultra Punch needle, medium tip, set on 2. This was great fun and I'm still debating how best to display it.
To contrast this version to the previous version, click HERE.
Tangling on a tan coffee filter with a blue watercolor wash (prepped by Cheryl Cianci, CZT, after she first used the filter to make her coffee, rinsed it, and put the wash on it; then dried it--Thanks for doing all that prep work Cheryl!). Tangles are Mooka, and a variation of Flux, as well as the embedded letters technique without any letters. PN Blue Micron, General's Pastel Pencils, White Gellyroll, Prismacolor Pencils.
I managed to avoid all the other things I was supposed to be doing today when I heard that my friend Cheryl Cianci, CZT, was offering her coffee-filter class again. I only discovered this at the very last minute and raced out the door hoping to make it on time. I had taken the class about 4-5 years ago but my experience of Cheryl is that there's always something new and it was utterly relaxing as usual. She is the soul of kindness, and hugely talented.
Much gratitude to all who teach.
A compilation of random thoughts this fine spring morning.
1. Aren't these buttons fun? I found them online and loved them, probably because they remind me of various patterns used in Zentangle® and also of patterns used in Oriental Rugs. I'm hoping to use them in some tangling projects. And maybe one or two will inspire a rug.
They are a collection of tiny mandalas.
2. I spotted this beauty yesterday on a walk. Yowza! A "button"/mandala created by Mother Nature herself, and what a beauty. There has to be a tangle design (or a rug) in there somewhere.
The plant goes by the unglamorous name of Osteospermum, also known as "Flower Power White." It stopped me in my tracks on my walk. Just an amazing flower; it positively glowed.
3. This is a partially-done panel on the bottom (yes, the bottom) of a tan paper box. I've been working on this for two weeks and the going has been slow because I don't have all that much time to tangle right now. Below you can see the completed design. It will probably take me another month to finish.
Alas, I couldn't quite get that photo above to come out straight-on, but you get the idea.
The same box, vertical photo. I still couldn't get a straight-on image.
I don't have the box in front of me but I'm guessing that the dimensions are about 9" long, about 2" wide, and perhaps and inch-and-a-half tall, with a cover that flips open. I have a button to sew on when I'm done with the tangling and will use that for a closure (not one of the buttons shown at the top of this post).
4. Spring has fully sprung here and today we're having stunningly beautiful weather; up until today there have been very few sunny days and plenty of soggy ones.
May all the lovely colors, sounds, and scents of spring fill your senses today.
(At least in the Northern Hemisphere)
If you read the previous post, you'll know that I accidentally left one of these triangular tiles behind (so only had five of them as of yesterday) after a wonderful weekend of tangling. I re-drew it today and put together this pizza-like mosaic. It's the bottom one with the pinky-lavender color. Pizza-pizza! Speaking of which, I think I'll go have some (non-pizza) dinner.
Curses...I just got back from a long-awaited weekend of tangling, only to realize that because of a miscommunication I left this tile behind by accident. I may or may not get it back, so I'll have to wait and see if it turns up in my mailbox soon. If not, I am hoping I can re-draw it. It was one of my favorites. Thank goodness I took a photo of it before it got lost in the shuffle.
More to come once I have a chance to take pictures of the other work we did.
What I've noticed:
The later in the day I tangle and the more exhausted I am, the better. Or so it seems as I observe over time.
That critical inner voice, sometimes quite loud during the day, apparently develops laryngitis by late at night when I'm tired. And so I frequently love not only the process, but also the results.
I like this one, done at midnight last night.
“The good news is that opportunities for love enter our lives unpredictably, whether or not we’ve perfected self-compassion or befriended our inner critic.”
Before I retired, I often wore pins as a decoration when I went to my office. But now that I spend my time in jeans and t-shirts, the pins are languishing. Here is a pin I never wore, a cameo. I love it (and used to have a much larger one which was far more lovely, but it was stolen during a break-in at my former residence) but I never wore it. Not once. I simply had it because it reminded me of some positive things from my childhood. Since it was just languishing away, I re-purposed it onto a card with some tangling. I may put it into a shadow-box frame.
This may or may not be a genuine cameo (there are plenty of plastic fakes out there) but it doesn't matter to me. It has sentimental value.
In these troubled and challenging times, it's my deepest hope that all of us are supported by a network of unconditionally loving people in our lives. I'm defining these "beloveds" as very dear friends, mentors, and special family.
Unfortunately, we are not all lucky enough to be born into families with members who end up becoming beloved. But in my family there were three people who fit this category.
Today I took some time to re-frame the first of them, my beloved maternal grandmother, or Nana as I called her. She died over 50 years ago, but I think of her and send her my love and thanks to her every single day. She is never far from my mind. Oh, how I loved that woman. She taught me every good thing I have become, or hope to become. Here she is.
The photo was taken in 1937 when she was about 60. I have only two photographs of her because she absolutely hated having her picture taken. As a young adult I was shocked to discover that she'd gone through our family photographs and cut her own face out of every one of them. I never had the chance to ask her why she did this, and it puzzles me to this day.
My understanding is that she was forced to quit school around age 12 in order to go to work, and later on she raised a large family single-handedly after her husband became extremely ill and was hospitalized for decades. She had a lot of shame about her lack of formal schooling.
And yet, she was the kindest, funniest, most loving and smartest person in my childhood, and created a strong family foundation for me. She lived with us until her death when I was about 16. Lucky me! I got to spend every day with her for sixteen years.
I never stop asking myself how I was fortunate enough to have her in my life.
Rest well, Nana. And thank you.
Trees are in bud, the buds looking bigger each passing day. There is a small maple on my front lawn with large tight red buds. I worry about this tree as it was mistreated in the past, but despite all that, it's resilient and looking pretty darned good. I'm guessing I'll see leaves within a week or so. I think of this tree as courageous and persistent. May it have a peaceful and ease-filled summer growth season this year.
A few days ago I begin work on this tile below. Because I'm so busy it took days to finish, even though it's a very small piece. It's clearly Spring-inspired.
This morning I snuck in one more tile when I should have been working on something else. I am a world-class procrastinator, especially when whatever I am supposed to be doing is preventing me from making art.
A "cartouche"-based tangled piece using Doodah on a black post-card-sized paper. Maria Thomas did the calligraphy of the word Gratitude; it was enclosed on a business card inside one of my orders, and I loved it. I pasted it onto the black page, along with the Zentangle® chop (the red square at the bottom right, which I embellished) and used white gellyroll, gold gellyroll, and red General's chalk pencil, gold metallic Prismacolor.
And now, back to the big projects. Sigh.
I'm working on two mammoth projects, neither of which is related to textiles or drawing. Alas. So not much artwork can be done for awhile. But I am sneaking in occasional minutes to do a little of each on the sly, and here is the progress of my textile work, a punch needle embroidery I've been working on.
This is a partial photo as only half of the center is done. I am truly missing my art work but I know I need to put my nose to the grindstone (where DID that expression come from?) and work at the other projects until they are done. Although I suspect I'll have the occasional jailbreak along the way, in rebellion.
This somewhat overworked tile (I must admit I like it anyway) is the product of tangling over 3 days. I started it during another night of insomnia and finished this afternoon when I absolutely should have been doing something else, not this. But I couldn't help it.
Below are some of the earlier versions leading up to this finish.
ZenLinea posted a wonderful video on Instagram on how to draw this knot, so two nights ago I decided to try it at about 2 a.m. when sleep was eluding me.
This was my first effort and I'd like to play with it a lot more, if I can ever find the time. I started off thinking it would be black and gray on the white tile, but somehow I began adding other lines and colors to the outside of the knot (the gold gellyroll, the yellow Prismacolor) and then the colors also crept slightly inside the knot as well. I think I finished around 3 or 3.30 a.m. and was able to go right to sleep afterwards.
Of course this afternoon I was looking at it again and wondered what it would look like if I ran it thru an iPhone app, so I gave that a try using the same photo:
Rather reptilian, don't you think? And soooooo different. But interesting for sure.
I have managed to grab a few minutes here and there for some creative work, which feels wonderful. Not enough, however!
Here are some of the things that have been accumulating.
This is the result of a short voice-guided meditation class with Molly Hollibaugh of Zentangle®. She took us through three voice-guided tiles last Saturday in a two-hour workshop. This tile was the first one that we did. All of us heard the exact same verbal instructions, yet look at the mosaic below--it's always so interesting to see how people interpret things on their own.
On a totally other track, I am doing some punch needle embroidery and here is the progress on the piece so far. The entire piece is about 9"x9" and you can see the start of it in my previous post. It is very different than the one I did exactly a year ago (same piece, different colors and I did it in cotton last time; this is wool).
It feels so good to sneak in some creative work. Makes all the difference to me...
Ahhhhhh...I can feel a giant sigh of relief as I begin this 9"x9" piece on my punch needle frame. While I knit every night, and that in itself is calming, there is nothing like textile work--punch needle or traditional rug hooking--for relieving creative tension. A dilemma which had been building for days because of too many other obligations.
How is it that just the feel of cloth or thread moving through my hands brings such a sense of release and equanimity? It works like a charm for me and for so many other textile artists.
I did the same pattern last year in another colorway with cotton (Valdani) threads, but I know I'm going to prefer it this way, done in wool. What is it about wool? I love it.
Art has to do with the arrest of attention in the midst of distraction. (Saul Bellow)
I hadn't intended to draw today as I had too much else to do, but I just couldn't help myself.
New reading glasses with very round frames:
Liking them! I can even see with them.
And next, more round things:
I so enjoyed myself today when I stole some time to tangle. There has been no rug hooking, no rug punching, no punch needle embroidery, no drawing, and no tangling for weeks. In short, an artistic desert for me, and it hasn't been fun.
Likely it will continue for a while longer while I tend to all my piled up obligations. The "obligations" are all voluntary and each by itself is wonderful. But they all have schedules and deadlines and I am scrambling to keep up. Thus, the art is falling behind. I will catch up once I figure out how to coordinate things, but oh, do I miss my various art projects.
And the last round thing for today: HAPPY EQUINOX, as the Wheel of the Year has turned towards Spring (here in the Northern Hemisphere). I'm thinking of all those curving eggs that can be stood on their ends today. Roundness in balance.
Ever had one of those days when you just don't feel quite right? Nothing really wrong--not "coming down with something"--but just not feeling quite like yourself? That would describe me today. And my hands are shaking a bit. Weird. After a morning balancing my checkbook (yes, I actually do that), I allowed myself the pleasure of tangling for a short while. I was really surprised at this result.
I picked 3 brand-new-to-me tangles and tried them out for the first time. Despite my shaky hands.
I like the challenge of taking tangles that I've found and trying to put them together, whether they "go together" naturally or not. This was the result. I wouldn't say I'm in love with this piece but I loved two out of the three tangles and will use them again for sure. I am always amazed by what falls out of the pen. I couldn't have predicted this, and that, of course, is half the fun of tangling.
Yes, another insomnia tile...
...and even that didn't put me to sleep. I had to go back to bed and read for another hour. Three a.m....
“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.”
― Leonard Cohen
(alas, that is not true for me)
My kind friend (and fellow Zentangle® enthusiast), Susie Ng from Thailand (check out her fabulous, imaginative artwork HERE), just sent me this photo below. She took my single 3-Z tile from my February 22nd post, multiplied it, and manipulated it into this hexagonal mandala. Thank you, Susie! I'm assuming you used Photoshop, which I don't have. Though I keep meaning to look into it. What fun!
What a nice thing to do for a fellow tangler, Susie. You gave me a big chuckle on an otherwise crazy day. Now...I have to look into software that will allow me to do this.
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:
My next Beginning Zentangle® class is not yet scheduled--stay tuned.
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