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.
It's an icy rainy day out there, very bleak.
I am amused to notice how much my thoughts have been shaped by this weather. Today was "tax day," the annual ritual when I try to get my income taxes organized and finished. I have utterly failed, despite hours of trying, and it's been very stressful. I finally threw in the towel about an hour ago and allowed myself a short bit of tangling, which helped improve my mood.
Experience tells me I'll get through this and get the darned taxes done eventually. I'm have to get some help, hopefully by mid-week. The weather will improve. So will my mood. Keep on tangling, keep on working, and eventually it will all straighten out.
As the great Alfred E Neuman once said, "Today it takes more brains and effort to make out the income tax form than it does to make the income."
Sometimes sadness is just a daily companion.
I am home at last, after weeks away, and beginning to settle in. My friend is back in her home after her long healthcare treatment. She did well, and I expect all will be well. Unfortunately, while dealing with her own recovery she now has a beloved family member's unexpected serious health problem to deal with. The news was sudden and came as a shock.
We are all reeling. My heart goes out to her and her family.
In the last weeks as she and I were away from our homes while she was getting medical treatment, we did a lot of tangling to stay calm and in a good place. These are some of the last tiles I did before we returned. I still have more to do to finish the Zenuari2019 project, and that's just fine. Tangling is therapeutic.
These pieces tell the tale of those last days of her treatments as we did our best to get through it all.
Day 22, "Optical Illusion." Honestly, I have never cared for optical illusions of any kind, with the possible exception of MC Escher's work. So I have to say this is the first tile I have NOT enjoyed working on in a very very long time, nor do I like the result. I've nicknamed it "The Bridge to Nowhere," and that is reflective of how I was feeling at the time I did it as well. Feh.
Yes, you have seen this before; in the previous post, but in a different form. I did more work on it to emphasize the paths, and then I took it to have it laminated. Now it can be used as a finger labyrinth (you can "walk it" with your finger and it's just as calming as actually walking with your feet) and I am very pleased with the result. As I mentioned in the previous post, this was made for day 20 of the Zenuari2019 project.
I may just wear off the lamination from running my finger through this labyrinth before all this is over. "Art is a guarantee to sanity," said Louise Bourgeois, and here is a terrific short article on ART AND MEDITATION from the Washington Post. Highly recommended.
Done on a ten-inch square tan Opus Tile with brown and black Micron 01s, General's colored chalk pencils, white gellyroll pen, and mucho graphite. Completed over several days for the #zenuari2018 project day 20, "Maze." (This is not a maze; it's a labyrinth--they are two different things but often incorrectly used as synonyms.)
It's been that kind of week--labyrinthine. So many twists and turns. We keep walking and we trust we will find our way in to the center and then out again on this challenging journey.
I hope we are in the center now and will soon find our way out to resume our lives.
I am still far from home, helping out my friend who is receiving daily treatments. She is close to the end, however--only three more and she will be done and we will return to our respective homes. A huge complicating factor has been the sudden illness of someone in her family; it certainly has increased the pressure on her to finish here and go home. There is much uncertainty.
And yet, we know we just need to keep walking along on the path before us, and trust we will get where we need to be. In fact, we are already where we need to be, and we just need to remember that.
It took me a few days to do this piece as it's so large. I learned a lot in the doing and will try again for better results.
My friend also tangles and finds it therapeutic as she waits for appointments. She is talented and here is one of her latest efforts, a Zendala done on a tile which she had pre-treated with a Fine-Tec paint gold wash. Isn't this spectacular? (I have her permission to publish this photo)
Those metallic Fine-Tec watercolors are so inspiring.
"A labyrinth is a symbolic journey … but it is a map we can really walk on, blurring the difference between map and world."
— Rebecca Solnit, in Wanderlust: A History of Walking
I am home for just a little more than 24 hours, then will be gone again. Packing cubes have saved my life and are keeping me organized as I make all these trips--thanks and blessings to the friend who introduced me to them. (If you do not know what they are, google them. Fabulous tools.)
"Returning" feels wonderful. And in the tangle below, I was returning to a tile idea that we explored in a workshop late last year; but this time I used different "fillers." I'm not totally crazy about it but it was peaceful to work on and I do like it overall. That's all I ask!
This is another Zenuari2019 tile, for day 19. The prompt was "Hefty Hack." HUH??? I had no idea what that meant. So I went back to the original instructions, which read something like: "Toss some water on a tile. Then take a plastic bag, scrunch it up, and put some watercolors you like directly on the bag. Then take the scrunched-up bag and daub it onto the tile."
Okay...so maybe it was called the "Hefty Hack" because "Hefty" is the name of a type of plastic bag in the USA? But the person who runs Zenuari is Dutch. Perhaps "Hefty" has a different meaning in the Netherlands? Because here in the USA, my only reference for Hefty bags is the VERY large kitchen or garden trash bags. She can't have meant to use one of those on a 3.5" tile.
It was all irrelevant to me, as--because I was away from home when I did this--I had no access to watercolors or plastic bags. I was able to borrow some watercolor pencils from my friend, and after wetting the tile I applied them to the wet spots and tried to move the colors around. It didn't work well but I did end up liking the effect anyway. I'll have to try it again with real watercolors and a small plastic bag.
Oh how I wish we could find a way to truly and effectively recycle plastics. We have completely messed up our planet with them, and we've done it all in less than a hundred years. There must be a way to clean up our mess.
...we aren't having any where I am temporarily living in order to help out a friend. It's winter here but the ground is bare, although in my actual town, 400 miles north, there's plenty of snow.
Nevertheless, the Zenuary2019 project on day 18 had a prompt to tangle something based on a snowflake shape. Since I am way behind on this January challenge (I'll be working on it all thru February), I've just arrived at day 18. I cut out the following shape on some previously-used paper:
...traced around it on a Strathmore tile, and here's the end result:
And here they are side by side.
"There is no better designer than Nature."
"If your heart is broken, make art with the pieces."
Basically no time to write today. My friend is doing well but because of other circumstances (not my story to tell), we are still on the emotional rollercoaster.
My heart is broken by some of what I see of the other patients at the treatment center, especially the sick children. May they all heal, including their parents and caretakers. May all be at peace; may all be well.
It's not my story to tell, so I won't tell it here except to say that it was a roller coaster of a day for the friend I'm helping out. Just crazy--good news one moment, then bad news, then maybe good...oy vey.
It's a very good thing that we both meditate. And a very good thing that we both do Zentangle®. Both practices helped us stay steady throughout the day.
I did two more new-to-me tangles this morning:
I always find that lots of plain linework is a great soother in times of stress. The Twilight tangle was perfect for that.
And now back to meditation...
"Stay in your seat come times of trouble. Its only people who jump off the roller coaster who get hurt. "
Away from home in this very cold midwinter week, I've been doing just a little tangling. And watching a good friend do her weaving. While yet another good friend sent me a wonderful photograph. Below are my latest tangles, my friend's weaving, and my other friend's photo. Enjoy.
Below is my friend's weaving--two "mug rugs" for my coffee cups. Love the patterns and subtle colors she chose, and I feel lucky to have these gifts!
Finally, this wonderful Currier & Ives-type photo taken by a good friend who was out on a walk during a snow squall near our homes last week. Is this not beautiful?
"Silence is true wisdom's best reply."
This nearly qualifies as what's known as an "inchie," a tiny drawing. But in fact, it's more like a "two-inchie," since I did it on a Bijou tile (2x2") with a gold gellyroll and shaded it with a Prismacolor yellow pencil. It's done for the Zenuari2019 project, day 16, "tiny tangle."
I'm away from home again and thus haven't tangled in two days. Or done anything except knit. Starting to feel a withdrawal. I certainly hope I can get to do some textile work or some more Zentangle® today or tomorrow.
"We first make our habits, and then our habits make us."
This is another Zenuary2019 tile, made for day 15. The theme was "donut." Somehow my donut ended up with a pearl in the center. Fine with me, since I am not a fan of eating donuts.
"The pearl principle: no inner irritation, no pearl." Surya Das
In the style of one of my idols, Mori Yuzan, a Japanese artist who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century:
Yuzan's work has always been irresistible to me because of the linework. Wave after wave. and so many tangles (not that he would have thought of them that way). Both of the above tiles are nearly copies - if not outright copies - of his spectacular work, which fortunately is now int he public domain. So relaxing to draw these and hopefully learn a bit from him.
Both were done for Zenuari2019 day 14, "idol tangle." I think I'll be doing a lot more idol tangles!
tWhat is the use of seeking advice if one doesn't listen? This was my card for Monday (I love these cards, more info below). But did I listen? No. Instead of cocooning after a tiring week away, I spent the day in 5 degree Farenheit weather running around from event to event. Now, all the events were good ones. I'm just lucky, though, that my good friends were able to put up with my grumpy self.
Because trust me, I was grumpy. Overtired, overscheduled, and grumpy. Very bad planning on my part. Good thing I have long-suffering friends.
The cards (these are not tarot cards, just wonderful little cardboard coaches):
Experimenting with Mimi Lempart's tangle Mi2, using a thin gold pen (sorry, don't know the name) a friend gave me, plus Pokeroot and Pokeleaf tangles. Colored with Generals Chalk pencils on a black Zentangle® tile. I hope to do more of these experiments when I have time.
Just got back from a week away and we are having our first serious storm of the winter; it's just begun.
Ugh...whatever I ate last night here at the hotel must not have been kind to me; I'm having an "unhappy-camper" stomach experience today. Nothing awful, just uncomfortable, so it's all ginger ale all the time.
The tile on the left was done for Zenuari2019 day 12, and the instructions were, "Grid tangles only," so I used the tangles Stricle and Demi and threw in other random lines.
The day is bright, sunny, and chllly but I am sleepy anyway. I'm away from home helping a friend who truly doesn't need much help We've been having fun tangling. I did the tile above earlier while she was working on something much larger. Lovely to have a companion in art.
When I find myself fading, I close my eyes and realize my friends are my energy. --Anonymous
I have been slowly exhausting my stash of Strathmore tiles, thinking I'd use them for tangle practice because I didn't like them. But they are growing on me. I may have to get more after I finish my current supply. They are a very different surface from the traditional Zentangle® tiles (Fabriano Tiepolo printmaking paper), which I truly love. Much smoother and in a way less forgiving than the Fabriano ones, but I'm learning to like them anyway.
Done for Zenuari2019, "Nametangles," day 10. Meaning, pick your or someone else's initials and then find a tangle for each letter. I chose D and R and picked D'eneh and Roscoe, two tangles I'd never heard of before and never tried--this is my maiden effort. Lots of errors but I don't care...Black Micron01 and graphite on a Strathmore tile.
This tile captures so many reasons why I love tangling:
Two more tangle experiments today. I am saving the textile work for next week when I think I will have more time to focus on it. What I love about both Zentangle® and textile art is the deep inner silence I experience when doing either. Both are highly meditative.
Today I went into that silence with joy and relief. One of the wonders of Zentangle is that it doesn't matter what the outcome is, bad or good, because the process of creating is where the gift lies, and that in itself is enough. Often the outcome is wonderful--a bonus.
Done for the Zenuari2019 project, day 9. "Do a tangle that's new to you." Tangle: Ratoon. I'm not familiar with this one, having done it only once previously. Here is my second try--including errors--done as both a central tangle and as a border. Black Micron 01 and graphite on a Strathmore 3.5" tile.
Tiles from today's work on the Zenuari2019 Project.
Zenuari2019 Project, day 6, "Use a Blind String" (a string you draw with your eyes closed). Micron 01, graphite, General's white chalk pencil. There is no purple on this tile--I ran it through a filter on this website and that's what created the tint. The original tile is black and white with gray graphite.
I titled this post "What Falls Out of the Pen" because whether I like the results or not, what ends up on my tiles always surprises me. As all three of these tiles did.
For a variety of reasons, today was a hard one for me. Really, really hard. I put aside other things and spent the time tangling. A good night's sleep tonight should help as well.
By the time I got to this one, I was truly exhausted. It shows. But that's ok. Practice is always helpful so I'm glad I kept on.
“Sometimes, only one person is missing, and the whole world seems depopulated.”
–Alphonse de Lamartine, Méditations Poétiques
Looks as though the start of 2019 will be choppy for me--I'll be doing some traveling and having visitors when I'm home. Needing something simple and portable to work on, I spotted another Zentangle® challenge run by CZT Anoeska in Holland called "Zenuari" (there is a private Facebook Group with this information) and thought that might do it. I won't be trying to complete every day, given how choppy my schedule is going to be, but I'l join in when I can to keep creative juices flowing.
Here is my first entry, for Day 2, with a "star" theme. I'm playing around with the same tangle from the December 28th post.
Hmmm, I appear to be working on a series of posts with titles named after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Yesterday was Grumpy, today Happy.
A good night's sleep makes all the difference (oh no--I can foretell a forthcoming post with the title "Sleepy"). That plus the fact that last year at this time I was still unpacking, and would feel terribly guilty if I tried to find the time to do anything creative when I felt I "should" be working on the house.
If I know anything about myself it's that a day or two without time to do handwork or drawing renders me hyper-cranky and anxious. I'm afraid I'm addicted. It doesn't matter if the result is only mediocre; it's the act of creating that releases stress and puts me nearly into a state of bliss every time.
Today I was able to do some rug punching (for a pillow not a rug) and at the same time practice singing. My singing was absolutely horrible, but who cares? The combination was my idea of heaven. Start of punched pillow is below.
Contrast this punched version with the identical but traditionally hooked pillow (see my post from December 27th) to see the difference between punching and hooking. Both of which sound either violent or sleazy, eh?
But they are the polar opposite. So soothing.
When you fall asleep immediately but then wake up at 90 minute intervals until you are wide awake at 3.30 a.m.
"I don't see the point of grumpy people."
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 may be teaching another beginning class at the Greenfield Community Center in the spring of 2019, date to be determined. They do not have a website so please call them for more information.
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