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. "
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), long-time meditator, meditation teacher 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