Can you hear Elton John singing it? "Saturday, Saturday...Saturday night's alright..."
Actually it was the day that was alright but that's beside the point. I'm testing some colors for possible use in an upcoming oriental rug, and here's what I've got so far. First I had to make some skeins:
"Niddy-noddy, niddy-noddy...two heads, one body.
Tis one, ’tain’t one, ’twill be one soon
’Tis two, ’tain’t two, ’twill be two soon
’Tis three, ’tain’t three, ’twill be three soon …"
This is one version of an incredibly old counting rhyme I first learned back in the 1960s when I was first introduced to the tool (niddy-noddies were in use as early as 800 A.D.). To find out more, click HERE.
I've used the title "Perseverence Furthers" once before, but it never more true than when I did this tangle:
It started out as a hot mess about 3 or 4 days ago. Instead of giving up on it, I kept leaving it and coming back to it, adding a few things here and there until today when I declared it finished. I wanted to keep it all black and white (color can hide a lot of mistakes) and I'm glad I did. I'm also glad I stuck with it. It's no work of genius but it's way, way better than when I started!
"Try again. Fail again. Try better."
Let's hear it for screwing up, flubbing it, being imperfect.
Much of my drawing is like this, and yet, somehow I like it anyway. I will never be perfect. But I'll be "good enough" for me and will have fun along the way.
Below is a practice tile (a Bijou tile, only 2"x2") for a new-to-me tangle called Kaas. I had a rough time with this one and ended up adding a lot of rounding (rounding is a Zentangle® technique which does what it sounds like--you "round" sharp corners) which can hide a plethora of errors.
Convinced I'd do a better job on my second try, I used a regular (3.5"x3.5") white tile for my entry in the Full Moon Mosaic Project for this month.
Nope, just as imperfect, and even more flubbed-up in some ways. Again, I used lots of rounding.
I had fun, however, and I like it anyway. If you have read this far, you probably can relate to what I'm saying.
"My mistakes are my life."
Still in love with and working on learning to draw this tangle, which isn't coming easy for me. Today, though, I think I got it. Finally. There are a million ways to draw a Triquetra Celtic Knot, but I've been wanting to learn it via the easy steps of Zentangle®. Which turned out not to be so easy for me. But in fact, with a bit of practice, it is both easy and obvious. Other people got this one immediately, but I needed to ponder it a while.
Some things are like that.
Being overambitious and then frustrated when I couldn't get the painting to work taught me persistence.
This was my first attempt with this tangle. I actually finished this over 2 weeks ago but am just posting it now. I found the instructions (the stepouts) so hard to follow that I tried it out on a 2" square tile in pencil first, using an eraser. Normally, with Zentangle®, we do not "sketch out" tiles in pencil first, and we don't use erasers. The general idea is that there are no do-overs; if we screw up in life, we don't get to do whatever-it-was over. Instead, we have to figure out what to do about it and we often learn the most through dealing with our mistakes. And so it is in art as well.
However, sometimes if we can't even envision how to approach something, a draft (ie, using pencil to try to sketch something out) is helpful as we try to map the thing in our minds. That was my approach here. And occasionally in life, too, if I'm finding a life task overwhelming.
Speaking of overwhelm, I have hopelessly over-committed myself and am not pleased that I barely have time to turn around in my schedule. At my age, I should know better. This is a mistake I make frequently in life, and I have learned a lot from it...but apparently I still haven't learned how to avoid doing it.
Consequently I have done no tangling since my last post--too busy with textile work which I'm not ready to show yet. And with several other projects, including creating a new website for a group. I love everything I'm doing but I really miss tangling.
As long as the world is turning and spinning, we're gonna be dizzy and we're gonna make mistakes. (Mel Brooks)
Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack? (George Carlin)
I took another tangling class today, this one with Heidi Halpern Kay, a talented artist who has been teaching for only one year. She has no website that I can find, but she's active on Pinterest and Facebook. My hope in taking all these recent classes has been that they would inspire me to get back my creative mojo. I think it's working, although I won't know until I begin doing my own designs again.
This tile introduced me to Ecoline Markers, which I had never used before. Very interesting. I'll be doing a lot more experimenting. Tangles: Printemps, Hollibaugh, Pokeroot/Pokeleaf, Mooka. Ecoline Markers, Copic Markers, White Gellyroll, White chalk pencil, White Uniball Signo Pen, Sakura Multiliner pen. That's a lotta art supplies!
The big news for me is that I've begun another hooked rug. It's not at the stage where I can show anything; everything so far is just experimental and it will be awhile until I have something to show. This is one reason I think I'm starting to get back some mojo. Hurrah!
"What art offers is space--a certain breathing room for the spirit."
Well this was tough! I'm not quite sure why. I did notice, though, that when I sat down to work on this, I was not feeling at my best emotionally. In fact I was feeling like s*** emotionally. That's quite unusual, but it's been a tough couple of weeks. Events and politics have been even more challenging (which is really saying something in this country).
I got started and right from the get-go I disliked what I was doing. If I had been working on a single sheet of paper or a tile, I'd probably have abandoned this. Possibly I'd have ripped it up. But I was working in a special notebook, and didn't feel I could leave it and ignore it without diminishing all the other pieces I had done already in the book. So, following a Zentangle guideline, I kept my hand moving and focused on one line at a time. I worked and worked, but really. did. not. like. it.
Following another Zentangle guideline, I walked away from it for a while. When I returned, it still wasn't exciting me but I noticed I didn't dislike it quite as much. So I sat down and kept on. And on. And on!
It's still not my favorite page, but I'm ok with where I ended up, especially given how I felt when I started. Most of all, I'm happy I persisted. There's a lesson in here. My mood had improved substantially when I was done.
There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt.
--attributed to the Buddha
This one is my first try at the tangle called Windmill, by CZT Hiroko Matsuo. That's where the "Testing Testing" title of today's post comes from.
Done on a Renaissance (tan) tile with Micron 01 in black, graphite, and some light chalk pencil. This one has so many possibilities. I did it in one of my Bitty BookZ™ I'd made last month--this book is nearly full now.
I ran the same photograph thru an iPhone app, Painnt, and got this.
Maybe my creative mojo is starting to sneak back? I would love to get some textile projects going, especially a rug.
I finally tackled making a full-sized tile version of Bitty BookZ™ today. It isn't perfect by any stretch of the word but - as usual - it's "good enough" for my first one and I learned what to do and what not to do for the next one. I'm liking this full-sized version. All the interior pages of this are tangled already because I used my "Teaching Tiles," (tiles I've created when preparing to teach a class) and some of my earliest tiles from back when I first learned. This is a great way to store previously tangled tiles.
More life-busyness means less posting. The good news is that I'm feeling better. I've continued to play with art tissue paper, the type of tissue paper that comes in dramatic colors and bleeds when wet. I've been wetting it, then squeezing it above wet Zentangle® tiles to see what it does, and/or crushing it and smashing it around directly on the tiles. This first tile was the result of the "dropping stain onto the tile from above" method:
I still feel a bit wobbly about the Icanthis tangle, so it will probably show up here more often while I practice it.
More tiles below. I switched tissue paper colors and both dropped color on and also mashed it on. This was violet-colored tissue paper and it was interesting to notice how as the staining dried, some pure blue began to seep out. There was absolutely no way I could avoid seeing these backgrounds as moon-and-sky (the first one) and evening sky. So, I built some Moon Bridges and left the tiles as mostly background, minimal tangling. Great fun with this art tissue, as you never know what you're going to get.
I was so surprised by those two.
Well then, of course I had to experiment some more, so I ran Moon Bridges #2 through a mirror app on my iPhone and was startled to see some figures emerge. See the result below.
The destination cannot be described;
You will know very little until you get there;
You will journey blind.
(T. S. Eliot)
Grid-based tangles are not always my favorite type to draw, so I want to practice them more to see what I think and explore that resistance. The tangle below is called "Krokus" but I added so much to it that it's almost hard to recognize. I'm not sure but I don't think I've drawn it before.
And now the same tangle, but presented differently below. The grid isn't so obvious in this one. You can see the pencil lines (the "string") if you look, however.
I was so pleased at how easy it was to tangle with the tile actually part of a book. While I've been making books at the rate that some of us eat potato chips (you can't stop at just one), I hadn't tangled in any of them yet.
Actually, make that utter shock.
I went to Elaine Huffman's studio today for a "Bitty BookZ™ maker event," thinking I would pick up a lot of tips from those more experienced.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered none of the other 5 participants had ever made a bitty book. I was even more surprised to end up in the role of teacher for this group. Without any planning or rehearsal. ("Planning" and "Rehearsal" are my two middle names.)
Elaine could have taught the class--but she gave us her studio for the day plus fabrics and all the other supplies...and while we worked, she was madly cutting things for us in the background. Without Elaine, none of this would have happened. So what did happen? This:
And below is a view from the side, so that you can see them slightly open:
See below for a couple of pictures of the books as they move thru the stages of creation:
And yes, those are chocolates at the top of the photo. Surprisingly, people were so absorbed that I never saw anyone eat one...
On to the next stage:
And here below we have the entire group after their books were dry and we got to un-clamp and un-elastic them. From left to right are: Janeen, Jane, Carolyn, Cheryl, Laura, and the scamp at the bottom in the violet shirt is Elaine herself. Elaine deserves huge applause for enabling this to happen.
Interested? If you'd like to try it yourself, you can get Chris Titus's very helpful pdf describing what supplies are needed and how to do these from start to finish. Click HERE to get the pdf ($10 US funds...well worth it).
You really CAN do this without a class, just from the pdf. Take it slow, expect some mistakes along the way, and don't expect perfection from your first one. But by the time you make the 2nd one, not only will it go faster, but you'll have it totally figured out.
Meanwhile, Janeen (a Certified Zentangle Teacher from Seminar 3!!!) filled her Bitty Book with ten of her own paper pages which she had made using the ever-popular "Shaving Cream" method of coloring and marbleizing the paper. It's all over YouTube--just type in shaving cream + paper. Here are a few of her tiles (now inside her beautiful book):
Janeen had a funny story about wanting to show her grandson how to color papers with the Shaving Cream method. Except, her grandson had been doing it for years in his school and HE ended up giving HER tips and hints.
Of course, you can use plain white or black or tan tiles for your own book, or you can take your already-completed tiles (ones you've already tangled) and use those for your pages. The possibilities are endless.
There is a Facebook page for BittyBookZ (oriented towards people who do Zentangle®); it's a closed group but you can ask to join if you want to join the fun.
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh my, another sunny day. They are increasingly rare, and so I treasure them. It's downright cheerful outdoors, though cold. Great to see the sun.
So where's the fog? I did this tile this morning as part of my continuing experiment with incising tiles rather than using pen on them. So it's done only with a stylus, graphite, and after that I used some watercolor pencils to add a bit of color. I thought it came out quite "foggy."
This was done for the final piece of the Gratitangles2018 Project (November) and is the tile for day 30. I am officially done and really enjoyed the month. As I was doing this tangle this morning, I was grateful for whoever invented Gratitangles, and grateful that I had a chance to participate. I hope I can continue this practice of being-grateful-while-tangling. It makes a big difference in mood.
I'm intrigued by experiments with the incision technique and plan to continue them a bit. These truly are experiments. Here is one (below) that didn't work so well. I did this on a Bijou tile (2x2") and used General's Chalk Pencils for color...in order to get the color I had to rub fairly hard and I noticed the wonderful Fabriano Tiepolo paper did NOT like the rubbing. You can see that it was beginning to shred.
I'll put that on in the "No fail, no learn" category and I'm glad I tried it. I have some other ideas that may work better on the Fabriano Tiepolo paper.
I've been feeling the itch to draw a bit again (other than tangles). One thing I know about drawing is that if you don't use it, you lose it. And I haven't used it in months, other than tangling.
This morning as I lay in bed I knew I wanted to sketch something--anything--quickly. So I got out of bed, grabbed a pencil and post-it note, and did a 4-minute sketch of the Buddha that a friend just brought me from her trip to Asia.
This was a straight-from-the-bed-into-a-sketch moment of madness. After all, we each have something we need to do first thing after getting out of bed, right? And I hadn't done that yet. So I guarantee it was very short. And not particularly good. But you gotta start somewhere.
Not a masterpiece, but could be worse after months and months of inactivity with drawing. Perhaps this is the start of something.
I've been participating in the "Gratitangles2018" project, an annual November event centered around the theme of Thanksgiving Day in the United States. I'd include a link to it, but honestly, I don't know who started this or where to find the right link. And I've looked. I don't even know who sent me the list this year.
But in this time when the United States feel less "united" than at any time since the 60s (meaning, the 1860s, when we had the Civil War), I really need to focus on what I can be grateful for...and that is still a lot.
Yesterday, Day 23 of the project, one of my least favorite tangles came up: Jonqal. I've never liked it and never ever tried it. However, I'd committed myself, so I put on some meditative music and gave it a try last night. Result:
Here's the thing: I still don't like it, but I'm glad I tried it. And I admit I like the result better than I expected. Even though mine is far from perfect (perfection is not what Zentangle® is about, anyway!) and doesn't look like the "classic" version. [See the "classic" images HERE.]
It will never be a go-to tangle, but I'm glad I gave it a try. Lesson learned! I'm thankful that I made the effort to attempt it, and the attempt was the major part of the lesson. I want to try more things in life, whether I think I'll like them or not. I also noticed that the process of doing this was just as relaxing as it is with all of the other tangles that I so strongly prefer. It got me to the same place, even if it's not--like the sketch at the top of today's post--any type of masterpiece.
It isn't about the masterpieces. It's all about the work.
It's now day 24 and I tried out a tangle I've only done once before. Click HERE to see my one-and-only previous try at it. I supersized it that time, and really like the effect. Today, though, I did the more classic version. It wasn't half as easy as the supersized one, and I messed up in places, but I like the result anyway:
A few days ago, I shared a post called "Inspired By Others," in which I showed some work done a la Ernst Haeckel at our recent zenAgain2018 conference. We didn't stop there, however, and today's post shows two very different artists whom we also explored. Talk about crazy fun--this was a highlight of the conference for me.
Indeed, Keith Haring, one of Molly Hollibaugh's favorite artists when she was a child. After wondering what, if anything, we could do with tangles and his work, Molly experimented and came up with this instruction at zenAgain2018, and below you see the tile I did as a result. I was SO surprised - and delighted - by this choice of artists!
My own version of a Keith Haring-style tile. Was this ever fun to do! Done on a black Zendala tile with White Gellyroll pen #10. Permission to break all the rules here, and just have a good time.
And if that alone wasn't enough, have a gander at the mosaic below. Bear in mind that this is only a partial photo of the whole mosaic.
Prepare to drool.
But wait--that's not all we did.
The next tile couldn't be more different. (As is true for the "Ernst Haeckel-style" tile we did which I presented a few days ago)
Yes indeed, Master Klimt himself. I couldn't do him justice--none of us could, really, but we all gave it our best shot and my tile's below, along with a partial picture of the group mosaic.
This is truly only a very small portion of the class mosaic, enlarged so that you can see the detail and the contrasts.
"What inspires me to paint? ...revisiting some old greats like Sargent, Homer, Whistler or local masters... thinking hard about a new approach or idea; or seeing a new painting on a friend's lounge room wall."
Indeed, I took another whack at the same tile I did yesterday in order to practice.
I like both yesterday's and today's versions. This is the same tangle, Wisket, with yet another small variation, and more dewdrops.
Full confession: I did this partially to recover from an entire day full of wrangling with a new computer. Nothing would go right--and Mercury isn't even retrograde yet. Let's just say it was a nightmare and things still aren't working as they should, but eventually I'll get it straightened out.
I did one more tile today to continue the #summertangles2018 challenge. Believe me, I needed the relaxation desperately.
This tangle is Abundies, with a few water drops and some Indy-rella thrown in. Just a black 01 Micron and graphite. The odd coloring is due to the poor light in which I took the photo.
And now I"m up way too late, due to all the computer issues. Time to retire for the night and try again tomorrow...
I only had time for a quick tile today. I'm still working on the "#summertangles2018" challenge, though I'm not planning to knock myself out to keep up with it.
But so far I am keeping up if I stick to a monotangle a day.
Honestly I wasn't sure I'd like Wisket (the main tangle here) but once I got started I really got into it. And totally zenned out while doing it So much so that I couldn't resist doing an experiment (the rounding on just a few of the fragments).
After I was done it occurred to me that the rounding made my "Wisket" resemble yesterday's "Lokomotive" (see yesterday's post). I must have lozenge-shapes on the brain! This isn't my best-ever tile, but because it was so calming to do I have affection for it anyway. I rarely get to experiment with Dewdrops--and it shows--so I look forward to practicing more with them soon. No fail, no learn!
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