Indeed, it's been awhile.
Another round of surgery for me (nothing life-threatening), much-needed but requiring a lengthy recovery. And I'm not done yet. What I mean to say is, I AM done with the surgery but not anywhere near done with the recovery.
However, I've recovered enough to produce one tangle. Just one, but my first one in two months. That long a pause is almost unheard of for me. I had hoped to do a lot more drawing and tangling in recovery but it hasn't yet been possible.
The good news: Everything is going along well, just as predicted. I may be slow but I'm beginning to be able to "art" again. I've also been doing some punch needle embroidery but that's not at a stage where I can show it. Soon, i hope! I think I have about another 6-8 weeks of recovery to go and then I hope to be back to myself.
Interesting how plans go awry. For a couple of days I've been thinking about the old tangle, "Quandary." But I haven't drawn it in years and couldn't remember how. Today I grabbed some drawing tools and a tan 3-Z tile and gave it a go despite not remembering, and this was the result. It sure ain't Quandary--what the heck is it? Just some sort of pattern, with escapees in the lower left corner.
But what fun to do. Brainless drawing--just what I love! Nothing to think about, just filling in shapes. Very very soothing.
And just as in life, it didn't turn out as planned. But it turned out fine, anyway.
I think this is the start of a bookmark. I'll see where it takes me.
Perhaps it will go no farther. I'll let it sit a bit.
But then I realized that it's my neighbor's birthday tomorrow, and since she is one of my favorite people in the world, I quickly made her a narrower version of the above bookmark and will bring it over with a card for her.
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.
Interesting to see how the colors have washed out on this one as I uploaded it. It's actually both greener and bluer. I made some adjustments but still cannot capture the color.
I worked on this piece yesterday and today. It's part of the Grati-tangles2018 Project. As I worked I was thinking of how grateful I am when I am able to "change the frame" if things go wrong during the day. Not that I'm good at it yet! But I'm doing better.
"All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients."
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Yes, this makes three blog posts in one day. It's true. Deal with it! <g>
Ratoon is a new tangle from Molly Hollibaugh CZT (one of Maria Thomas's talented daughters) released earlier this week. The title of the tangle actually comes from some research that Maria was doing to prepare for ZenAgain this week. A "ratoon" is described thus: "a new shoot or sprout springing from the base of a crop plant." The theme of workshop was SEEDS--all the seeds from our art-ancestors that we use in creating art today, and all the seeds we are sowing as we do our own art and as we teach others. You can see the seeds represented in the tangle above.
Just as those seeds have and will continue to sprout, so all art stands on the shoulders of all previous artists. In making our art--even if it's bad art!--we honor them. One of the many things I love about tangling is that I never know where something is going to go, how it will develop, and the highly calming effect of the process. We all get the same instructions, and yet all our pieces, while obviously related, are so delightfully different. I will put a partial mosaic of this tangle as an example of that below (partial because there were so many of us that I couldn't get the entire view).
There is really no time to write today so I am just posting this tile which was so relaxing to do. That is, after all, the point of Zentangle®. Ahhhhhhh...
A couple of beloved friends are struggling right now. How helpless we feel when time and distance conspire against our desire to be present and helpful.
There is not much I can do from here at this moment, except send love. With that in mind I did this tangle last night, and dedicate it to all who are suffering right now.
I've been pondering this quote from an anonymous source (I've seen it attributed to several people):
"Healing doesn't mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives."
...and also this one, from Georges Braque:
""Art is a wound turned into light."
May it be so.
A page from my journal today. Not a masterpiece but at least it got me tangling and drawing, and I completely enjoyed doing it.
And speaking of roses, kudos and roses to my buddy Cheryl the Rug Rescuer. She has just completed a commissioned rug rescue for someone she knows who brought her a half-finished rug. As I recall, there was no wool with it, just the unfinished rug, so Cheryl had to match wool as best she could. The pattern, I think, was drawn by a rug hooking teacher who was unable to continue hooking, so I believe it's an original. Anyway, I love this rug (below). Let's first look at the rug on the floor of Cheryl's drop-dead gorgeous Victorian living room; then I'll post a closer view.
That's the rug in the foreground above, but isn't the entire room just so beautiful? And here's a closer look at the rug itself:
What a beautiful design. Very sad that the designer wasn't able to complete it, but at least the Rug Rescuer got it done! Now here's the hard part: She has to give the rug away to the woman who brought it to her. I would have a lot of trouble giving something this lovely away.
Now Cheryl is working on this wide-cut rug below (a real departure for her as she's not enthusiastic about hooking with wide cuts). I don't know whose design this is but it's very pretty: And yes, this is another Rescue Rug, started by someone before it was abandoned and turned over to her.
Quite unusual. I don't recall ever seeing this design before. Go Cheryl!
I haven't seen either piece in person yet; another friend took these photos for me (thank you, Kathleen). I'm hoping to see the actual rugs in person in a couple of weeks.
The thing about Zentangle® is that you never know where it's going to take you. Much like life. I began this tile 2-3 years ago--it didn't look anything like what you see here--and left it totally unfinished. Abandoned. I re-discovered it two days ago while unpacking (yes, I am still unpacking after 9 months of being here) and somehow just couldn't throw it out, though I was tempted. It stared at me and challenged me to reconstruct it or make it work in some way.
Basically it began life as a black tile which had been roughly shaded sort-of-white with the use of a soapstone, and then I think I had used some type of tool to see if I could score the tangle "Tripoli" into the soapstone background. It didn't work and I loathed the look of it. So put it away. I find it hard to believe that I didn't just toss it.
I finished it today in a very fast, sloppy way--because it was "just an experiment"--and now I rather like it. It has a pastel or oil paint-y look to it. I completely ignored the unpleasant beginning and re-built the entire concept.
This reminds me of something I learned in my childhood: A family member once accused me of "never finishing anything you start." I thought about it for awhile, got mad, and then decided she was right. So I made a major effort over the next few months to go around and finish all my unfinished projects. I must have been about ten, and I remember the resulting satisfaction. Although I hadn't liked the criticism, it spurred me to develop discipline.
Since then, it's rare for me to put something away unfinished. If anything, I've gone to the opposite extreme--I sometimes finish things immediately that might benefit from a longer pause.
(I do have one quilt that has been "paused" for 40 years. Er...it may be time to get back to that one!)
The other tile I did today was this one below. I'll put the completed tile first and then include two photos of the very beginning and the middle stages. (I know the tile background looks different in the photos but it's all the same tile--just different lighting)
Some things--like unpacking--take me longer to finish, because I just don't like doing them. But eventually, that learned discipline from childhood takes over and they do get done. It just takes me 50 times longer to get to the finish line than it does if I enjoy what I'm doing.
As a non-holiday celebrator, I appreciate this quiet time of year (especially tonight, Christmas Eve, and tomorrow) and always give myself permission to do whatever the heck I feel like doing for a couple of days.
That does not include unpacking.
It does include reading, drawing, tangling, and general lollygagging.
Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!
This easy-to-draw tangle is brand new from the Zentangle® folks, and is named Rumpus. My version today is blindingly bright. Feel free to put your sunglasses on to view it.
This was done with a black Micron PN pen, graphite, and a Rainbow Lead Colored pencil.
I do hope my next version is a bit tamer! I think I'll be using this tangle a lot as it is so enjoyable to draw.
NOTE: If you are a fan of the Trump administration and its policies, you will NOT be happy reading the next section of today's post. It's your choice whether or not to keep reading.
While I rarely comment on politics--it is not what I choose to focus on here--what I'm showcasing below is actually a photograph of a hand-hooked rug which cannot be separated from the current political climate
On the left is Emily K Robertson's hand hooked rug, titled "Trumped." It is her contribution to a superb juried show of fiber art currently traveling across the United States to protest the Trump Administration's actions and policies.
The show is titled Threads of Resistance, and you can view details on its context and its current location by clicking on that title. A wonderfully produced catalog for the show is also available on amazon.
It's well worth your time. If you disagree with this political view, it will make you uncomfortable. BUT, even if you agree, the show will still make you uncomfortable.
It is a very challenging exhibit.
I highly recommend both show and catalog.
Most of the pieces in the show appear to be quilts. I spent time today looking at the catalog, and I see that it's possible Emmy has the only hooked rug in the show.
My only criticism of the catalog, which is beautifully produced and the next best thing to actually seeing the show in person, is that it's not clear to me on a first read what the medium is for each piece. Quilt? Photo? Painting? Hooked rug? The information may be in there, but I didn't see it. However, it's a minor criticism. The full title of the show is: "Threads of Resistance: A Juried Exhibition Created to Protest the Trump Administration's Actions and Policies."
A word about Emmy Robertson: I'm lucky to count her as a friend, having met her at the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild years ago. She's a past president of that guild, and a phenomenally talented rug designer and rug hooker. She's also extraordinarily prolific. When she lived in my area she was kind enough to join our rug hooking group and always served as a source of inspiration. Many of her rugs are designed around political topics. She is an ordained minister who chooses to pursue her ministry via political action. If I had to sum up her spiritual philosophy, it is captured in her favorite motto: "Love Kindness."
Thanks, Emmy, for letting me showcase your rug!
“The function of the artist in a disturbed society is to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, and to elevate the mind.”
Two very quick drafts. I'm continuing to practice drawing Celtic Knots. These were done on incredibly cheap blue scratch paper. This first one I actually did not intend to ink--I thought I would do a quick pencil draft (and did), but then decided to spend the time inking it. This was freehand and done in a rush.
In the draft below, I used a technique from a YouTube video to create a classic border. Since this was my first attempt, I used the same super-cheap blue scratch paper. This one took longer only because it had so many knots, but I still thought I would leave it just as pencil practice. And just as in the other case, I decided to take the time to ink it in. There's something so irresistible about "correcting" the sloppy pencil lines. Once again, this was drafted very fast.
While this is far-from-perfect (see the spots of white where I've corrected some "blobby" lines, not to mention the different sizes of lines), I notice that the eye tends to smooth things out and make it look better than it actually is. That's ok with me!
In the spirit of "Progress, Not Perfection," I am viewing sloppy progress as being better than no progress at all.
Well, before I get to the story of the dreaded putty, let me start with some tangles. Here are two entries for this week's Diva Challenge # 332, a square within a square.
Every tangle in each tile is brand-new to me, and it shows. I consider both tiles "first tries" and drafts. Not bad, but of course they'd get better with practice.
In the first tile, three totally new patterns:
On the lower right corner: Kinnggo by Susie Ngamsuwan. Don't blame her--this is my first attempt! I like it though, and will use it in future.
Center/right-ish: Andromeda by Lily Moon.
Upper left: Bealis, by Aurora's Artwork.
My square-within-a-square for the challenge was formed by the Andromeda tangle. This was a fun exercise, even though not very meditative since I was in learning mode. I would need to practice a lot more with each of these, and I intend to. I thought I would try them in this challenge since I'd been wanting to try each of them for a couple of weeks now.
Another brand-new (to me) tangle called Sunspots, by Rosemary Turpin. This is one repeat of the pattern; it's simple and meditative to draw. I figured it qualified for this challenge because there are 4 squares, visually, inside the one repeat.
It would make a great quilt, don't you think?
Lastly, here is the Dreaded Putty--the hand therapy material that is making my hand go crazy with pain, but it's also really helping. The two culprits are Red Putty (softer), and now my wonderful OT has added the dreaded Blue Putty (scarily harder). I have to squeeze the red one and do various torture-y exercises with the blue one. Ack. Ouch. But I know it's helping.
I want my hand back so I can end this "Broken Wrist Series" of tangles and get on with my life.
Impatience has taken over!
Another insomniac night produced this in my Zentangle® Pre-Strung Journal that's near the bed. I was too lazy to get up and find my colored pencils so used only the Rainbow Lead Pencil. Many of the pre-drawn strings in this journal slide right off the page, as this one does. I love the way Zentangle regularly breaks all the rules.
I am currently reading Tara Brach's extraordinary book, Radical Acceptance, and have been thinking about acceptance in relationships. Note that "acceptance" does not necessarily indicate "agreement with," but rather is an acknowledgement of exactly what is happening--before any action is chosen. In other words, not blindly reacting, but instead seeing the situation clearly and then perhaps being able to choose a wise action rather than going with the first impulse.
I've been bringing these ideas into meditation and learning from them. In a world gone mad with angry, hostile relationships, full of trolls and bullies, there has never been more need for being able to see clearly and choose one's reaction wisely.
This carried over into my tangling, as I found myself starting with the tangle Betweed and then thinking about similarities between Betweed and Mooka, which is what I was playing with here.
...after which I slept quite well, even if not long!
Everything in life that we really accept undergoes a change.
Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.
i heard the sound of crickets last evening for the first time since last year.
to be more specific, i heard one lone cricket, and then about a block or so later, a second lone cricket. there is something about their sound that makes me so happy.
today i experimented with drawing a cricket (thus, the "hope" part of the title, as it was only the second day since i broke my wrist (mid-june) that i began to feel i was getting better. more about that later...
here is the very silly result--the first sketch is a cartoon cricket (from the jiminy cricket species), and the second one only a tad more realistic. both were done from youtube videos that i found when i typed in "how to draw a cricket."
below is my contribution to IAST 209 (the "it's a string thing" challenge). i was so happy to feel well enough to try this tonight. this makes two days of less swelling and pain, i'm almost afraid to feel hopeful, but i'm going with it tonight!
for this week's "it's a string thing" challenge #205:
there seems to be a theme going on here. my journal page from yesterday (note the rainbow lead pencil i'm determined to use until the last 1/8"):
finally, some pix from my long walk at 5.30 this morning:
prepare for a tangle gone completely amok. this was in response to this week's "i am the diva challenge #325," from guest challenger Jessica Davies. click on that link to see what this tangle is SUPPOSED to look like. note: nothing like mine.
the challenge tangle is "pea-nuckle," one of my least favorites (sorry, molly!). rather than doing it in a solid block, i wondered what would happen if i 1) tried to bend it in a circle, 2) made the insides of the "peas" something other than straight lines, and 3) connected them to each other not using the usual straight lines. oh dear...
which begs the question, is this even the pea-nuckle tangle anymore? or just a hot mess?
i'm hoping i can use my current broken wrist as an excuse. though there's probably no excuse for this!
since i broke my wrist and can't really type, i assumed there would be no blogging either. but i can't stop drawing. here's my 1-handed version of joey challenge #174.
following that is a 10-minute sketch of the incredibly bulky cast and sling i'm wearing.
my previous post has all the tiles i've been sneaking in 1-handed since the break.
joey challenge 174. the main tangle is "asian fans" and the rest is my embellishments on the lovely be-ribboned string created by suzanne ng. this was a "finish my tile" challenge and if you look at her original, it's lovely all by itself. i used a rainbow lead pencil and graphite for color and shading.
Yup, this is it. This is all that is left of my original Rainbow Lead Pencil. And I'm still using it! I've nicknamed it "Stubby." That's a dime just underneath it, for size comparison, and below that is a regular mechanical lead pencil.
A friend has been asking about where to find this particular brand. Unfortunately, there is absolutely NO identifying information on the pencil at all. I wrote about my search for its exact twin HERE. It's a long, long post, but if you are very determined to get one of these, reading the entire thing may be somewhat helpful...at least to affirm that I share your frustration. (At the time I wrote that post, last August, I had ordered but not tried the Koh-i-Noor Rainbow Lead pencils. I got them and tried them later, and disliked them. I then ordered what I thought might be a match-to-my-original pencil from Oriental Trading Company, but the ones I received were very dull in color and I ended up discarding those also. Your mileage may vary, of course.)
I still have no dependable information on where to get this brand of Rainbow Lead pencils. If anyone knows, please put the info in the comments! Meanwhile, have a good laugh over "Stubby," my beloved art tool.
To round out my day, I took a few moments tonight to practice some new-to-me tangles and some old favorites. Because I need to get to sleep at a reasonable hour, I had to stop here and not spend any time shading - so this is line-work only. Perhaps some time in the next few days I can add the shading.
This was relaxing to do and I'm hoping it will help me slide gracefully into a good night's sleep.
"Sleep is the best meditation."
-The Dalai Lama
(Jeez, did he really say that?)
Looking at this photo: On the left side is the original plan for this week's Joey Challenge. I loved that she tangled about 1/3 of the tile and left the rest for the participants to work out. Yesterday I posted my first effort --fly-by-night since I was doing the entire thing from memory. Today I tried it again. I'm still not madly in love with my results but that's ok since at least I am tangling...something I haven't had that much time to do lately.
Here's a better look at what I did. Included in this tangle are Paradox, N'Zepple, Tipple, Sampson, and various other random lines and marks I tossed in there, with some graphite shading and then coloring using a Rainbow Pencil.
I may even try a third version of this at some point.
With repetition, the alternate approaches become clear, options open.
The title of today's post is explained at the very end...
Today I had a scheduled tangling date with a friend at a nearby cafe. At the last minute, we switched the time to an earlier hour, so I raced out of the house without the paper on which I'd printed instructions and the visual for a Joey Tangle Challenge I thought would be fun to try. My friend hadn't heard of this particular challenge, so I quickly sketched it out from memory--I didn't even have a Zentangle® tile with me, so I had to guess the approximate size and I free-handed the borders. I thought I'd just show my friend what it was about. But then I decided, why not just tangle on this? And here is the result. Not stellar, but hey, it could be worse!
When I got home, I took an actual tile and placed it on top of my freehand version, and traced around it. That produced the space around the very edge that I filled with triangles. I wasn't too far off!
This was a fun challenge. If you clicked the link above you can see that Joey had actually started us off with the entire large triangle, leaving the rest blank for us to fill in. Have a look at the wide variations that people produce from that one idea (they are on her site above). This incredible number of variations is part of the fun of doing challenges.
After finishing, I of course couldn't leave well enough alone and had to run it thru one of my iPhone apps. Results below. And yes--all I did was take the photo above and run it thru the app, just manipulating it a bit to see what would happen. So much fun.
This made for a lovely break from trying to resolve some of the issues I've run into in executing my latest rug design. So relaxing to sit and tangle.
While at the cafe, I drank a temporary specialty flavored coffee called "Decaf Librarian." They do not normally carry decaf, and that title says it all about what they think of un-caffeinated coffee. It was delicious but still not mild enough for me.
I guess I'm just a coffee wimp.
A tile I created while listening to Molly Hollibaugh's meditative instructions:
While I still have projects to finish from that workshop, I am a bit too tired to tackle them so tonight I just did a freehand mandala using an old purple ball point pen and the Rainbow Lead pencil.
...after which I ran it through the mirror app on my iPhone, so here's the same tile mirrored...
...which reminded me of the old Mae West quote that sometimes
"too much of a good thing can be wonderful."
I cranked up the Motown today while alternately standing and sitting to punch the rug, and was it ever fun! (If the above video doesn't play when you click on it, just click on the "view on YouTube button and another window will open and play it. You can listen and read at the same time.)
Martha Reeves (and the Vendellas) was one of my idols back in the day. Then there were all the other great songs...
"Dancing in the Streets," "Rescue Me," "I Heard It On the Grapvine," "R-e-s-p-e-c-t," "Up on the Roof..."
OMG, dance, dance, dance. Even when sitting down. How I miss Motown.
Thus, there will be an odd mix of Motown, assorted dharma talks, meditations, and the very long and wonderful George Eliot book Middlemarch (which I finished listening to a couple of weeks ago) woven into the fibers of this rug.
(Good mojo, I'm thinking.)
Tomorrow is likely to be very rainy and it might feel good to stay home and play with color. I may stay home to dye more yarn. Below are two views of the rug progress, plus a new tangle that I threw in at the very end.
A quick look at the back side of the rug, close up.
And here is the front. I spent 5 hours at the studio today and got a chunk more done. I am slowly moving toward being halfway finished with this very large rug (but am not there yet, not by any means). It's beginning to be hard to move it on the frame.
An experiment with some tangles. I had fun with this last night.
So I've been knitting a blanket while watching tv this winter.
Actually, the pattern says it's a "throw cover."
Perhaps I have been watching too much tv?
Methinks this has gotten a little out of hand. True, I am nearly at the end of the final skein, but I mean...who is this supposed to cover, Godzilla?
I should not complain. It most certainly will cover me, and then some. If only I had made this last winter, with all the intense cold and the ten feet of snow. This winter has been so mild. But since--thanks to global warming--we no longer know what we are going to get, I will definitely be well prepared for anything that next winter brings.
The yarn is, alas, very cheap acrylic. I'm kind of horrified by it; it's not stuff I would normally ever use, but the organic alternatives would have required a billionaire to buy.
I am also having to admit that I am coming to the end of my all-time favorite Rainbow Lead Pencil. I've used it so much that it's just a stub of its former self. Here's a tangle I did with it today:
The above was my first-ever try at Whirlee, and it was quite a challenge. I modified it to fill the page a bit more. Enjoyed doing this. I will be playing with it again, for sure.
And here is one mirrored version.
Below is the tiny Rainbow Lead pencil stub, which will soon be too small to sharpen and which will have to be retired. Sad. I have really had fun with this pencil.
I've mostly been tangling only in my Carole Ohl "Tangle A Day" calendar recently and have been tending towards covering one entire page, rather than using one of the three boxes on each page. Probably a good idea since I'm already over a month behind.
Heading out for a walk in the lovely sunshine; the next few days promise to be stormy. Good weather for making art!
I'm a textile artist (traditional rug hooking, punch needle rug hooking, and other textile arts), a long-time meditator, a certified meditation teacher and coach, and focused on learning about the interplay of art, creativity, and mindfulness every day.
SITES TO WATCH:
Insight Meditation Society
Oxford Rug Hooking School
Zentangle: The Official Site
Green Mountain Rug Hooking
Massachusetts Tarot Society