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."
In less than a week, 2018 is done. I'm doing my annual review by re-reading my journal and reflecting. It's always a bittersweet process.
That's not all that's winding up. On the right is yarn I over-dyed yesterday, preparing for my next project. I just finished winding it into this yarn cake.
Here it was in the dyepot just before I nuked it for the final time. And yes, the lighting was different. The color in the photo above is truer. The original yarn, a worsted weight, was beige. When I saw this in the dyepot It looked so much like spaghetti I couldn't believe it.
Also winding up--and now actually finished--is this hooked pillow I put together yesterday. The pattern is from a vintage piece of pottery, and I'm thrilled with how it came out.
The yarn I dyed above is actually going to be used in a twin of this piece--I will punch hook the same pattern, to illustrate the difference between traditional hooking and punch hooking.
Sure enough, I had the thing laminated this afternoon (see yesterday's post for an explanation of "the thing") and then with the help of an x-acto knife and 3 minutes of work, cut a center hole and installed the works.
Voila, a completed Zentangle® Spinner.
As I mentioned yesterday, I'm thinking about wheels/mandalas, etc., of which this is only one.
The big one--the Full Moon--was shining in my bedroom window so brightly last night that I thought she was going to come right through the glass and join me. So I'll be calling this my Full Moon Spinner.
Now if we could all just learn from the quote below...
“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.”
― Edgar Mitchell
This week's Solstice (yesterday) caused me to start thinking about wheels, as in the Wheel of the Year and how that wheel is turning once again. I've had wheels on the brain. For example, the Wheel in the tarot (see my previous post on the Wheel of Fortune card HERE), plus I just finished a Zentangle® project that had me creating a wheel, below.
The above wheel is going to grow up to be a "Spinner Board," once its spinner arm is inserted thru the hole in its center. Before I do that, I'm thinking I will need to laminate and back the piece. There are 55 different tangles on the piece, and I'm guessing it's about 9x9". It was fun to do and took twelve days, tangling for about a half hour each day. It's part of Zentangle's Project Pack 04 and all the relevant how-to videos are on YouTube.
In the process of doing this, my already messy desk grew completely out of control, so today I went on a massive cleaning binge. It should be noted that, for me, a "massive cleaning binge" is equivalent to picking up one piece of paper from the floor. I did not get the cleaning gene. I was happily raised in Lower Slobbovia.
But today I swept my large desk clean and forced myself to sort through things and create a semblance of order. It's quite shocking. More work has to be done tomorrow but here is the progress so far. (Wish me luck with maintenance...not a strength either)
Apparently the wheel turned into a Wheel of Progress for me. At least for the next 24 hours.
Happy Solstice to all...
Darn the wheel of the world! Why must it continually turn over? Where is the reverse gear?
I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.
--Susan B. Anthony
Here's another short post on OTHER PEOPLE'S WORK (not mine). My buddy Cheryl is a Rug Rescuer--she takes partially completed traditionally hooked rugs from people who cannot complete them (usually due to age, illness, or unknown reasons) and finds a way to finish them. She's a genius at it!
Here are a couple of her rescued rugs, then a 3rd rug that she hooked NOT as a rescue but just for fun for a grandchild. And finally, a rug in progress from another wonderful rug artist, Cynthia (not a rescue--her own design).
I believe this pattern is an old McGown or Moshimer pattern called "Frost Oriental," (after Edward Frost, an itinerant peddlar in the 1800s who figured out a way to transfer rug designs to burlap). Cheryl rescued this rug and finished it--I've long loved this pattern and have often thought of hooking it, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Love what she and the original artist did with this!
Also by Cheryl the Rescuer. Although I can't remember if she rescued this rug and finished it, or if she decided to hook it all herself and then ran out of wool part of the way through and had to scramble to finish. Either way, I love this rug. Both the pattern and the wonderful difference in values, giving it an antique look.
And last but not least, a rug by Cynthia (another traditional rug hooking artist in our group) of her own design. This isn't the first time I've featured one of Cynthia's rugs--she does all her own designs and dyes or recycles the wool she uses. The added bicyclist (lower right without any wool around it yet) and the boat (lower left center) both have special meaning for her family. She does wonderful work.
I got to see these lovely rugs, and others, at our meeting last Friday. It was hard to tell which was more fun--the rug hooking, the conversations, or the fabulous groan-inducing foods. We met at Cheryl's amazing and stunningly decorated old Victorian house.
"When life gives you hands, use 'em to make stuff."
None of these are my work. But I am a sucker for lotus flowers, and these are so stunning I have to share them.
First is a photograph taken by Paula Swenson at a botanical garden in Thailand:
I am in love with that photo.
Next, two images of lotuses in watercolor painted by Walter Cudnohufsky of Ashland MA:
I'm lucky enough to own both of these paintings.
They will help me to remember...
"No mud, no lotus."
--Thich Nhat Hanh
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'm not known for being subtle. Far from it. But I've been wanting to try this oh-so-subtle technique (does it have a name? I can't find one) by CZT Maria Tovar for a long time and today, the penultimate day of the Gratitangles Project, I thought these two simple tangles would lend themselves well to it. They did, even on my first try.
This is part of my work on the November Gratitangles Project, which is all about focusing on gratitude while tangling. I had to laugh as I was finishing this piece and Alison Krauss's wonderful song The Lucky One came on. (Granted the song is NOT about gratitude. Or at least, not in the way I've been exploring gratitude! But I love the music and the title fit my thoughts, even though the lyrics have an entirely different meaning.) I love Alison Krauss. Here is another song of hers I adore. You're welcome...
This has been a wonderful project to do. I have one more day to complete and then I hope to continue tangling while thinking about why I am grateful for everything in my life, even the hard parts.
“We can do subtle," I assured her.
"It's our middle name," Andrea added.
For some odd reason Rene didn't look convinced.”
― Ilona Andrews, Magic Slays
This is highly representative of my state of mind. Here we have a tile that covers days 26, 27, and 28 of the Gratitangles Project. I'm almost done.
The tangle Bales (day 26) starts out on the left looking reasonably like itself, but then as it moves over to the right of the tile it's desperately trying to escape. Or spread its wings. Or something. Munchin (day 27), a tangle that is usually free-form and wild, doesn't look much like itself here at all, though it too begins to look like an escapee by the time it gets to the right side of the tile.
This piece went places I couldn't have imagined. It reflects where I've been for a couple of days--very busy and unable to do much creating, so today's work is trying to "spring out of its firm-looking boundaries." Fine with me!
Though busy and l-o-n-g, both days included good things. And yesterday, although I didn't do much creating myself, I spent much of the afternoon visiting old friends who are both incredibly creative. Good conversation and plenty of art-related eye candy made for a lovely day, and inspiration.
Today, it was lovely to stay close to home after so much traveling and allow myself to rest. I could not have predicted the results of this tile, but I'm liking it a lot.
So in keeping with the Gratitangles Project, while I was drawing this today I was feeling grateful for delightful surprises, grateful for old and dear friends, grateful for a good night's sleep, and for the steady sunshine we had all day. And grateful for being an escapee (able to withdraw from regular life on occasion). I don't need to do so often, but when I do, it's nourishing.
The beginning today: I began designing another large rug. It's too early by far to show anything, but I am pleased with the start.
The ending today: After endless rain and then multiple overly-early snowstorms, we finally got all the leaves cleaned up. It took all day. Since I'm focusing on gratitude this month, I want to say how relieved I am that I no longer have to do this myself. Because I live in a condo, someone else does it for me, and of course they have all the right tools & equipment, saving my old bones the effort. Thank you, thank you.
Two small tangled pieces today...
Above is a black Zentangle® 3-Z tile with White Gellyroll pen and White General's Charcoal. The tangle is called XLnt and it's by CZT Jody Genovese (you can find it on tanglepatterns.com). This is my first try at it, and wowza, it was not easy for me to figure out. I like it very much though and think I'll be using it a lot. This was done for the "It's a String Thing #271" Challenge on Adele Bruno's website.
And this one is done on a tiny Bijou tile (2"x2") using Gold Gellyroll pen and A bit of White Gellyroll, with colors by General's Chalk pencils. The tangle in the center is Zenith, and that was our assignment for the Gratitangles Project, day 25. I mixed in a Footlites tangle on either side (same project, day 14). Zenith is a tangle I always mean to use, and rarely do.
While working on these tiles I could not help thinking of things I am grateful for today: For example, safe housing, with great caretakers who moved those leaves efficiently and who also take care of the snow and ice. I'm grateful for the snow tires I had put on my car yesterday. I am grateful that I even HAVE a car and the money for snow tires.
“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.”
So far, we're having an extraordinarily early winter. Multiple snowstorms have already struck, and it's been much colder than normal. We are nowhere near the Winter Solstice when the season officially begins, but it's definitely winter out there.
I spent 2 hours today getting snow tires put on at the very busy local dealership. More snow due tonight. Fortunately, it's accumulating more in the hill towns surrounding this valley, but it's often rain or slush here. We are lurching rather haplessly from storm to storm, with just a few bits of sunshine in between. Today was mostly cloudy with a couple of hours of filtered sun. This tangle was done to honor the short days and the occasional lovely brief moments of sun, when they come.
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:
Yesterday's post was all about the sun; ironically, today's is all about the moon.
Here we have an experiment that didn't quite work, but I like it anyway. I cannot even put into words what I was trying to achieve--it's too hard to explain. But I still like the ghostly, dusty fadedness of this violet-colored full moon.
Before dawn this morning I woke up and couldn't believe how much light was in my room. I turned my head on the pillow and was almost blinded by the nearly-full-moon beaming down directly into my eyes through the window as She sailed along in the northwest corner of the sky. It felt as though she were tapping on my shoulder and calling to me to, "Wake up! WAKE UP!"
Make this night
Love will heal the wound
The glowing light
Will make things right
Little darling, the smile's returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
There are so many things to be thankful for today, but let me begin with seeing the sun. Where I live we haven't had a sunny day in a long time, and although it's extremely cold out, I notice how much the sunshine has lifted my mood. I can't be the only one feeling this way.
I've a long list of things to be grateful for, including the fact that I was able to do some Zentangle® last night and today, a process that is so meditative and so centering that I feel extremely lucky to have stumbled on it years ago. Here's last night's tangle:
Next, I did a tangle for Diva Challenge #377. This piece definitely has a "What the hell happened here???!!!" feel to it, as it ended up in such an unexpected result, with colors I rarely use. But that's ok--I like it. Later today I'll treat myself to going to the Diva's page (see link above) and see how everyone else handled this "duotangle" (combining 2 tangles). I expect I'll be astounded and intrigued by all the different approaches, as always. Here it is:
I also had time to find a place for the lovely little Buddha my good friend P brought back from her month-long trip to Asia. There is now another tiny altar in my house:
Gratitude today, in no particular order, for:
After all, Mother Earth is the ONLY planet with coffee. And chocolate.
This week I've been thinking a lot about good friends and the nature of friendships. How they enrich our lives.
More or less hidden in that tile is the Pali word "Metta," which translates as "boundless friendship" and/or "loving kindness."
"Let there be no purpose in friendship save the deepening of the spirit."
Remember the very strange story of the hula girl figure from last August/September ? (click here to refresh your memory) She mysteriously appeared atop our mailboxes one day, stayed a few weeks, then disappeared. But she reappeared in September (it's all in the link above).
Here is a photo of how she looked then (just below).
But read on to see how she looked as of this morning...
She was appropriately (if scantily) dressed back then.
It is now November and we have already had two snowstorms...and winter's barely begun.
On my way to do some errands this morning I stopped at the mailbox and...
I nearly swallowed my tongue laughing when I spotted this:
“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
Another piece for the Grati-tangle2018 Project. This is the start of Thanksgiving Week here in the USA, and it's good to be actively looking for things to be thankful for in these very troubling times.
As I worked on this one, I really focused line-by-line and enjoyed the meditative aspect of the drawing. I was thinking about how fortunate I am to have a home, food, warm clothing, and good friends. All things that so many people in this world do not have. I was also thinking about how happy I am that my friend who has been dealing with a very tough health issue is on the mend...not that it will be speedy, but she is getting better.
Lastly, I was grateful for having found this Oriental rug at a local auction last Friday night and paying next to nothing for it. Only one other person bid on it and I won.
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."
We are expecting our first snow of the season, here in the Northeastern US. Things are growing progressively quieter as people scurry to get home before the snow begins.
This is another Zendala tile for the Grati-tangles2018 Project. I've nearly caught up now and am so enjoying myself. I was focused today on gratitude for good friends and for lovely art materials.
This tile went somewhere I never expected. I was in an experimental mode.
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.
Another tile for the Grati-tangle2018 project. This one has a variation of Fracas and also the tangle Marasu.
While working on this tile I was grateful for all the things I've been given that allow me the luxury of time and tools to practice this form of meditative art. I am lucky indeed.
And one last tile for today, same project. The tangle is Cyme and it's for day 10.
While working on this tile, I was thinking that I am grateful that I know a posse of women who are skilled healers and ready/able to work on a friend who's in need of help. Gratitude to these friends. We are geographically scattered but I trust them all and love them all.
Here is a quote that captures the nature of the work we've done together over the years:
“I dreamt we walked together along the shore. We made satisfying small talk and laughed. This morning I found sand in my shoe and a seashell in my pocket. Was I only dreaming?”
― Maya Angelou
was the inspiration for this:
At ZenAgain this week we experimented with tangling that was inspired by other people's work. This sea creature above is inspired by the work of Ernst Haeckel, and was it ever fun to draw.
Below is a mosaic of the class's work with this assignment. We were each given some General's Chalk Pencils to use--we each received different colors and were required to work with whatever colors we got. Once again, you can see that all of them were similar, and yet, each is distinctly different.
This was only one small portion of a much larger table with these tiles displayed.
Maria Thomas, one of the founders of Zentangle®, has a remarkable poster with her own version of Haeckel's sea creature on a portion of it. See her poster below. I believe this is for sale but am not certain. (UPDATE: Yup, it's for sale at the Zentangle® website.)
And finally, below, is a photo of a book about Haeckel's beautiful work (the master himself). There are many books available about him.
This was the very first tile we did at the opening of the workshop last Sunday. An old favorite and often the first tangle taught to new students, Crescent Moon.
A tiny tile is all I can manage to post today; it's been a busy weekend and frankly, I have overdone it. Apparently I may have contracted a second head cold on the heels of the first one, so I am really dragging.
Keeping things small and simple this evening.
"'Space' seems to be such a confusing term. The closer we look at something, like what we are made of, the more space there seems to be."
"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).
Here is a completely WRONG version of the tangle Cadent. This is what happens when you're so tired you can't see straight. It's drawn incorrectly from start to finish. Things don't connect as they should. I was aware of it while I was drawing but did not care one bit, had fun, then shaded it and called it done. It's for the Gratitangles2018 Project, Day 5.
While I was doing it I was being grateful for all that I have been given in life.
This one's an old favorite called Verdigogh, and represents Day 6 of the Gratitangles2018 Project. Once again I was aware of how tired I was as I was working on this, and so while I was tangling I was very grateful that I'm at a point in life where I have a lot of control over my own schedule (in other words, if I'm overscheduled it's usually because I do it to myself). I am grateful that I have the personal choice and luxury of changing this. So...why don't I? Because I hate to miss ANYTHING. Jeez.
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