Monday, November 17, 2014

School Stress

I recently had the honor of teaching three mini classes back to back at an area high school for students and faculty as part of a wellness week celebration.  In an abridged lesson, we discussed the benefits of the Zentangle® method and played with several patterns.

This day was very interesting for me in more ways than I had expected.  I always love teaching and am impressed by how much I learn from my students each time.  This day was unusual because I had the shorter classes which took place in a bustling media center.  The room was alive with students coming and going during their lunch period, meeting with groups to discuss projects, and generally going about their day in hurriedness.

The faculty reminded me that the students had a million things they needed to be doing so many wouldn't be able to join us for the classes.  Some stopped by for the five minutes they could spare in their hectic days.

I often think about how crazy adults' lives are, but I forget about the nonstop world of high school.  Teens are swamped with assignments, tests, extracurricular activities, homework, social lives, jobs, family obligations, and more.  I flashed back to my smaller school and recalled the bells that ushered students from room to room, usually with very little time to go to the lockers for different books.  I remember rushing from place to place feeling like I had to cram every bit of knowledge into my head almost simultaneously.  

True, teens are young and energetic, but we place a lot of pressure on them to succeed and to learn a lot before entering adulthood.

I hope that I was able to offer this group a brief respite in the otherwise crazy day!  

They did a fantastic job even with only a short lesson.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Thanks for Supporting Tangle-A-Thon 2014

It's been a blur since Tangle-A-Thon 2014!  We had a wonderful day filled with creativity and fun all while helping others.  A lovely group of CZTs and fellow tanglers gathered to create several interesting projects together at Lowell General Hospital.

The group raised over $1,500 to benefit TeamWalk for CancerCare at Lowell General Hospital.  I was thrilled with the generous contributions that everyone made to support this event.

I would love to extend a special thank you to CZT Teresa Hathaway for her support in brainstorming projects for the special day and teaching some fun mini lessons.  Terry taught interesting border patterns and the beautiful Stella by Jana Rogers on seasonal spiders.  Check out this beauty by fellow CZT, and my former student, Suzanne Crisafi.

Tangled spider by Suzanne Crisafi, CZT
Next everyone worked on different make-and-take projects including a cute Bijou envelope and pull-out card taught by Terry.  

After lunch, I gave demonstrations of blown ink strings.
Blown ink string sample by Emily Classon, CZT
Blown ink string Renaissance tile by Emily Classon, CZT
For our final lesson of the day, we explored some patterns, including a variety of flowing or botanical ones, for some peekaboo cards.  Here are a few samples I created for the lesson:
Peekaboo card by Emily Classon, CZT
Peekaboo card by Emily Classon, CZT
I would also like to thank all of our wonderful artists and CZTs for their generous prize contributions.    We received amazing prizes from the following:

Thank you all for your support and for making Tangle-A-Thon 2014 such a success!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Deja Vu?

This week, I had the privilege of teaching two back to back classes at the Amesbury Public Library.  The first class filled up so quickly that we decided to offer a second one on the same night.  It was fun to work with two different groups within the same community.  I'm so pleased that we could make the class work for everyone!  Check out their fantastic tiles at the end of this post.

As I've written before, I always learn so much in the classes that I teach.  I love to hear from my students and to answer their questions.  It was interesting to teach two classes because I realized how many different ways there are to say the same thing.  I taught the same patterns to each group but used different examples from my own life and art to answer questions or to share insights with the new tanglers.  Each class or tangling session is a new opportunity to see things in a new way.

I've had people take my beginner Zentangle® class at least six times.  Before you think that sounds boring, I assure you it isn't.  I try to mix up the content if I know someone is joining me for a repeat visit, but even if I taught the same exact patterns, there is always something new to learn.  Each class brings a new energy, different experiences, vibrant questions, and its own excitement.  My lesson is enhanced by what I feel from the audience.  This must be a bit like what rock stars feel on stage!  A tangler who is in a repeat class benefits from an entirely unique situation each and every time.

Teaching two classes immediately in a row with the same content showed just how different each class can be.  Both were wonderful, and it was great fun to see how each veered in different ways as topics came up or as questions were raised.  

Hmm, maybe this idea isn't true just for classes.  I will have to try to think about how I felt in these classes the next time I feel like I'm in some sort of a rut--with my art, my diet, or just the regularity of life.  If I try to find newness in the day or the task, maybe it won't seem dull or trite.  If I look at everything as a new opportunity, won't I more likely face it in a better mindset?

I'm always looking for ways to incorporate my Zentangle® philosophy into my life, and I'm constantly amazed by how easy it is to transfer my artistic experience into the rest of my days.  What a joy it is to have my life influence my art and to have my art influence my life.

Thank you to my students for giving me this great gift of flexibility, variety, and new points of view.  In exchange, I vow to keep offering fun, relaxing, and creative classes for you!  I think this is going to be a beautiful relationship.

Finding One's Way

A labyrinth can be defined as a maze or passages through which it's hard to find one's way.  It was easy to find my way walking the labyrinth at Kripalu, and it reminded me of the comfort of the Zentangle® method.  With each step of the path, I was invited to relax, breathe, meditate, be pensive, or enjoy the sounds of nature around me.  I had no expectations about where I was heading.  As the path wound around and in or out, I didn't worry about which way to go.  I trusted the path to guide me knowing that I could leave the path and return to the entrance at any time.  The labyrinth, like a string while tangling, gave me choices of staying inside or outside the lines.  There's something truly magical, comforting, and freeing in the simplicity of our Zentangle strings.  

It was a special moment to be able to feel that connection between art, nature, and the world around me while being physically grounded to the earth.  I was mesmerized by the tranquility I felt as I calmly paced the narrow path that many others had visited before me.  I felt a strong sense of community, kinship, and a collective heart as I followed the coil into the center and back out again.  

I highly recommend locating a meditation labyrinth or creating your own path for a unique experience.  Fortunately, we can meditate with a version of a labyrinth on each tile with a simple pencil line, a string.

Pattern Peeping: Featherfall

I spy with my little eye, a pattern that looks leafy.  

I found this cool leaf, and it reminded me of one of my favorite patterns, Featherfall.

This piece was created on a colored tile created by Sue Jacobs, CZT.  It was fun to play with colored pens and colored pencils on a different background even if the scan doesn't do the color justice.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tangle-A-Thon 2014!

It's almost time for the second Tangle-A-Thon fundraising event!  I hope you can join us this year for some more tangling for a good cause.  We will have a variety of projects, make-and-takes, food, prizes, and lots of fun.

Please visit the Tangle-A-Thon site to:

  • Learn more about the event.
  • To register to attend.
  • To donate in support of your fellow Zentangle® lovers.

Last year we raised $2,000 to support TeamWalk for CancerCare at Lowell General Hospital.  It was an honor to hold this fundraiser.  I enjoyed working with my friends and fellow CZTs to organize the event as well as to know that I could doing something to give back.  My life has changed thanks to the Zentangle Method, and I wanted to find a small way to share some of the benefits I have earned with others.  I hope we can raise even more to help out this year.
Emily Classon presenting a $2,000 donation to TeamWalk for CancerCare, 2013.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

What I Did on My Kripalu Vacation

My Kripalu adventure was amazing!  I needed to get back to basics and to reconnect with my love of simple patterns, tangling in my comfort zone, and creating from within.  Here are my individual tiles as well as some group mosaics including a few of my tiles.

Does anyone else see a hummingbird hiding in my Munchin tile?  It was totally unplanned, but now I can't stop seeing him in there.  

This one started out as a central string that everyone thought resembled a mother and child.  My dear friend and fellow CZT fell in love with it because it reminded her of a ram.  Of course, I added some legs and a tail and gave it to her.  :-)  Enjoy, Karen!  XOXO
Group Tripoli mosaic.  Mine is in the third row down, second from the end.
Group tile mosaic.  Mine is in the bottom row, third tile over, upside down.