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.

Kripalu with Rick and Maria!

Maria, Rick, and Me!
I got to go to Kripalu!
I got to go to Kripalu with Rick and Maria!  Squee!

Okay, I'm over the shock, but I don't think I'll ever be over the amazing adventure.

I spent a lovely, although warm, weekend at Kripalu in the Berkshires for a Zentangle® retreat taught by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, the co-creators of the Zentangle Method.  Several sessions were taught by their lovely daughter Molly too.

It was a beautiful weekend filled with visual inspiration, nature, creativity, ideas, and old and new friends.

I enjoyed several Zentangle® classes that brought me back to the beginning and allowed me to refocus my artistic efforts where I am most comfortable.  I have been veering down challenging paths of color and technique and feeling somewhat frustrated when my artistic desires do not match my hand's readiness.

I saw this weekend as a special way for me to reconnect with the art form that I love and to strip away the newly formed barriers that I have allowed to interrupt my flow at times.  I will still admire the amazing artwork I see and strive to be inspired by it, but I will no longer allow this art to diminish my feelings about my talent or my process.  I am an artist, and the Zentangle Method allows me to embrace my individual talent.  I don't have to be anyone else.  I will continue to express what is inside of me!  Even if a tile isn't my favorite, it can be an opportunity to practice further or to try things in a different way.  My journey never ends; it merely takes different directions sometimes.  I love knowing that I can always come back to the center anytime I need to for inspiration, comfort, and revitalization.

I have loved each of the classes I have taken with fellow CZTs as well as every class I have taught.  I learn something every time and am constantly blown away by how amazing this process is.  Still, there's something amazing about hearing something from the heart.  Rick and Maria are truly special people with a passion and inspiration that cannot be duplicated.  It was a joy to hear their love and joy while they taught again.  I learned a variety of new ideas to enhance my art and my teaching.  It was a thrill to be in such a creative room!

If the artistic inspiration weren't enough, the beauty of Kripalu and the Berkshires added to the experience.  Here are just a few shots from the Kripalu grounds.

In addition to the Zentangle® workshops, I enjoyed a Kripalu yoga class, amazing (although sometimes completely bizarre looking) food, and the peace that comes with a weekend away without distractions.  It took a little while for me to get used to the rule about no cell phones, but I did reasonably well.  I was thankful for a few places we were allowed to use devices so I could check in with my family.  It's hard to be completely shut off from the world, although it was nice to take a much needed break from most of the distractions.

The Thing with Ing

I always love it when a new pattern emerges from the creative minds at Zentangle®.  Of course people create patterns all the time as we are all inspired by shapes around us, but there's a special energy that develops when a pattern emerges from Rick, Maria, and Molly, the heart of Zentangle.

This week's Diva challenge invited us to play with the new pattern Ing.   I've had a few opportunities to play with this pattern, and I like how flexible it can be for filling options.  The simple external line structure is wonderful to fill with a variety of shapes or other tangles.

My first tile created for the SquareOne: Purely Zentangle® Facebook group features a central Ing surrounded by some Static.  I love the simplicity of the pattern and wanted to aura the external shape of Ing.

The next tile also features a central Ing.  I think I really enjoy mimicking the outer shape.  This time I used my aura to create Tripoli on each side with different fillers.  This is quite the triangular tile.  I love how filling Ing with Paradox makes it tricky to see the initial structure.  A chameleon pattern.