Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I Can Do This!

I recently taught a fun beginner class at the Nashua Public Library.  The excited group, of many beginners as well as a few previous tanglers, took to the practice with enthusiasm.  We shared a lot of laughter, relaxation, and a-ha moments.

One of those moments came when a new tangler expressed hesitation at the beginning of class.  She was certain she would be unable to tangle and mocked her ability.  I, and a fellow tangler, encouraged her to try and see what happens.  After completing Crescent Moon, she announced, "I can do this!"

I love how quickly doubt can wash away with a few breaths and deliberate focused lines.  The Zentangle® method allows each of us the opportunity to let our preconceived notions about our abilities go.  In our breathing exercise, I remind the group, "As you tangle, release your inner critic as you embrace your inner artist."  Each of us has that artist within.  Sometimes we just need to get past the barriers we create with our own disbelief.

"I can do this!"  Absolutely!  Look how beautiful these tiles are.  I'd say they can all do this.  :-)

I've Done This!

I love that the Zentangle® method appeals to a wide range of people.  In just about every class I teach, someone announces, "I've done this before."  Many of us have doodled on book covers in school, margins of papers during meetings, or even in previous artwork.  The Zentangle method incorporates patterns that we see around us in art, architecture, nature, and textiles.  Many of the patterns even trace back to ancient ancestors making our tangles universally ingrained.

I had the privilege of teaching a beginner class for a women's group recently.  It was lovely to learn about the group and how they gather to take different classes and attend a wide variety of events in the region.  I think it is wonderful that people have so many ways of connecting with others around shared interests ranging book groups to learning to create art.  

During class, one woman realized that she had created similar artwork in the past.  I love when people are reconnected to their past practices and passions through a class.  Tangling can help us recall our past artistic expression while combining it into something even more magical now based on our life's journey.

Look at the beautiful tiles they created!

Friday, May 29, 2015

When We Gather

I love getting together with friends or family for any occasion.  It is fun to catch up, share what's going on, and play!  I recently had the opportunity to gather with a group of CZTs in the Massachusetts area for a little meet up.  We had a great time sharing ideas and working on different projects together.

Our first fun project was this zen ball, although I've seen it referred to by about 20 different names!  It is a lot of fun to tangle paper strips and weave them into this cool 3-D ball for decorating.  

We explored some embossing techniques and played with an exciting woven variation of Rixty by Sarah Del Mastro, CZT. 
I love getting together with friends especially when they are so creative and inspiring!

What do you like to do when you gather with others?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

April Showers Bring May Tangles

It seemed seasonally appropriate to offer a My Tangled Garden class now that it is spring.  We had a lovely evening growing tangles reminiscent of vines, grasses, and blooms.  Some fluttery friends even  visited the gardens.

One of the tangles we grew was Scrolled Feather by the fabulous Heather Williams.  It is a pattern that requires a little bit of extra focus, but the end results are so worth it.

While illustrating this stunning pattern, I thought about how I approach challenging tangles.  If I see an inspiring pattern, I often sit down to try my hand at it.  Some flow from my hands easily, while some take a little bit of practice.  Scrolled Feather, though beautiful and elegant, took me a couple of tries to feel the flow.  I think that if a pattern speaks to you, it is worth it to try a little longer to make it work for you.  We all have things in life that we have had to practice until we became comfortable with them.  Like walking or riding a bike, sometimes tangling or practicing certain patterns can benefit from a little extra perseverance and focus.  The results will be worth it!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Flitter's Friends

When I created my tangle Flitter, I realized it was similar to other dandelion-inspired tangles.  I played with a few similar designs in my Tangle-A-Day calendar when I came up with Flitter.

One of my favorites is Dandi by CZT Sandhya Manne.  I especially love using this pattern in garden ZIAs.  It is similar to B'Dylan by CZT Mary Beth Schoonover too, but they build differently.  The third column reminds me of a large AHH by Zentangle®.

I love how tangles can be reminiscent of each other but inspired by unique items or experiences and have different step outs.  We are all surrounded by the same patterns and shapes, which makes them part of our communal artistic language.  It is beautiful to see multiple people be inspired by a similar shape.  Each person brings his or her own ideas and creativity to the pattern making it special and unique.

I know there are other tangle friends similar to Flitter.  Please let me know if you find some so I can include them here.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Spring is for New Beginnings

Tangling, like spring, is an opportunity for new beginnings.  Whether it is just learning to tangle for the first time, trying a new pattern, or embarking on a new creative endeavor, our Zentangle® practice allows us to grow, to blossom, and to bring joy to ourselves and others.  

I had the honor to teach a Zentangle® Basics class for a lovely group at the Wilmington Memorial Library recently.  The group was made up of beginners as well as a few familiar tanglers.  It was lovely to see how excited people became as they learned they could create stunning artwork in a short amount of time.

At the end of the class, several people commented about how relaxed they felt and how they just may have found a new passion.  I hope their love continues to grow.

Here are the stunning tiles everyone created:

My New Pattern: Flitter

My daughter loves the Disney Fairies movies.  They are sweet, fun, colorful, and clever.  The animation is stunning to go along with the fantastic natural world of the fairies.  I enjoy the films too (I'd better since we watch them so often) and would love to think of sweet fairies helping the seasons change.

In the first movie, Tinker Bell, we learn the story of how the fairy is born and learns about her true talent.  I have always loved watching as Tinker Bell is born from a baby's first laugh.  She floats through the sky in a flower seed until she reaches Pixie Hollow, gently lands, and is magically transformed into a fairy with the help of a little Pixie Dust.  I've tried to find an image online, but the closest I can get is right after she is transformed (from The Disney Wiki).  For a feel for the beauty and a look at her seed-turned-dress, check out this video clip from Disney.

The shape of the floating seed has always captivated me.  I was tangling in my Tangle-A-Day calendar one night while watching the film with my daughter.  I started adding simple curved lines until they made a small, delicate cup.  Next I added a swan like stem with a little top to it and added some shading.

I showed my daughter, and she said, "It's Tinker Bell!"  Whenever I use this pattern, she squeals with delight that I am drawing little fairies being born.

I present the step outs for my new pattern, Flitter:

Flitter can be used as a border, a fill, or a focal tangle, depending on your piece.  I look forward to seeing what you create with my fun little pattern.  Let's channel a little fairy magic into our tangling, shall we?