Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sand Dollars and Fireworks

Welcome back to the Diva!  It's wonderful to have Laura back blogging and inspiring us.  I wish her darling Artoo continued success in his recovery.  

The Diva has tasked us with playing with the latest Zentangle® pattern, Arukas.  I like the idea of this tangle but still haven't quite fallen in love with it yet.  I do tend to like patterns with very straight, repetitive lines, like IX, so I figured I would like this one quickly.  It is fun to create, but I think I need to explore it some more.  I haven't quite achieved the star look, but I think that many, like my Bijou tile, look like sand dollars.  
This is one of the first times I used Bronx Cheer to cover something that I deemed less than favorable.  One of the Arukas turned into a nice round shape resembling a sand dollar.  I liked it, but the other one had lines that went off the Bijou tile.  I decided that I liked the rounder look and plunked down some Bronx Cheer.  Ha!  Should I have revealed my secret, or would you have guessed anyway?  

Others remind me of fireworks or bugs or scorpions because at least one of the interior shapes always ends up looking puffy.  It's still cool because I never quite know how it's going to turn out.
I am enjoying filling in my initial spokes or rays to give a little contrast.  I like the look of that in this Bijou frame tile:

Have you been playing with Arukas?  What do you think of it so far?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

All Dolled Up as the Guest Diva

The famous Diva asked a few CZTs to fill in and write guest posts while her darling son Artoo had eye surgery.  Fortunately he is doing well and recovering.  I know how terrified I was when my little one had surgery.  I am sending healing wishes to the whole family!

This week, I had the fortunate pleasure of writing one of the guest posts.  I hope you had fun playing along with my challenge.  You can read all about it at I am the Diva.  It was an honor to help Laura (the Diva) as well as to serve as an inspiration for tanglers around the world.  I am loving each and every piece created.  I am going through the 50 plus responses posted on the Diva's site.  It's so touching to think that my idea has inspired people around the world!

I've been tangling quite a few paper dolls to adorn a Christmas tree at the Andover Historical Society for their annual event.  Each tree is decorated to accompany an inspiration piece from the collection.  My inspiration this year was paper dolls.  I created a paper doll dress template and tangled each using different patterns.  I had a wonderful time completing these and thinking about how the patterns could mimic folds of fabric.

Here is an assortment of my tangled dresses up close as well as the finished tree.

I love the Flux skirt on this one:

 Of course I had to use my pattern YAH in one of the dresses.
 I love the feel of the Printemps-stuffed Hollibaugh in this one:

Here's the finished tree.  I wish that my top hat tree topper idea had worked.  The hat was so large that it overpowered the rest of the tree so I had to scrap it.  Then I wondered if I should have added more color to the tree through balls or ribbons.  I wanted the tree to reflect the beauty and simplicity of the Zentangle® method without being too busy.  I wanted my hand-tangled dresses to speak for themselves.  I hope I made the right choice by keeping it simple.

Here's my Renaissance doll too.  She was a lot of fun to create!

Thanks for tangling with me this week!  If you haven't shared your creation on the Diva's site, I hope you'll share it with me on Facebook, by email, or in a comment here.  I'd love to see your work.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Test Driving Patterns

I recently had a lot of fun teaching a Zendala class to several of my regular tanglers while welcoming a new friend into our group.

I love creating mandala strings from scratch or using the pre-strung Zendala tiles.  I find it fascinating to watch a piece evolve and change shape throughout my practice.

This class was particularly interesting because it encouraged everyone to think differently in a few ways.  Instead of working on a square tile, we played with a round shape.  Rather than using larger sections within a string, we filled in tiny areas.  Then I invited the participants to play with patterns that they already knew in different ways to stretch comfort zones creatively.  

Many of the students were used to the pattern Flux with leaves building upward creating a stem.  To fill our smaller areas and to create some fun interest in contrast to our geometric patterns, I invited everyone to use a randomized version of Flux with the leafy shape strewn about the section without a stem.  This idea posed a little bit of a challenge because it meant tweaking how they had learned the pattern.

The results were fantastic, and this exercise encouraged everyone to think about a pattern in a new way.  Maybe with a little practice, they will feel comfortable playing with this pattern in the traditional and random way and then take it to even new directions that I haven't considered.  

I love how we can take patterns that we know and create regularly and mix them up to see what they can do.

Which patterns do you like to take for a test drive to see how they handle?

The center design featuring Onomato was inspired by Sally Houghton, CZT.  I loved her interpretation on her blog and just had to use it (with her permission).

So Relaxed

I recently taught a large class at the Peabody Institute Library in Danvers.  Despite my cold and raspy voice, I did my best to provide my usual energy and enthusiasm for the Zentangle® method.

At the end of the lesson, a lovely woman told me that she felt "so relaxed."  I love how this method allows people to find a few minutes in the day for themselves to reclaim some peace, sanity, or focus.  Even with a large class and my scratchy voice, the magic of the Zentangle method still showed through.  Wow.

Check out the beautiful tiles they created!

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.