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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Putting It Together

One of the many things I love about teaching the Zentangle® Method is the way people come together in a creative atmosphere.  Something special happens when everyone learns the same technique and patterns but interprets the information differently.  Each of us is unique, so each person's art will be too.

At a recent staff workshop I taught, I tasked the 17 participants with an ensemble piece.  I cut up 18 small pieces of paper and drew a large "string" to divide up the space.  Each person was asked to complete one section.  When it's done, they will have a framed piece of art to remember the experience and to show that they could create something amazing together.  Talk about teamwork!

I couldn't leave them in the lurch, so I volunteered to fill in the last spot.  

Here is the almost finished version based on one class with me.  I think it looks fantastic.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Growing Gardens

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” 
― Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Secret Garden

I've been in love with creating tangled gardens.  I think they're creative, relaxing, fun, and imaginative.  Last night, I had a wonderful time inviting a group of tanglers into my world of tangled secret gardens.  The class was made up of a few people who have tangled with me as well as several beginners.  We worked on a standard Zentangle® tile to get started with the basics then explored some botanical tangle patterns.  After that, we played with some beautiful toned papers and fun critters to play in the garden.  What fun!

This group has a lot of imagination.  Look at the beautiful gardens they created.  

If you're interested in learning how to grow a tangled garden, check out my upcoming class at the Peabody Institute Library in Peabody on August 26.  Can't make it?  Let's talk about another date that works or a home party.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lovely Letters

This weekend, I took a lettering class with Joanne Sharpe.  I've been inspired by the beautiful lettering that people use in their art and wanted to see if I could learn something new.  It was fun to explore some ways of playing with my own handwriting and a wide variety of markers to create different letter styles.  I especially enjoyed being able to spend the day with fellow CZTs, Elaine and Susan!

Here's my finished letter sampler:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Summer Fun

What's a fun thing to do during summer vacation?  Tangle!

I had a great time tangling with 10 older kids the other day.  Several had had some exposure to Zentangle® art previously, and the hostess had tangled with me before too.

When I have a tangler return for another class, I always make sure I teach some new material--different patterns, relaxation techniques, shading ideas, or other ways to use the art.  There is so much to explore with the Zentangle Method, that it's easy to keep it new and exciting.

We went over patterns that she hadn't learned yet and found some that might be fun to try.  When we talked about the strings we had used in the past, the student suggested we try a "B" this time.  Why not?    Any shape, line, or combination should work as a starting off point, so "B" it was.  We ended up with two large areas and several smaller areas to fill with tangles.

I think the group had a fun time judging by the fact that they all wanted to tangle with me again.  :-)

Didn't they do a fantastic job?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Welcome, Gavin!

I love new babies!  It's so exciting to welcome a sweet little one into the world.  It's amazing to think about the many adventures in store for the entire family.  

This week, I was able to present a ZIA I created for baby Gavin.  I often like to make a tangled nameplate, but since the little guy didn't have a name until he made his grand appearance, I opted to create a different type of piece.  I thought a colorful fire truck might be fun.  

I wish this family all the best and hope that Gavin gives everyone a little sleep sometimes too.  :-)

Friday, August 2, 2013


Do you have heroes?  Whether they fly and wear capes, or they inspire you in some way, heroes are all around us.

One of my inspirational heroes is LeeAnn D.  I adore her flowing botanical tangles and stunning use of color and shading.  Her work is truly awe-inspiring.

I tangled a garden on a blank Zendala tile today.  After seeing one of LeeAnn's recent pieces, I knew I had to get out my colored pencils.  I used my Irojitens for this one.

The pencils are subtle and allowed me to overlap colors to create some more dimension.  I hope the scan captures some of the fun shades.

Thanks to LeeAnn for always providing such amazing inspiration!

Do a Zen Check

I've been very busy lately with work, family, and house projects.  I love to be busy, but sometimes it can get a little crazy around here!

When that happens, I try to find ways to be more mindful.  Since it can be easy to get swept away into the chaos, I have to do a zen check.  I take a few moments to think about what I'm doing and how I feel.  If I feel stressed or like I'm having trouble balancing things around me, I know I need to do some zen work stat!

First step, tangle.  

My mind was racing last night, and I was having trouble winding down for bed.  I grabbed my older Tangle-A-Day Calendar by Carole Ohl.  I never quite finished 2012, but I still love to tangle in it. I got into bed, grabbed a pen (02 this time), and I started tangling on one of the blank pages.  I wasn't thinking or planning what came next.  I just allowed Phicops to spread across the page while I began to relax.  After capping my pen, I fell asleep pretty easily.

When I woke up this morning, I already felt much better and more able to face the day.  I even took a few minutes to finish tangling a present for a friend (pictures coming soon).

Second step, assess.

Tangling is a wonderful way for me to relax in the moment and to find a calm sense of focus.  It makes it much easier to assess my world more realistically without a frantic mind.  Today's assessment allowed me to think of a few things that I could just let go.  It is possible to say "no" or "not now" when the things start to feel like obligations.  Phew, my shoulders are already feeling less tense.

Third step, do it.

After assessing, I make an action plan.  I find lists helpful, and I love to see my progress when I start to cross things off the list.  

The most important step, stay mindful.

The more I can stay mindful in my daily life, the easier it is for me to manage stress.  I love tangling, but sometimes I, too, forget that I can just pick up my pen to find my focus.  I think I will start to leave tiles and pens in a few strategic places around my house as a reminder.  

To balance out this text-heavy post, here are some zen postcards I created for a mindful swap.  All of the patterns had to start with the letters M-I-N-D-F-U-L.  I used chipboard letters as a mask and spritzed Glimmer Mist over the paper to create the background before tangling.  These were very relaxing and fun to create!