Monday, May 31, 2010

Art - Soul - Tangled

I just posted over on my other blog about what I did at Art & Soul. If you want to see, go take a look. I'll wait......

So. What do you think? You wish you could play too, eh? Sign ups for next year will probably start this summer! Of course, you could always go to one of the other Art and Souls around the country (or the Greek Islands!?)

I mention that I taught, and sold at Vendor night... Well, since doing the usual thing is not an option no matter how tired I am (whoa - it's 1:54 am right now!?) - I decided to get some t-shirts from Vistaprint with a picture of my book on the back, and then put Zentangles all over the front - for each of us to wear at Vendor Night. And I did that. But then, I thought I'd need something more like an apron to wear in class... with Zentangles ALL over it.

Ah... yeah... that about covers it. I was actually afraid to overwhelm the students. (Tee hee).

I think I need to get my buttkiss into bed before I fall over onto the keyboard. But first (butt first?) I just wanted to say, if any of my new Zentangle-addict-students are reading this: I had a wonderful time meeting you and introducing you to Zentangle. Your wonderful comments (and the fact that nobody snuck out while I wasn't looking) mean an awful lot to me. I hope I will see you all in an advanced class next year! And please do let us all know what you are working on and how the tangling is going.

Art & Soul Recharge

I got home from Art and Soul (Virginia) on Wednesday and crashed into bed. What an exhausting, amazing... exhausting...  experience it was! We drove down with a car packed full of supplies for my classes - I taught two on Thursday, and for Vendor Night on Saturday. Teaching was an incredible experience - the classroom had such a variety of students: artists, crafters, cancer survivors, art therapists, a mom and her teenage daughter... I'd like to make my "show" more portable so I can do more of these retreats. Note to self: not more than one class a day!! I was on from 8:30 that morning til ten that night. I got to talk to so many people and heard the most wonderful comments. I always wish I could bottle them up for when I feel like crap. :-) I also got to take some classes. I always vow that I will make time to do more of whatever I've learned, but... years go by. That's why these retreats are so important to me. They give me enforced time to just concentrate on one thng for a day and immerse myself in the making of things. Here's what I made!

In Carla Sonheim's "Creatures on Wood" class we found creatures lurking in swirls and blobs of watercolor and gesso. I enjoyed swirling and blobbing so much -  I made a whole bunch of panels, but only the cat and the bird are finished.

On Sunday, I took Leighanna Light's "Birds Gone Wild". During lunch, my husband came in and started "suggesting" what I should do with the various pieces of metal. I threw him out and said "Next year, YOU sign up and make your own!" It really was a lot of fun to snip and punch and hammer and then eyelet it all together. My metal junk formed itself into a Witch Owl (I still intend to hang little mousies from its wing), a Love Bird, and, my favorite, the Bird-Bird.

The last class, which my husband DID sign up for, was "Moldmaking 101" with Marcia and Ty Schulz. They were Hollywood prop makers and certainly knew their stuff. We made a ton of press molds which I have done gajillions of already (for polymer clay projects), but we also learned how to make two part molds - like a doll's body. That was really exciting because it's the kind of thing you can see in a book and never try because it looks confusing. But Ty walked us through it with great tips and we all gasped as we pulled our castings out of the rubbery stuff. And we got to use a casting resin too. The possibilities are endless (sigh - something else I NEED to play with!).

This first photo shows the two-parter on the left and the push mold on the right. The castings, in the middle, had the feel (but not the weight) of porcelain. While pouring the liquid rubber (for the 2-part mold), scenes of Star Wars and Han Solo flashed through my mind as the black stuff flowed over the dolls face. Creepy!

This second photo shows the originals on the far left and far right and the castings in the center. The originals had been cast with plaster and were very delicate and had many flaws and air pockets. I was able to fill the flaws with clay, so the castings were lovely and smooth. When they come out of the mold, they are still a bit flexible and you can cut parts off or make holes, etc. Then they harden up.

Oh such fun!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tangle of the Week - Tasket

A week or so ago - when I posted my Zentangles from my Middle East trip - I described my adventure in figuring out the steps to drawing the basket on the ship's deck. I asked if anyone could figure out the steps for "TASKET" from my sketchy clues. Sandra Strait did it!!
Easy-peasy, eh? And in typical Sandra Strait-style, she went one better and designed a fancy new version called "HYTINGU." (Sandra, can you post where the name comes from? Inquiring minds want to know!!)

I drove myself crazy with this one because I kept seeing it as some slanted form of Keeko. But it wasn't until I turned my head and squinted at it in frustration that I actually saw the zig-zag structure!! The zig-zags are almost completely disguised by the time all the lines are drawn. I think this is the real challenge of designing a new tangle. How do you break it down into 6 or less simple steps? it can be really tough. There are a bunch of beautiful, complex patterns that I came across while working on THE BOOK - that I gave up on. They had to be drawn or sketched, not built. When I get back from VA, I may post some and see what you all make of them! If they make your brains melt trying to figure out the steps... well, I will feel a lot better! Tee-hee.

Oh, and before I run off again, I wanted to remind you to take a look at Sandra Strait's sites (she has a bunch of great tangles in "Totally Tangled" as well!)  Her Flickr albums are amazing! the one titled "Zendoodles" has over 600 images! Yowza. And her blog Life Imitates Doodles has lots of links and tangle instructions too. If you have been wondering about how to use color in your Zentangles, Sandra does it expertly!

Summer Classes in The Belfry

Here's the list of classes for this summer... so far! I am actually leaving for Art & Soul in Virginia on Tuesday and I'll be gone a week. So Etsy and Amazon stores are in Vacation Mode. I'll let you know when I am back. I hope I sell a ton of books and stuff in VA. I am also insanely excited about teaching and am running about in a mad panic trying to get all the "parts" together! I have an all-day class on Thursday - AND an evening class and that terrifies me too. I plan to sleep most of Friday! If anyone reading this lives in the Hampton, VA area, be sure to come to the Vendor Night on Saturday evening and say "Hi!"  I also plan to teach a class or two in Sunapee, NH in July, and if I can get my sister to help me out - I'd like to do a class in Bar Harbor as well (July). Anyone up there in maine?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

BIG Zentangle

This morning I finished doing a Zentangle for the wall of the new Artisans Workshop store on Sunapee Harbor (NH). The wall had old tan-ish paint, with a bunch of nail holes! I did not despair! I made use of the tan color to make my white painted highlights "pop" from the wall. And I turned all the nail holes into little flowers with black centers.

Artisans will be carrying "Totally Tangled" and they plan to have some Zentangle classes in the shop this July. If you are in the area, the shop should be open in two weeks - take a look at my wall!

Book Signing Party! After Effects

We had a GREAT party on Friday night - 8 artists were there signing books. Kayla West, SherRee's daughter - catered the event and even put Zentangles on the cupcakes!
I put lots of photos of the event up on Flickr if you would like to see:

There was total insanity for a little while as books went flying around the room. Eventually, we came up with some kind of a system (thanks Jean!). In case anyone ever does this sort of thing in the future... when a customer handed a book to one of us, we would sign it and put a sticky on the cover with the customer's name and our own initials below. Each artist would sign it and add their initials. It made it easy to see who was missing from the book. Most of us shortened our names after the first few signatures! But Casey always signed her full name and added tangles to her name in lots of different colors. Amazing kid! I got my daughter, Lilah, to sign a few copies too. But she wanted to color in her designs and add to them, so it got kind of messy! And a 3 y.o. with a Sharpie is a terrifying thing in my eyes. But I am willing to bet that she is the youngest, published Zentangle artist EVER! So go take a look at the photos and please leave comments!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Blame it on the Antibiotics... part 2

When I read Rena's comments on my last posting, my initial instincts were to just delete the whole post. But then I realized that would also delete her comments. And that seemed wrong. The correct thing to do is to just apologize: "Rena, I am sorry. You are completely correct in your reply. I did not mean to accuse you of anything and I agree with you on your statements about Zentangle and patterns and everything." Rena's response to my inner-middle-child whining was not only a very positively written reality check, but a really interesting biography. I won't try to explain what led up to the post - it's irrelevant - just that I shouldn't have taken my feelings out on another person. Again, I really am sorry.

It is interesting how, when we know we have done something wrong, the Universe has a way of punishing us - or perhaps, allowing us to punish our selves? I was driving home today on I-89 from the dentist's where I had just had a filling replaced. Half my face was numb and as I drove along, I was thinking about what to say as response to Rena and also to my sister who is very angry and hurt that I did not discuss my feelings about a trip to India this fall that I decided not to take. As I drove along, I noticed a big, black pickup truck with a ladder on top coming up the on-ramp. I moved to the left lane as it merged onto the highway. I started to return to the right lane, but the truck had not yet sped up, so I stayed where I was.  All of a sudden, the large, metal ladder FLEW off the top of the truck and swung around into the left lane. As it hit the road it spun like a merry-go-round all over the lanes. I swerved toward the break down lane to try to avoid it, but the truck had pulled over when it realized it had lost its ladder. As I tried to avoid the truck, the spinning ladder hit my left wheel (which has a weird brown burn mark now). All this took three seconds, but as I passed the truck and realized I was OK, it also hit me that if I had pulled back into the right lane behind the truck when I normally would have ... well, that ladder would have gone straight through my windshield. Perhaps it's a good thing my head was already numb. But now, as I write this, the numb is gone and my tooth is throbbing and I realize it will be a bit difficult to focus on my work right now. And, as is my habit, I tend to think too much. And so, in an attempt at an apology to my sister, who says I don't tell her what I'm thinking, here are my thoughts...

In general, I tend to keep my true opinions to myself. You know the saying about Square Pegs and Round Holes? Well, I'm not even a "peg" never mind a round one. I've always felt like Gonzo (the Muppet!) - tolerated as the kind-of-cute, eccentric, artsy creature who adds a little color, but the one that nobody really pays much attention to. I don't mean this as a self-pity thing - I've worked hard to blend into the woodwork! But all of a sudden, people are listening to me! You all are reading my blog, taking my classes and reading my books! It is very exciting and horrifying at the same time. Does this make any sense to anyone? I feel like I have to be "ON" all the time. I have to be more careful what I say and suddenly I am a role model. Me? I think I mention in the book that I am such a severe introvert that the test I took didn't have a number high enough to rate me. :-)

At the book signing party on Friday (which was great by the way) there was a really shy girl whose mother said she had just stumbled across Zentangle the week before and had brought some sketches to show me. They were good, a sampler of tangles and such. But the girl turned pale under her freckles when her mother went on to tell me that she suffered from anxiety and her therapist had been thrilled to hear about Zentangle and how it was helping the girl. I think I shocked the girl when I looked at her and said "That's how I discovered Zentangle too. I suffered from really bad anxiety and panic attacks and tangling helped me feel calmer." Talking to her reminded me why I felt I needed to step away from my comfortable, shadowy, safe wall and start teaching people how to do this tangling thing. I realized that so many of us have that "Gonzo" part - whether it's the shame of feeling out of control, or thinking we aren't creative. We get tied up telling ourselves our own "story"- "I can't do this because when I was a kid..." And you can spend all the time you want telling yourself positive affirmations... but when you actually DO something that proves to you that you were wrong - and you can look at it and realize being wrong can actually be a really good, freeing thing - then you can write a new story and change your reality (and freak people out around you!)

And THAT is what Zentangle does. It constantly reminds you that what you are thinking is less important than what your hand is showing you. Its not even really about art. It's a feeling of AHA! and it's kind of more spiritual. You not only see patterns all around you, but you start to notice PEOPLE around you who desperately need to know this AHA! thing too. I think that is why the whole concept of Zentangle has been spreading like wildfire in the past year.

So this long-winded ramble is my explanation. I kind of want to remind people that I'm still me, Sandy, but I'm rewriting my "story", stepping away from my "wall", reaching out to people, trying to speak up, and making completely new mistakes. I do appreciate people correcting my mistakes and I hope everyone remembers that it is NEVER my intention to hurt anyone's feelings no matter what stupid blunder appears on the surface. My husband will probably say I shouldn't have posted this... but the pain in my tooth has stopped and I am going to interpret that as a sign from the Universe that my apology has been accepted. ;-D

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Blame it on the antibiotics...

I might possibly regret blogging this... but I can't help it, it's just my weird personality. I can't imagine that I will be able to sell the last 10 copies of Cloth, Paper, Scissors with my November 2009 Zentangle article... BUT you NEED to know that Quilting Arts (publisher of CPS Mag.) has my article available as a free download from their site. You just need to sign up as a member (free). This is great news especially for the overseas folks who have to pay $10 just to ship the whole freakin' magazine, when all they want is one article.

Speaking of the article, in the category of "Imitation=Flattery?"...  I was perusing the site for Art Unraveled - another art retreat a bit like Art & Soul - when I found this class called "Zenhancements." I am assuming the teacher was influenced by my journaling article in CPS since her center sample, "Freehand Nude" has two tangles from my article's example "Stuff on My Desk." The calendar tangle and the stacked wood tangle are in the background. I was a little surprised to see someone teaching this, but I shouldn't be so naive, I know. When I thought about it a bit longer, I realized I was actually more surprised that the show co-ordinator had accepted the class proposal. I know that Art & Soul asks us to verify that we are teaching our own techniques and projects - or that we have permission from the originators. With Zentangle, that means being a CZT. But, perhaps, by creating her own new technique name, she was able to get around the issue. I don't know. But if anyone is taking this class at Art Unraveled, could you get back to us and let us know what the class was like? I am terribly curious!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Tangle of the Week - Journal Page

I know I need to make up for quite a few weeks without Tangles! So here is the page from my journal where I recorded some of the great patterns I found:
We saw a lot of churches - especially in Paris - with amazingly complicated stained glass windows and iron work. In Israel - it was the mosaic work... and in Cyprus too - amazing mosaics. The funny thing is that most of the beautiful patterns from the mosaics are already "Zentangle" patterns. Hmmm... :-)

The pattern on the far right, 2nd down, was from the towel basket on the sundeck of our boat. I got a little... obsessed with figuring it out! The first try, I based on "Keeko", but drew it with more diagonal lines. But it wasn't right. Second try... not even close. But then I turned my head and squinted my eyes and noticed the zig-zag underlying pattern. The diagram on the bottom row, 2nd from the right, shows how I worked it out. Can you figure it out? Tee hee.

Also notice the four different patterns based on a simple fish scale design. One squares the scales, one points them (and adds little circles), one turns them into rainbows, and the simplest one, just stretches them.

When I get all my photos organized, I'll post some more of the great patterns and I'll sketch out some steps for them too.

Book Signing Party! (this Friday!)


You are invited!
Totally Tangled Book Signing Party

Six of the artists who have work in this book will be available for signing, as well as Sandy. See artwork, ask questions, enter a raffle, eat tasty snacks by Kayla.

Please come and bring your friends. Call 456-3515 for more info.


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