Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Dragon Charmer - Jennifer Carson


My tangled portrait of Jen Carson

I'd like to introduce you to one of my heros. Any of you who have written me letters saying things like "You are SO creative. I don't know how you do it all!" - you will be relieved or horrified to know that Jennifer Carson, The Dragon Charmer, does even MORE!! 

Besides chauffering her four sons around to all their activities (that alone would undo me!), she also is working on her degree, writing books, starting a publishing house, sewing and needle-felting amazing fantasy creatures, editing columns in two magazines, writing plays, illustrating, singing, dancing, acting, bringin' home the bacon and fryin' it up in a pan... I'm sure I have forgotten something in that list. As I mentioned, Jen is my hero. Often, when I am faced with a sticky situation, I ask myself "WWJD?" (What would Jen Do?) Unfortunately, the answer is usually more work than I am willing to do. ;-D If you want to read a more accurate description of Jennifer's pathway to fame, be sure to read her Artist Statement.

I'll show you a few of the highlights (in my opinion) of her career(s).  A few years ago, we worked on a Star Wars mural for a Make-a-Wish kid with a nasty brain tumor. We were both so excited to do a Star Wars theme, but had been fantasizing about Ewoks and other cute characters. Stormtroopers, battleships blasting each other... ah well. 
Next time, we'll remember to ask ahead of time. My son, Alex, posed with the murals. You can tell these were done a while ago - my son is still cute and little. And quite the ham.

"Help! My armpit's on fire!   

Jennifer's creatures have changed a lot over the years from really cool felted dragons to every kind of fantasy creature imaginable. And unimaginable. She designs her own creatures and patterns and even dyes her own wool. You can see more of her menagerie at her Etsy store.

One of my favorites, Yuki Frostfoot.
 As for writing, Jennifer's book, To Find a Wonder is a magical adventure with a cast of characters just begging to be stuffed. The illustrations are really gorgeous too, but look what Jen did with the minstrel, Goon, and the dragon, Percival...
 Not enough? Ok, so then she turned it into a play that was performed at the New London Barn Playhouse... Gee, I wonder who made the costumes?
 So now we are getting to the juicey part. Jen decided to start her own publishing company, Pugalicious Press, to release more of her own magical tales, and those of others too, into the ordinary world. She needs to raise $6,000 to print her new book, Hapenny Magick so she has set up a Kickstarter project.

Take a look at the video she made. You can see sketches from the book, a lullaby she wrote, and, of course, Jennifer's gorgeous face!

As you can see, below, she has gotten quite a few pledges! If you click on the image, you will go to the Kickstarter page and you can see all the (highly collectible) items that you can get for your generous pledges. If you decide to pledge an amount that gets you a book, remember that this is a "pre-order" as the books are not printed yet. Personally, I want the $1000 bundle with a couple of those Yuki Yetis thrown in! (But not "thrown" hard. Yuki looks like a real softie.)

Oh, of interest to a lot of you who are teachers... Jen offers teacher guides and activities and even a Knight's Journey Event Kit. And for the rest of you who have patiently read this post all the way through...
A REWARD! Tangles for you! From Jen! Seriously!

Jennifer actually designed these tangles for a book I wrote last year (the one that kind of slipped into a black hole...).  The image I painted of her, at the beginning of this post, was for that book too. Notice the "Dew Drops" on her shirt? Clever, eh? I also drew the Zentangle ("Zendragon"?) combining all three. But I stole the idea from a little sketch that Jen had done.
Anyway, she said I could share them with you all. Even if you don't pledge any money for her book. Really, no guilt at all. I told you, she's my hero. You can even re-post the tangles on your own page and Facebook and Tweet'em and where-ever else you can think of, but PLEASE include the link to Jennifer's Kickstarter Project page, OK?
Now clap your hands and say, "I believe in fairies!"

The Boots!

Eeek! I almost forgot to post the video I took of Sharon Payne's insanely cool, and sorta deadly, Zentangle high-heeled sneakers (aka Boots). (They were mentioned in this post from the CZT training workshop.)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mastering Procrastination

Slept til 10:30.
Only ate the cereal with sugar on the biscuits.
Didn't shower.
Didn't do my homework.
Walked along the ocean... Against the flow of tourists.
Entertained uncharitable thoughts towards the packs of women gossiping instead of looking at the ocean.
Flashed a charming smile at the older gentleman in their wake.
Tried on an obscenely huge pile of artsy clothes.
Bought everything that fit (20% off!).
Had German chocolate cake and iced chai... For lunch.
Bought dark chocolate dipped apricots at the candy shoppe. And some toys I might give the kids for Xmas.
Or not.
Wandered thru art galleries and shops.
Thought I heard the ocean say that I needed a haircut.
Let the salon lady chop off my hair and give me bangs. I kept my eyes closed, but it sounded like a razor blade...?
Stood on the cliff with the wind whipping my new bangs into my eyes.
Had a sudden realization that in all the years I had been coming to Ogunquit for renewal, never once had my (ex)husband ever joined me in my bizarre (?) ritual.
Felt grateful.
Lay in the sun and read 5 chapters of The Lace Reader.
Ate the chocolates.
Spread out all my homework ( the book).
Decided I really, really don't want to redo it.
Tossed everything onto the floor.
Realized the ocean not only wanted me to get a haircut, but also thinks I need a sabbatical. How can I possibly write more books unless I take some time to create things worth writing about?
Decided to blog it. .
Tomorrow... Back home and the To Do lists.
But, first, I may stop to visit Rose at the puzzle store... For a few hours. :-)

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I can't count how many times I have stood on this cliff wondering WHAT I should do with my life. Do you know that feeling? I come here to ask the ocean. Last year, the ocean told me it was time to get divorced. This spring, when I asked, I was eating a dark chocolate dipped apricot. The ocean told me to dye my hair that shade (the chocolate, not the apricot!). So, what's next, oh great watery guru?

Right now, I am sitting in an alleyway next to an awesome bakery. The sun is slinking away and my fingers are getting chilly. I will NOT finish that slice of German chocolate cake and I SHOULD head back to the hotel and get to work on that book since I have to go home tomorrow...

On a less existential tangent, you all will be thrilled to know that I just spent a small fortune on some very (in my opinion) artsy clothes! One jacket even has some Zentangle-ish embroidery on the back! I am trying... Peeling myself off the wall and attempting to stand out... A bit. :-)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meanwhile, Back on the Cliff...

After all that stimulating Zentangle-ish relaxation, I ran away to Maine to hide for a few days. I underestimated the Friday traffic, so 5 hours later, I arrived at my hideaway, exhausted and seriously stressed. I also forgot that any weekend in October is considered a photo opp weekend for tourists and leaf peepers, despite the lack of colorful leaves to peep at. In other words, I am surrounded by more people, and more nationalities, here than I was in Providence! Ah well. When I am thoroughly finished procrastinating, I need to get to work on the book that is due in two weeks. Sounds familiar, eh? But first I will eat some dark chocolate pretzels, stare at the ocean, and upload a few pics for you all...

Friday, October 14, 2011

Tangled Pegs

This is not a craft project. I was going to call this post "Square Pegs" but I realized, we are actually tangled." It is tomorrow already and I am so exhausted i can barely type. It was another amazing day which included meeting new friends- including Sandhya from India and Cindy from Design Originals. Here are a few more pics to show you what you are missing. ;-)

(I'll label stuff when I get home- can't seem to control the pics from my iPhone, sorry)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sneak Away

CZT training is going great. I just snuck away after lunch. I'm getting over a cold and all the talking is making my throat raspy. Eck.

Anyway, I still can't get over just how many people are here! In the photo of the mosaic of tiles, you can see the squares marked out for 100 tiles and it is only half filled. I'll try to take a picture of the board with everyones' tangles in place later. There is also a shot of the tables filled with everyones' artworks - altered books, high-heeled sneakers, fairies... Amazing. And some pics of my heroes, Carol Ohl and Kit Murdoch.

I apologize for the quality of the images. I'm shooting everything on my iPhone so I can blog it as soon as I get a chance.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tangled Rug

The rug in the hotel hallway. Kind of like Cadent... but the "dots" are in the center, right? Oh, now I'll be up late untangling the rug! ;-)

A few hours later....
Yes, it is rather like Huggins, the curvy W2. But there is always a harder way to do things, and don't you forget it! So I used little crosses and dots to make a grid, then connected them with little curvy lines. I'm gonna call it "InProv" since I'm flying by the seat of my pants here. (what the heck does that mean anyway?) here is a philosophical question for you: is it still a tangleation if it uses a different process to create a similar pattern? What is that process called where you create a complex machine to do a simple job? My brain hurts- going to bed!

CZTs in Prov

It took me over four hours to drive to Providence last night! I had forgotten to factor in the holiday weekend traffic. So by the time I finally got here to the Hotel Providence, I was fried. I seem to have picked up a cold too, driving thru Massachusetts... I decide to hide out in my luxurious hotel room, order steak frites, and watch "Bridesmaids". Oh, and I had creme brûlée for dessert too! So there. Totally decadent.

Except for feeling sick, this morning, I felt much better about being here than I did last night. So I finally ventured out into the sunshine. Providence has changed... A lot... Since I lived here... Twenty years ago. Besides the little changes, like new buildings on the skyline, and the highway being replaced by a waterway (they removed the highway and exposed the covered up river- who knew there were gondolas and everything under there!?), and the dangerous downtown now looks like the left bank of Paris... Besides all THAT, the RISD museum has been rebuilt. What used to be a dingy lot and a skinny alleyway staircase between creepy buildings in the hillside, is now a super modern, absolutely gorgeous art museum with some amazing pieces. I, of course, headed to the Egyptian rooms. Those other pretty paintings are nice to soak in as I pass by (OH, is that chandelier a Chihuly? Cool!) But my true love is the really-really old junk. And it kind of IS junk, if you think about it. Some old dead guy's broken spoon handle, his mom's cracked costume jewelry, and a dead bird wrapped in fabric. Yep, junk. Boy do I love it though. I wonder what archaeologists will make of my mom's house, thousands of years from now. She has a basket made from an armadillo's shell. Weird stuff we collect. (And let's not forget the big jar labeled "sliced brains"!)

There is a great new store there too called RISD Works. They'd never heard of Zentangle. And I want to see my books there, since I am an alum and all that.
So I talked with the store manager. Then, having used up all my confidence, I ventured up to Thayer Street to visit the bookstores, eat sushi (while sitting on the green at Brown University), and drank something called "bubble tea" which had tapioca pearls in it.

I have to admit that I am kind of relieved to see so much new stuff here. I have too many old memories tied to this town (met my ex here when were both at Brown). I was 17 years old when I moved to Providence. I changed too much after I got married (while living here). And it was such a strange feeling to sit on the grass watching the kids walk by, expecting to see myself and my friends. Like watching a movie and knowing the ending. You think about what you would tell yourself, warnings and such, encouragement? I guess I wouldn't really change it, because so many good things would never have happened. But I would tell myself to speak up. To stick up for myself.

And now, I'm off to dinner to meet the next batch of CZTs! I am SO excited and nervous!

Location:Mathewson St,Providence,United States

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Drawing on People

Here is an example of how I spent my Saturday...

I tangled people. I thought I would offer an upscale, classy alternative to all the kitschy soccer balls and hearts being offered by my competitors. I got to chat with some very nice people too! My daughter kept visiting my booth for more Lilah Beans. I drew them standing on the tops of her socks and peeking out from under her skirt (ooo lala!), balancing on her kneecaps... I asked if I could draw some peeking out of her nose... (she said no!)

And I ate sweet waffles, apple dumplings, apple crisp, triple Mac and cheese... They should change the name of this fair to the Warner FOOD Festival! There wasn't much foliage to be seen anyway. But the food is fab. If you are hungry, stop by tomorrow.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tangled Stairs, Part 3

Still going! That's a lot of wall to cover...
For this session of wall tangling, I was joined again by Krystin Watts, Bette Abdu, Jodi Ehler, and Alex Bartholomew.

Alex decided to add an Egyptian tangle to the heating pipes.
Jodi started adding shading to her mushrooms.
A close-up of Jodi's Shrooms with shading and Bette's Crescent Moon and Rain - also shaded.
I started adding shading to Valerie Kelley's section.
Working on my Btl Joos and Bumblebat (my logo).
Think we can finish up in one more session? Hmmm.... I'll let you know what date it will be - might be in November. But if you are in the Warner area this weekend for the Warner Fall Foliage Festival, be sure to stop by and take a look. I "plan" to be doing some Zentangle® inspired face painting - we'll see how that works out. If it ends up being one of those "seemed like a good idea at the time" projects, then I may cut my losses and do some more work on the wall. Either way, the Festival is a lot of fun. It completely takes over the town - vendors, dancing, demos, rides, and all the food is local this year. The Foothills restaurant will have a booth with apple dumplings. My mouth is watering just typing that!


Related Posts with Thumbnails