Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dish it up...

This has been a weekend for projects.  I worked on my dissertation topic some more and am in another waiting phase for feedback from my mentor.  So what do I do while I'm waiting?  I tangle, of course!

I am not sure how I ended up with so many projects at one time, though.  Well... yes I do, too.  I started one several weeks (months?) ago and found a spurt of inspiration last week with some new tangles to try.  And then, a friend approached me today about donating a couple of "art" plates to a local silent auction/fund raiser for our local AIDs awareness and treatment non-profit organization. (By the way, it's called Upper-Savannah-Care-Services-Dishing-It-Out-In-Greenwood if anyone wants to take a look).  He said, "Your Zentangle (R) stuff would be really cool.  So - after running around to a few stores for white plates and a paint pen, I sat down this afternoon and whipped up a couple of plates.

First of all, tangling with a paint pen can be frustrating.  I could not find an ultra fine pen so I had to settle for fine.  Also, the tip dries pretty quickly so you have to keep shaking and priming it. However, the quick dry part is good for larger pieces so you don't run your hands through it.

One of the plates I chose was a Corelle pattern that already had a "string" on it!  I didn't add any additional strings to this one... I just tangled where I felt like it - letting on pattern melt into another.  Another issue with paint on a surface like corelle or china is that shading is not really an option.  So the depth I might get  by shading didn't happen.  Here's a shot of my progress about 1/2 way through...

And here's the finished product:

That one was so much fun that I decided to do another.  This was a square salad size plate with an inch border:  I used a Tombow gray marker to create my string then tangled it like the first one:

This one is oriented correctly

This one flipped clockwise when I uploaded it!
And here are both plates ready for the auction!  Well - almost.  I have to spray them with a poly coat first...

Another project that is nearly completed is my "envisioning" piece.  I took the 3" tiles and traced them randomly on a large 16x20 cotton fiber paper.  I drew a string behind all of the tiles and tangled the spaces as I felt led.  Some tangles were chosen because of their "elemental" meaning - droplets and waves for water, florz, and knightsbridge for their foundation/earth feel - others were chosen because they represent something important to me - the scrolls represent my degree completion, jetties always look like bouncy-balls so they represent my grandson, etc. And Abbe Road (among others) reminds me of my anam cara, MaggieKat.  All of these things are important in my life and in my vision of my future life of abundant joy and well-being.  Now I need to search for the right words or images to add in the tile spaces.  I hope someone else will take a chance on some Z.I.A. (zentangle inspired art) and envision their own perfect self.

Initial draft from my sketchbook
Just need to add my visions now!
OK... one more.  I wanted to try the new tangle Tuftid on Linda Farmer's Tangle Patterns site. I tend to tangle at times when I have to be quiet or still - neither of which are easy for me.  So - I typically start a tangle during church (I know people wonder what on earth I'm doing, but I think I'm less distracting when I tangle than when I fidget!).  Here's Tuftid and friends:

Happy Tangling!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Challenge #36 Assunta

This week's challenge is definitely challenging!  Assunta is a tangle created to celebrate Zentangle co-creator, Maria's, 60th birthday. (Happy belated birthday, Maria!) To add to my stress (wait - this isn't supposed to be stressful!) - uh - challenge I added MaggieKat's AbbeRoad - well - I tried to.  I am going to work on both of these some more.  I like them but I am a little daunted by them.  To "round" things off I added Fricle - another newer offering by Julie Evans, CZT plus a couple of tried and true favorites.

Happy Tangling!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Challenge-ing week

So I really loved the tile-in-tile challenge for this  week.  I actually created two tiles early on.  I didn't scan or upload either one.  Maybe later.  Or not.  I don't care.

The real challenge for this week has been acknowledging that I am getting old.  My body just cannot do as much as it used to.  I can't chase  a 16-month old little boy, worry and care for his mom's post-operative needs, eat sporadically ( if at all), while dwelling on whether or not someone will decide that my job is superfluous before I get back without my body and my psyche screaming at me.  Despite my most enlightened efforts I still care way too much about things I cannot control.  I care about not being important enough to those who are most important to me.  I care way too much about my often-rigid rules of "do unto others."   The thing is - no one has done anything wrong, overt, or even remotely out of character for me to feel this way right now.  It is all a manufactured construct of my own doing.  But that is what happens when that insecure part of me forgets to breathe and forgive myself for whatever keeps me insecure.

Sometimes I have to just let go of expectations that my (rigid?) expectations will actually turn out the way I planned. Sometimes I have to accept that I absolutely cannot be everywhere for everyone and that the consequences to my choices means that I may miss out on some memory-making moments.  When I give in to that sort of thinking, I taint what could have been a sweet, companionable time of just "being with" those I love. What I tend to end up with is a plateful of resentment, longing, or a sense of loss.

So... here's what I'm going to do.  I'm going to follow Martha Beck's advice.  Right now... today... this very minute I am choosing to love more by caring less.  I will practice daily (hourly?...minute-by-minute?) by letting go of conditions that I place on relationships, of expectations that keep me disappointed and insecure.  I will ask for others' opinions and defer to the choices and wishes of others when necessary - negotiation and compromise are a part of healthy relationships that have nothing to do with conditional or unconditional love. I will no longer make my relationships contingent upon my "if only" conditions.  So if you hear me say "I don't care," what I mean is that I simply and unconditionally just love you.  (That goes for my little insecure self, too.)

None of us can predict which choice will bring us the most satisfaction or pleasure or gain.  I accept and allow that I will continue to make choices that are as well thought out as I can manage and that I will continue to blow it more times than I can probably count. That goes for everyone and everything else in my life, too.  I will not hold others to a different standard than I hold me.  I accept and allow that what is just simply "is" and move on.  I will love more by caring less about others' choices, what others' think about me, what has happened in the past or may come in the future.

So love me or not... accept me or not... agree with me... or not.  I lovingly, honestly, and simply do not care.

"Every experience in my life has shaped me to be where I am at this very moment.  I am exactly who I am supposed to be."  Dr. Darren R. Weissman


Saturday, August 13, 2011

More Opposites...

Hmmmm... I can't seem to stop.  This was a fun challenge with many possibilities for opposites.  I used a straight string - my initials (hence the title of the piece "initial response" - which it wasn't but...) and curvy tangles.  But I also used black on white and white on black.  What fun.  I kind of like how it turned out.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Challenge 34

I'm still figuring out all of the ins and outs of posting my blogs and making then accessible.  I am really enjoying looking at all of the variations of the challenge themes each week.  I especially like how we are all at different levels of techniques and craftsmanship but how each tile is so uniquely beautiful.  I initially discarded my early attempts at this week's challenge.... I never really finished either one.  However, I rethought this and decided to post them anyway...

Well... not sure why the second one uploaded sideways... but you get the picture!

Have a good weekend, y'all.  Can't wait to see what next week's challenge will bring!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Opposites Attract

Oh... yes they do.  I'm living proof in so many ways!

It's been an interesting week that has included a mental health day where I did nothing but watch some DVR'd TV, lurked around on facebook, and was (negatively) inspired to write a piece in this space on leadership. (you can find it in the side bar if you're interested in reading rants).  I also tangled.  A lot. It was a good day.

This week's guest challenge by Christina (stART) encourages us to use either a curvy string or a straight string and fill it with the opposite tangle patterns.  I loved the challenge so much I jumped right in...and hated both of my first attempts (one of each).  That's what happens when I try to control the outcome of my tiles!  Those two are not included here.  I took a step back and just let the idea of opposites roll around in my head for awhile.  A much better plan...

 I like the first one better...

I discovered something while working on this challenge.  Previously, Diva challenged us to use all straight tangles and then another one we used all curvy ones.  I remarked then that I like the combination of straight and curvy - the yin and yang of using both types in a tile or larger piece. In this challenge, the struggle to stick with one form of tangle became even more apparent even though we were using both curves and angles.  I think it is obvious that parts of the tiles are very contrived - I needed one more of whichever type I was using to finish instead of just flowing with whatever came to me.

So last night during choir practice (shhhh... don't tell my husband, the director) I drew a very swirly string and straight patterns just started filling the spaces.  Except for one.  And I won't point it out but I don't like it and will probably not use it again.  However, I believe we have to stretch and explore areas with which we are not always so comfortable.  So here is "choir practice."

Keep stretching!  Keep tangling!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

In my humble opinion...

which usually prefaces a statement that really means "I'm right and you're a dunderhead!"  I recognize that not everyone shares my sometimes skewed thought processes so I offer my opinions with the full knowledge that some might disagree.  That's cool.  I don't mind discourse and debate - just as long as we can agree to disagree without rancor or name-calling.

The current climate in our country - maybe even across the globe - is full of disagreement and disagreeable people.  There is no discourse or debate.  "If I want your opinion I'll give it to you."  But I'm not going to discuss the current economic crisis, the Tea Party-ers, or the rabid "platform only - who cares about the people" politics.   I'm not even going to discuss religion versus spirituality, although I certainly have opinions about all of that.

As an aside I've decided that I'm not completely left, socialist, anarchist, or new age. I am most definitely not a right wing, fundamentalist, religious zealot. But I'm not a moderate, either.  I think I'm a hybrid.  I believe in Christian principles yet I refuse to align myself with what is being passed off as Christianity today.  I think if Jesus were here (physically - not going to get into the "he's always with us" debate) today I  think he'd be doing more than weeping.  I think he'd be leading the revolution against those who insist on perpetrating violence and hate in his name! I believe that he'd be knocking a few heads together and saying "Stop it - go sit in your corner and don't come out until you can play nice in the sandbox!"  The sad thing is that the very people to whom this might be addressed will automatically assume it's directed elsewhere.  That's part of the problem - no accountability.  No personal responsibility.  Ah well... time to move in a different direction.  I'm feeling my blood pressure rise.

Today I am thinking about leadership and what it does not mean.  So many in leadership positions seem to believe that in order to lead they have to be above those they lead.  Whether that is a physical, fiscal, emotional, or philosophical position, the divide is obvious.  The chasm is wide and getting wider.  Whatever the industry, many of those who rise to power positions tend to forget in short order from whence they came.  I am being very careful not to use "always" or "never" language because I know some of the exceptions to the norm.  Thankfully.  But I also know some folks who epitomize this as well.  Some figures are well known - politicians, religious leaders, CEOs of major corporations (especially financial and energy corporations).  Some are lesser known folks who circle around my own little, tiny world.  Some of these "leaders" are well respected on the surface.  They have an uncanny knack for making people believe that they actually care about them.  However, if you sit back and observe...just watch and listen... you see the smile never goes beyond the lips.  The words of encouragement and support are never deeper than the veneer on your counter top.  Little is done or said or felt that is not carefully calculated and, in some way, self-serving.  Yet followers lap up the little doses of attention and feel special when the leader knows their names.  They feel blessed and important - called to a higher cause - all because of the leader's charisma and charm.

Am I just being cynical?  Are you thinking, as you read this, "oh... she's been passed over or ignored by someone and is feeling jealous"?  Maybe you're right.  Maybe I'm not as self-aware as I like to believe.  Maybe I really am paranoid and spinning my own version of conspiracy theory.  Ok... I really don't think so. I'm not crazy and I'm not paranoid, and I am certainly not jealous.  I am sad.  I am saddened by the fallout that happens to friends and colleagues when they try to stand up to this sort of tyranny and get slapped down; are told to sit down and shut up.  I am mostly sad that this has made most of us afraid. Many of us who do have something to say, something to offer, some vision of a way to peacefully coexist and improve our lives and surroundings sit silently by as our world - personal or global - turns to crap because we abhor confrontation and are afraid of being the lone voice of reason amid the cacophony of hateful shouting.  We have seen what happens to profits and decide the risk is too great to jump in front of the train.

Most of us just want to lead quiet, comfortable, and content lives - making a difference where we can and living simply with those we love close by.  Is that really too much to ask?  Is it too much to ask that our leaders - political, religious, and corporate - take off their blinders and see how much easier their jobs would be if we moved forward to a true sense of collaboration instead of backwards to the feudal system of old?

There's a leadership curriculum that I had the good fortune to teach a few years ago that endorsed that the only way to be a true leader is to adopt a servant leader attitude by collaborating with every level of the work force and involving every mind.  By recognizing that everyone within an organization is a leader in some way and by looking to them for solutions instead of seeing the workforce as a liability increases buy-in and loyalty.  Fear is not the way to lead.  Fear is not the way to get the best out of people.  Fear manifests as prejudice, ignorance, and hate which leads to anger which leads to violence which leads to - fear.  It is a perpetual spiral into the darkness we are feeling  so keenly in every single pore of our existence.

My friend, Tiehead, is a creator.  He is also a leader-extraordinaire.  His voice has been silenced a few times but he tends to challenge the thinker (the non-thinker doesn't get his stuff!) to rise about the mundane and tired/tried methods into the clouds of risk and innovation.  He is my hero.  I cannot imagine that he would ever sell out his colleagues for self-preservation.  I want to clone him.  Yet only as his alter-self can he utter his own musings with total candor.  His "known" persona (I won't say "true" because I think his "alter" is his "true" self most of the time) tends to use metaphors and mirrors in order to make a point.  I don't think it's fear, per se, but maybe some trepidation that he'd anger the "leaders" who can't see past their own shoelaces.  Yet, he does challenge us to think beyond the confines of our small boxes in ways that could possibly make those who want to keep us in those boxes very uncomfortable.  I like it.  I appreciate it and wish I had more of his chutzpah!

Was there a point to all this musing?  There was when I started.  I'm not sure I remember what it was. Oh yeah... this rambling was really a not-so-clever attempt to share my thoughts about the predicament into which another one of my friend's has landed.  I've carefully tried to paint my opinions and comments with very broad strokes to avoid making this too obvious.  I've probably succeeded in being too obtuse.  Oh well.  This is mostly for my own enjoyment anyway.  I have no grand delusions that I actually have a readership!  However, should you read this and recognize yourself or someone else - please feel free to comment.  No matter on which side of the aisle you find yourself sitting.  And while you're at it - say a prayer or send up positive thoughts and energy that more people like Marianne Williamson, Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Louise Hay, and Tiehead will continue to emerge from the shadows and speak words of peace and wisdom.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Dream Catcher

Dream Catchers originated with the Ojibwe (Chippewa) but has been adopted by and adapted into other Native American cultures.  Dream Catchers draw in good dreams while pushing nightmares through the open spaces, thus protecting babies from restless nights.

The more I thought about Pendrills and my first attempt with this wonderful pattern, I started seeing dream catchers everywhere.  I had to give it another go.  So, this one is for my sweet grandson.  Sweet Dreams!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Challenge #33 Pendrills

I just need to say that my homemade chocolate zucchini bread is to die for!  Ok... now that's out of the way, on to tangling.

This week the challenge is to use a new tangle pattern by Rick and Maria, founders and creators of Zentangle,  I have looked at a lot of the other takes on this design and am in awe of the various ways Pendrills has been used by others.  I'm still not that comfortable with it but I am going to share what I've done anyway.  I wanted to make it stand out in my finished tile...I'm not sure I accomplished that.  Oh well.

I practiced awhile last night with branching off in multiple directions and turning the piece.  I kept ending up with something that looked like a dream catcher... so I drew a dream catcher!  great... I'm having scanning issues.  Maybe dream catchers are like faeries... you can't capture them by camera or scanner, it seems.  If I figure it out, I'll post it later.  Anyway - this is my first attempt at using Pendrills in a tile format

I like parts of it but I like my finished tile better.

I'll post more later when I am feeling less technically frustrated and less disjointed.  Mercury in retrograde seems to be messing with me more than usual!  

Happy tangling!

Oh - here's the best I can do on the dreamcatcher... sigh