Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Another Zentangle Retreat

My mom and I attended a Zentangle retreat this weekend at Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford, CT.  It's the place I attended my first Zentangle class two years ago.  We had a wonderful time--delicious meals, rejuvenating yoga and meditations, a lovely walk to the snow-covered labyrinth, and, of course, the Zentangle sessions with Meredith Yuhas, Janet Valencis, and Beth Malley, all Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZTs.)

They split the beginners from the more experienced tanglers on the first night, with my experienced group doing a black-and-white project working with negative space, led by Beth.  I liked the results.

On Saturday, we did two more projects, both tangential to pen and paper tangling.  With Janet, we explored the use of polymer clay to created tangled beads, basing our designs on such tangles as Printemps and Tipple.  With Beth, we learned to Zenquility, or paper quilling.  We used basic flowers with coils and teardrops as the start of a Zendala or other tile.  I especially enjoyed this, seeing the possible applications in Zendalas.  Quilling is much like 3D tangling.

I really liked our session Saturday evening, which was a guided meditation with verbal cues for the tile.  See the results--similar yet so individual!  I can't wait to try this kind of meditation in one of my advanced classes.  Over the course of the weekend, we did another meditation with Meredith, a breath meditation called Four Corners or Box meditation--you draw a box slowly, with the verticals and horizontals representing the exhales and inhales.  We also did the Breath of Joy--three inhales and then an explosive "ha!"

Our class mosaic from the meditation

Our last session, with Meredith, was a very complex terrarium, using some Zentangle patterns and sophisticated Renaissance shading in browns, blacks, and whites.  The result is a Zentangle-inspired art work (ZIA).  My favorite part was the tips on pencils she gave us--softer ones for fibrous papers.  Here, the woodless 6B creates nice dark shades that smudge beautifully.

It was another wonderful weekend and I look forward to the next year's!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tangles in a TWYSTY: Experiments in Freestyle Zendalas

I love Zendalas, a circular, symmetrical mandala drawn using the Zentangle method of mindfulness and simple, repetitive patterns.

I especially like free-style Zendalas, not ones that require precise measuring, pre-printed strings, or a stencil.  I want to draw them free-hand, freestyle.   For me it encapsulates the meditative aspect of Zentangle and the focus on "no mistakes."  Using compasses, stencils, or pre-strung tiles, takes some of the creativity out of it for me.  Precisely-measured Zendalas also entice me to stress the perfection of the product over the process.  I find that free-style Zendalas are all about process--slowly drawing the center and working out from there.  True, it's never perfectly symmetrical or balanced; my tangles are usually somewhat off-center.  But I love practicing freestyle Zendalas. So I've been experimenting with central patterns that can easily be expanded symmetrically.  I fiddled with various tangles, as you can see here (and earlier, here).  All were drawn freestyle.




And then I happened upon a new one to me.  I'm calling it TWYSTY.  It's a combo between a four-petal flower, a labyrinth, and a celtic knot. Or two figure-8s or infinity signs intertwined.  Completed, it looks like this (with the addition of some tangles):

1.  Draw "rice" or "petal" shape.  May be pointed or rounded.
2.  Add as many rice shapes as desired, odd or even number.

3.  "Hug" two rice shapes together with a curved line.
 (Or you can make the line come to a point, see example #9 below.)
4.  "Aura" the hug, connecting the tips of the rice.
The first part of the TWYSTY is completed.

5.  Draw behind or "hollibaugh" to create more hugs.
6.  Repeat until all pairs are connected.

7.  Complete as desired.

8.  Here is another TWYSTY Zendala.

9.  Another TWYSTY, this time with more orb-like "rice" shapes and slightly pointed circles.

10.  Another TWYSTY variation:  for this one, after completing steps 1-6 above, add a "rice" shape between the existing ones (adding, essentially, NE, SE, NW, and NE to the compass) and repeat the aura-ing and hollibaugh-ing of the TWYSTY circles.

Friday, March 3, 2017

More Tangles!

Mooka, quipple, nipa, diva dance, flux, msst.

Zander, huggins, heartrope, bannah, zensplosion.

What a night we had!

The class was small, but this allowed lots of one-on-one discussion.  And the students chose several of the tangles that they learned.  We also played with gelly roll pens.

I will be teaching another More Tangles! class in a few weeks.  We'll do even more tangles, not repeating the ones here.  Should be great fun!