Saturday, May 14, 2016

I Did It!!!

I've had my first Zentangle class!!!!

Last night, five supportive and encouraging friends came over for wine, snacks, and art.  I knew they'd be a comfortable, casual audience, which is why I started with them.  And it was wonderful!

I did spend the day (or, well, the week) planning and worrying and prepping.  I had pre-ordered the kits (with bags, pens, pencils, and tortillons) and bookmarks.  I had made my brochure (with Mama's very important computer and graphic design help.)  I had purchased an easel and large Post-It flip chart.  And I researched other beginner class lesson plans and wrote my own!  Plus I made chex mix and almond cake!


Two people had to cancel last-minute due to illness, including my Deaf friend.  I had learned and practiced various relevant signs (words I don't use in usual conversation, including outline, border, string, shading, pattern, dots, line, circle, gratitude, mindfulness, etc.) but now wouldn't be interpreting myself while I taught.  I hope to be able to have a class for both friends soon.

And so it began.  We did a quick meditation with my singing bowl to set a quieter mood--this was a very chatty bunch, though, so we didn't stay quiet for long!  Which was great because of all the energy and enthusiasm.  I gave them a little of the background--the Zen and Tangle of founder Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas.

Then we jumped into our first tile, the traditional "Z" sting with hollibaugh, shattuck, florz, and munchin.  On reflection, I could have explained each actual pattern or tangle more clearly and perhaps more slowly.  I wonder if I did it too quickly.  Some students had a little more trouble understanding the steps.  Next time, I'll go more slowly and give them more time.  And also do a better job of wandering around (my dining room was a bit tight.)  Also, my pencil and tortillon didn't work very well on the big paper (it didn't really smudge.)  I'll need to get the shadow marker for my next class.  Also, by slowing things down, I could focus on the meditative and mindfulness more.  I did remind them to breathe and not to worry about outcome, but we were so busy laughing and having a good time.  The practice is totally different alone.

Mama and the kids arrived home from dinner out at about that time.  Sis and Bud have been so enthusiastic about Zentangle, getting my certification, and this first class that I let them teach their favorite tangle.  Bud showed the steps of pokeroot and it's twin pokeleaf.  And Sis taught ING.  They were so cute!  And they taught their patterns very well, with lots of encouragement for the class.

The group took a break for cake and wine and discussed the price they would pay for such a class (this one was priced just to cover supplies) and where I could offer classes locally.  My own focus group!

Then the kids stayed for the next tile (after we adults had a wine and cake break.)  It was a triangle on top of a rectangle string which my first teacher used at a retreat.  I taught zander, flux, printemps, and crescent moon. Same challenges as above (plus Bud chatting a lot--my friends were pretty patient and tolerant with the extra help, which I appreciated because I knew how happy the kids were.)  But I did mention some of the variations in shading as well as different ways to do some of the tangles, like flux and hollibaugh.  We looked at how to personalize the borders (with squiggles or little enhancements.)  I gave some tips on connecting tangles across borders.  And I introduced sparkles and auras and drawing behind and shading as part of the design not realism.

And that was the class.  I took some photos of some of the finished tiles.  One of my students had to leave early and another didn't want to show hers.  I think she was a bit discouraged and I wasn't sure what to do for her.  I need to work on that teaching challenge, too (I might choose some easier tangles than munchin next time.)   Maybe one-on-one later.  For the most part, though, I think they had a good time and are enthusiastic about tangling on their own, which is really rewarding.

As you can see, they all had different interpretations of the same tangles--some made tiny patterns, some pressed harder than others, everyone shaded and colored differently.  One (our piano teacher) even added extra tangles, including piano keys--I think she did all 10 on the same tile (lower left corner)!

It was a great start.

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