Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Gommie and I spent three days tangling our hearts out!  Such a wonderful time.  Before we left for our formal Zentangle retreat at Copper Beech Institute in West Hartford, CT, we warmed up a little at home.  I taught her my Zendala tangle/string TWYST.  With some practice, she got it down.

TWYSTing with Gommie

I also flipped through Gommie's sketchbook, which had these wonderful tiles . . . . 

Which I proceeded to blantantly copy!  I don't know the names of the tangles (except Springkle, which is just an enlarged version of the one I usually do)--and I didn't even get the gist of the middle one.  But I like them and will keep practicing.

We headed to Copper Beech midday Friday.  It's the place I attended my first Zentangle class two years ago.  We had a wonderful time--delicious meals (albeit Lenten, so lots of fish, which I don't generally eat), rejuvenating yoga and meditations, a lovely walk to the snow-covered labyrinth, and, of course, the Zentangle sessions.  I especially liked the yoga and meditations, from my first gentle yoga session to the even gentler Restorative yoga session (where you support your poses with cushions and just breathe into them), followed by a lovely tea in the art gallery (with a delicious "Om" blend of cardamom, rose, etc from Culteavo.)  And of course the labyrinth!  Even partially snow-covered, I like the meditative space.  Perhaps especially snow-covered.  No owls this time, though.

There were about 26 of us in the Zentangle retreat.  For the first night, they split the beginners from the more experienced tanglers, with our experienced group doing a black-and-white project working with negative space.  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.  We made canes of our designs and Gommie had the great idea to do a class bead and to share our cane patterns around.  In the afternoon, we experienced 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.  The teacher described the tangles, trying not to name them (though, eventually, she did say flux and pokeleaf.)  It was very similar to something we did at the Zentangle retreat at Kripalu.  See the results in our class mosaic--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 a few breath mediations, including one 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, 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). I have to admit this was not my favorite--with the use of compass and eraser, all that representation and specific orientation, the focus on product over process, and not much repetition of most of the patterns save in the base with meer, nzeppel, and tipple.  We barely finished--you can see I didn't finish the shading or even decorate the mushroom.  Still, I learned some shading suggestions, like working from darks to lights, and picking one side for lights and the other for darks (the teacher arbitrarily does darks on the left and whites on the right.)  And I loved the woodless 6B pencil we got--it's nice and dark and smudges beautifully.

Altogether, it was another wonderful weekend and I look forward to the next year's.

When we got home, Gommie and I continued to tangle, playing with some 3Zs.  I drew a continuous string on six of them and we each went to work.  Here are mine and hers in progress.  See the nice shading on mine?  Yep, 6B!

Happy tangling, Gommie!

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