Adventures in Zentangles

I’ve never tried this til now.  In a project for work, we needed to create a few of these with the idea that zentangle doodles could be used for stitches or for machine quilting.

Drawing zentangles is a simple process from what I can decipher, though  I think it is supposed to be meditative. For me, it’s doodling with a purpose. Here are a couple of my zentangles, but if you are interested visit to find out more.

How crazy are these things?  The good news is that I don’t think I would ever sit down by myself to draw this way. Ever. Basically, you draw a squiggle line on a piece of paper and begin to doodle around the edges, letting yourself just flow with whatever line formation comes to mind.  If you feel like tiny small squiggles, great. If you feel like giant bold strokes, OK too. Miraculously, eventually, patterns emerge and no matter where I started, I was surprised by the ending.

Despite my original skepticism, I did find it calming. Like any repetitive task, it required just enough concentration to stay focused, but not so much as to cause frustration. And in a world where I spend very little time completely focused on one small task, it’s a refreshing exercise. In the end, I’ve created…well, I don’t know what I’ve created–something unusual from my hand and my brain.  Good enough for me!

Opening Our Eyes

Sometimes, I find the most stunning beauty right in front of my nose. Often enough, I’m sure I miss the moment, preoccupied with the trivialities of the day, the busyness of life. But every now and then a moment sticks, and I’m able to transfer, if not the actual beauty of a thing, than at least my interpretation of something I once thought was beautiful.

I thought I’d share a couple of landscape quilts. The first was from several years ago.  I seem to have an ongoing fascination with trees.   Living in the midwest, trees, sky and grasses are our landscapes. So that’s my focus. Occasionally, we’re lucky enough to find a bluff, or even a small hill, usually near a river. As much as I try to let abstractions come through, I still have a tendency toward realism. I’m working on it.

Last year, I met some friends for coffee in a coffee shop in a small town nearby. Quaint, cozy and lovely.  As I waited for them to show, I gazed out the window at the chilly November view.  I did a little sketch on the notepad I had with me.  That sketch turned into this wall hanging. (yes, those are my toes at the bottom)

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with Spoonflower. If you haven’t checked out this website, you really should. What a hoot.  You can download any graphic or photo and turn it into fabric —  a fatquarter, a yard or 10 yards, depending on what you want to pay.

I printed up a couple of yards of this fabric. If you look closely, you’ll see that this is actually a B/W picture of reeds and their reflection in a very calm lake. The graphic on the fabric makes a wonderful nature-inspired abstract. I’m still not sure what to do with this fabric, but I’ll think of something in time. For now, I just get a kick out of knowing it’s designed from my photo.