Sunday, September 1, 2013

Tangled Contemplation

I have never been much of an artist. It wasn't until I found knitting as a medium that I really hit my stride as an artist. For me, art has always been of the useful variety. A knitted sweater, a beaded necklace, or a lacy scarf, while beautiful art, was always useful. I never considered that I was any good at drawing until I discovered through my favorite podcast, Craftlit, an art form called Zentangle.

When I heard Heather mention this thing called Zentangling, it stuck in my head for a long time before I bothered to look it up. To learn more about it, I bought a copy of the book, One Zentangle a Day:  A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun.  Well, I read through the preliminaries, bought some basic supplies, and started in. Right away, I was hooked!

What is now known as Zentangling is what I used to call doodling, and it typically happened for me between the lines of my notebook paper when I was zoning out in class when I was in high school. While there are specific steps, essentially it is doodling on steroids. This doodling, however, is done with a purpose, namely to de-stress.

It worked. I took about thirty minutes to work my first design, and at the end I was hooked! I started tangling every day, and it wasn't long before my daughter noticed me at it. She asked to join in, and I started teaching her in our little impromptu class. She also found that it relaxed her as well.

One of my first attempts
Eventually, I decided to ask a few families over to learn about this relaxing and contemplative art form. I set the time for rainy Friday afternoon, adjusted Pandora to a relaxing station, lit a candle, and shared some basic motifs with everyone, and they were off. Both mothers and daughters appeared to enjoy the process, and I saw some lovely designs come out of it as well.
Our little class, in the creative zone.

In addition to the music and candles, our group also incorporated some prayer and Scripture, although that is entirely up to the individual about how she approaches the art. For me personally, it is a wonderful time to still my worries and open up to the Holy Spirit.

While I am not a "certified" Zentangle instructor, I was able to introduce our girls to a different way of expressing themselves and releasing tension. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a way to reduce stress and build creativity. Supplies are minimal (Zentangle tiles - we used squares of paper for our class, Pigma Micron Pens, 2H and 2B pencils, and blending stumps). Over time, you can build supplies to design other Zentangle inspired art pieces, but the basics will take you a long way. 
Our class board

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer,
    Saw you in church today. How can I purchase your pattern? This was a very clever idea, making lace knitting easier. Definitely what I need to start out. Love the shawl. I also downloaded the book on Zentangle. Never heard of it but realized I have been doing it for years.. Can't wait to try it out. Love the hair cut. You were hard to find. I hope this reaches you.