Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Joy of Tangling

Ultimately what you offer the market is derived from how you live your life.
--Alasdhair Willis, Stella McCartney's husband, NYT Magazine, Feb. 26, 2012

Odd, isn't it? How the Universe works in synchronicity. Something or someone is called to your attention, and suddenly you hear/see that thing or person over and over. For example, I'd never heard of Max Planck, but last week I had a blow out on Highway 95. The only way I could describe my position to the nice lady at AAA was that I was on 95 near the Max Planck Florida Institute sign. Yesterday, while listening to "Says You," a public radio program, they mentioned Max Planck.

This week I joined 77 other people in Providence, Rhode Island, to attend a Zentangle® certification workshop. On the surface, we had little in common other than being a crowd mostly of women of a certain age. Over the next three days, we learned a lot about each other.

It started with a display table. People brought wonderful examples of their work to share. One lady tangled on gourds!

But the real magic happened when Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas assigned us homework: Come back tomorrow with your own new design and teach it to the group.

Oh, my! Above is a tangle--Kurtinz--and its phases (different looks) by Kate La Montagne.

Here is a grouping by Sampada Agarwal. As you can see, she used a notepad from our hotel to capture a variety of ideas. The one she presented is in the upper right corner, and she named it "Fandangle." Isn't it lovely?

Once our fellow tanglers shared their work, the connections between people began. "Teach me that!" we asked each other. From that point on, you would walk into the room and see a cluster of tanglers sharing ideas.

All this caused my head to kick into overdrive. You see, we're all "universes" unto ourselves. Until we share our cosmos with others, that world is hidden from view. But art allows us to be vulnerable. We capture the way we see the world and present it to others, who respond by saying, "Ah! Yes! Now I see the world that way, too!"

As authors, we incorporate this in our books as we create little worlds. As visual or fiber artists, we do the same. As Spock once said on Star Trek, it's a marvel how alone we humans are. But art builds bridges and that loneliness is vanquished. We meet each other in a new space. And of course, like the quotation above, we attract each other. Art allows our personalities to shine through--and who we are, how we live and see the world becomes clear to others. Then, if you sell your work, what people buy is that vision of the world, that reflection of how you live your life.
What was the last experience that set your brain on fire?

PS I'll be teaching Zentangle at Bouchercon 2012. I hope you'll come join me!


Unknown said...

I have recently read all your books and enjoy them SO much. I am awaiting the release of your new one in April....NOW I find that you are a tangler too...this is one of those strange coincidences life gives us...I discover your books and that we love tangling...kindred spirits always have a way of finding one another....Keep writing and happy tangling...blessings...diane

Linda O. Johnston said...

Wish I were going to Bouchercon to take your class, Joanna. Zentangle looks lovely, but I'm not yet sure what it is!

Anonymous said...

Now,Joanna, I hope you'll do a tangle for old Max Planck! He was quite a guy!


Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Diane! So glad you found me here! Did my tangles today--did you?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Linda, Zentngle is an artform. Using a pen and paper, and repetitive strokes, you can create all sorts of lovely designs, which look far more complicated than they are. You can "tangle" on almost any surface.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Lindababe, I need to learn more about Max. Is he still alive?

Betty Hechtman said...

Your class at Bouchercon sounds great. Zentangles remind me of stuff I did when I was an art major. Something about black ink and designs in confined spaces speaks to me.

So true what you said about creative endeavors being a bridge.