Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Red Thread Challenge

"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." -Chinese proverb

This week the Diva has a guest challenger, Cris Letournea CZT, who challenged us to create a Zentangle based on this proverb.  A tangle that had a red thread running through it was a little more challenging than I thought which is probably why I procrastinated and didn't get around to it until the end of the week.  Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  

Tangles:  Socc, Crescent Moon, Cirquital, Tipple,
Nipa, Laced

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An "ah-ha" moment and my first tangle, Socc

Whenever I am training a new paramedic I always talk to them about paying attention to "ah-ha" moments. Those moments that change your perspective on something and take you in a totally different direction.  I clearly remember my first "ah-ha" moment on the ambulance.  I was a new paramedic working with a very experienced paramedic and we responded to a man complaining of chest pain.  We placed the patient on the monitor and noted that he had a lot of PVC's (premature ventricular contractions), a type of extra heart beat which can cause pain.  The senior medic gave him Nitroglycerin which took away the pain but the PVC's were becoming more frequent.  The medic told me to take the next step and give the patient Lidocaine, a drug that I had been told in medic school was very scary, it could kill patients, people would die and the gates of hell would open and we would all be swallowed up.  Giving the lidocaine was not a wrong decision, I just felt the senior medic was being more liberal with it than we needed to be.  After the call I discussed it with him and he told me that when he first became a medic EVERY patient with chest pain received this drug.  He explained how it had been a mandatory part of the chest pain protocol.   Nobody died in the ambulance.  Nobody was swallowed up by the underworld.  Rarely were there any complications.  I realized that what I was taught in medic school was simply one persons perspective.  That was the day I stopped being scared of Lidocaine.  I realized that all my fear about those types of patients had been perpetuated by one persons view and sometimes it is important to gather more information and learn to look at something from several perspectives.  It was my first ambulance "ah-ha" moment.

Along those same lines, I recently had my first Zentangle "ah-ha" moment while at the CZT training in Providence.  The story goes like this:

A few months ago I was reading through my blogs and noted an entry by Carole Ohl on her blog Open Seed Arts.  It was a post about the tangle Puf.  Puf is one of those magical tangles that in one step looks like just a bunch of lines and by the next step has suddenly transformed into a magical pattern.  It reminds me of Cadent, Huggins, and Dragonair (a new favorite from my fellow CZT 7, Norma Burnell) in that regard.  I put it my mental list of tangles to try and didn't think much more of it.  A few days later I was at work and was working on a japanese journal and needed to cover a large section that my 2 1/2 year old niece had drawn some unsolicited "strings" on for me.

How could I possibly be upset with her?

I thought Puf would do nicely and since I didn't have a computer handy I just did it from memory.  Puf is normally done in a grid but some of my areas were larger than I like so I simply split a few of the squares.  I really liked the end result.


I was enjoying this new tangle a lot and started including it in some of my work that I post on this blog.  One day someone sent me a comment asking what tangle it was.  I wanted to send her the link so I went to Carole's blog and looked up Puf.  I was a little startled at what popped up.  I remembered reading the entry but the directions for Puf did not match the tangle I was doing at all.  The end result was similar but still different.  I searched the internet, my notes, my Zentangle books looking for the tangle but to no avail.  Finally I sent it to Linda Farmer at (if you use her site at all, please read this post ) and asked if she knew what it was and she thought I may have created a new tangle.  However, in the pit of my stomach I still didn't feel like it was completely mine.

Several weeks passed and I finally took my long awaited trip to Providence for CZT training.  We were gathering for dinner the first night and I realized that Carole Ohl was standing in front of me in line.  I was so excited.  I have being doing beadwork for years and have completed many of Carole's beautiful jewelry patterns.  When I discovered that she also did Zentangle I was thrilled because I felt I had found a kindred spirit, a beading/Zentangle hybrid just like myself.  What I didn't expect was for her to be at the conference, much less standing in front of me in line!  Like a typical groupie I introduced myself (or in this case yelled "oh my God, your Carole Ohl!) and joined her at her table for dinner.  She was there with her husband and several friends who were all very lovely.  We chatted for a long time and I felt like I had met a group of people who truly understood why I am so enamored with Zentangle.

I talked to Carole several more times during the training and while I was standing at the back of the room one day somebody pointed to the mystery tangle in my journal and asked what it was.  I had considered asking Carole what she thought of it but was worried she would think I was "stealing" her work.  I was so worried I would offend her.  I thought about it for a few more hours that day and then decided "What's the worst that could happen?" so I took it over and showed it to her.  I gave her a little background about how it came to be and she just said "Wow!  It's like Puf but at the same time it isn't."  We agreed that the end result was slightly different but the steps did not resemble each other whatsoever.  I asked her if she thought it was a tangleation of Puf or a completely different tangle and this is when the "ah-ha" moment occurred.  Carol explained to me that even though the end results were very similar, the difference in the steps and the journey to the end result was what made these two tangles different in her eyes. She explained to me that to her the process of Zentangle is the meaningful part, not the end product.   What struck me is that Carol didn't seem interested at all in the ownership of the tangle as much as the mutual inspiration that had come out of it.  That was the day I felt like I truly learned what Zentangle was all about.

Carole encouraged me to demonstrate the tangle in front of the whole class the next day.  I was ok with that but realized it would need a name.  I had considered Abyss because I thought it looked like the bottom of the ocean, Marryona, a play on the Mariana trench, or Dent because of the way that some of the pieces "dent" each other.  After I left the class that night it became clear however, that I would name this tangle Socc because it was done in the Spirit of Cooperation with Carole.  Only fitting, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A simple string

This week the Diva had a guest contributor for the weekly challenge.  Sue Clark of challenged us to use a few simple shapes, a circle, square and triangle, to create our string.   I enjoyed this tangle because it takes me back to a place that I like.  A place where geometry reigns supreme, but it also incorporates the new things I have come to embrace like freeform, organic patterns.  I hope you enjoy!

Tangles:  Facets, Rick's Paradox, Hollibaugh,
Huggins, Shattuck, Flux, Florz

Friday, November 11, 2011


In Canada, where the Diva lives, November 11 is Remembrance Day.  This week the Diva challenged us to create a tile that caused us to remember what was important to us.  Here in the states we are celebrating Veterans day which is a day for us to remember all those who have served past and present.  I am thankful for all of those who have shown such bravery and sacrifice to allow me to have the liberties that I do, especially my brother John who is a proud marine.

For my tile, however, I decided to head in another direction.  This tile is dedicated to my brother A.J. and what I know he will be remembering this week.  This one is for you little man.

Tangles:  Shattuck, Huggins

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween Challenge Tangle

This week the Diva challenged us to make a Halloween inspired tangle.  I'm a little late on this one but it gave me extra, almost too much extra, time to think about what I wanted to do.  I considered pumpkins, but  wasn't very enthused.  I tried to draw a bat, that was a miserable failure. Then I remembered that I had my black tiles (that have been sitting around for two months) and decided to give them a shot since I haven't tried them out yet.  I figured black and Halloween were a natural match, if only I had an orange gelly pen!

Tangles:  Socc, Printemps, Rick's Paradox

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