Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paradox and Knitting

When I saw that this weeks Diva Challenge was to use a spiral with Paradox I could feel a twinge of panic hit.  I am a big fan of Paradox and I am a big fan of spirals, but not necessarily together.  This idea was conjured up by Marizaan van Beek, CZT who's beautiful work I admire and since the Diva had decided it was good challenge material I was obliged to give it a try.  


My biggest issue was Paradox.  When Paradox is good, it looks really, really good. And when it looks bad, it looks like my Micron threw up on my tile.  When I see that Paradox has gone awry, to me it feels like a shoe that has been put on the wrong foot.  You want to believe it isn't that big of a deal, but in reality it is so not ok.  Now I know what your thinking.  You want to tell me all these things about Paradox.  Always start on the same side and you will have no trouble.  Have you seen Margaret Bremner's tutorial?  And the ever famous, turn your tile, turn your tile, turn your tile.  The answer is yes.  I have heard them all.  I have said most of them to other people, and yes, Margaret Bremner of the Enthusiastic Artist blog has put out an amazing, comprehensive tutorial about Paradox that I have actually printed for reference and used with great result.  I have done several tiles that are nothing but Paradox without issue and I love to do them but for some reason every once in a while one tiny little section will rebel and it just ends up wrong.  But this is Zentangle, and in Zentangle we embrace mistakes, ( I tell my students "It's not a mistake, it's just more organic!) and when we can't embrace them we use Bronx Cheer!  The mistake is not my issue, it's my inability to be able to understand my mistake that bothers me.  


The reason that I sometimes become so frustrated with Paradox is the same reason I do not knit.  Three or four years ago I wanted to learn to knit, but I only wanted to knit scarves.  Everyone was making them, they seemed easy and inexpensive, and I thought I could whip them out fast.  I took a 2 hour class from a wonderful instructor and was soon on my way to making a bevy of scarves....or so I thought.  I took home the six inches of scarf that I had made and eagerly continued that evening.  Then I noticed the little hole.  The missed stitch.  My nemesis.  I quickly pulled the yarn out to the point where the tiny whole was but I couldn't figure how to get the yarn back on my needles correctly to continue.  So I pulled some more to the end of the row so I could start clean, but that didn't seem right either.  I pulled another row in the hopes that it would become clear soon where to pick up, but it didn't.  You can see where this is going, right?  Pretty soon I was left with a ball of yarn and no more scarf.  I started over and finished the scarf but the whole time I worried about having another missed stitch and having to start over again. This was very frustrating because my primary art form was beading and when I made a mistake in beading it always seemed so clear how it had happened, and the fix always seemed so obvious. With knitting, and sometimes with Paradox, it is almost as if I do not understand how the yarn or lines are coming together to create the end result, even though I am the one creating them.   It was very similar to what happened tonight.  


I got out a tile and laid down my spiral string.  I figured I would just fill it in with Paradox and see how it looked.  I was already worrying about the varying sides and  strange dimensions of the spiral when I noticed something had gone wrong.


My first attempt.


I am not usually one to nit pick flaws but in this case it serves a point.  Near the beginning there is a flaw where I think I went in the wrong direction.  I was willing to overlook it and continued on.  In the last section however I could just feel it was not ok.  I felt awkward when I was drawing, turning and evaluating.  The part that was so unsettling however was that I couldn't figure it out.  Even though it was right in front of me I couldn't rationalize the mistake.  I couldn't figure out how to overcome it and continue.  It was my scarf all over again.  So then I did it.  Something I tell everyone not to do.  Something I can't ever remember doing before.  I threw it away.  


Then I consoled myself with one of these:

It's only the snack size but it did the trick.



After eating my security blanket, aka Haagen Dazs bar,  I took a hard look at what I was dealing with and I decided that maybe the problem wasn't Paradox, but that I wasn't comfortable with what I was forcing Paradox to do.  Even though these tiles are challenges to push myself, maybe the real challenge is to realize when it isn't right.  I decided to take another try with something that felt more right and let me be more in control and I really like the result.


Tangle: Paradox


Before you ask, yes, I pulled that poor tile out of the trash and will attempt to do something with it when we become friends again.  I think we just need a break.


What was your challenge this week?

Paradox?
The spiral?
Something completely different?

I would love to hear.

Have a great week, 
Erin


24 comments:

  1. I went with something a bit different, but it does involve both spirals and paradoxes.

    Sorry to hear you got frustrated with this one. I don't see the flaw in first one, but I know how it is when mind fixates on something. The second one is perfect. Looks like a strip of an exquisite lace. Challenge well met!

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  2. This is beautiful! I know the frustrated feeling...you don't see mine up yet do you???

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  3. So stunningly beautiful! I love your creativity in this challenge! Bravo!

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  4. I love your spiral of squares with the paradox in it, fantastic solution to the challenge. I was intimidated by this challenge too, but it all turns out well in the end. I am reading a fantastic book called "The Artist's Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity" by Julia Cameron. In it, one of the things she talks about is perfectionism, and how we as artists use it as a way to block our creative flow. I highly recommend this book. Putting aside the troubling tile and moving onto a new idea was the perfect solution, in fact, the troubled tile probably lead you to create your great work, which perhaps you had to experience to get where you wanted to be in the first place. It's all a part of the process. Bravo! And kudos! You did great!

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  5. I love the spiral you ended up with!

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  6. Wonderful! I didn't like this challenge much either (although it's the spiral part I don't like much), and basically did a throwaway to at least attempt the challenge. I admire the way you thought this through instead and came up with a beautiful solution. Great job!

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  7. Funnee!! Chocolate always saves the day. Love your results. Mine was beautiful "in my head" but so-so on my tile. Knitting is a different story - when I'm stressed I can always turn to knitting and it relaxes me. I love to bead as well. Please don't give up on knitting - maybe at a different time in your life, it will come easier for you. Or perhaps not - we all have our talents in different areas. Your zentangle certainly shows talent.

    Diana

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  8. I love how you approached this! The paradox squares as the spiral are beautifully proportioned and the final result is amazing :)

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  9. Oh!! I love this....awesome...

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  10. Stunning! Love, love, love it!!!

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  11. So funny... I know what you mean about the Micron throwing up on the tile. My first one in this challenge felt much like that! Thanks for a really fun post and love your tile!

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  12. Love that second tile! What a brilliant solution to the spiral/paradox challenge. I also felt a wee twinge of panic. :-)

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  13. Nicely done, your falling Paradox squares are a wonderful solution. Great share!

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  14. I enjoyed reading your blog today - very funny, and oh boy, can I ever identify with it! Your resulting tile is absolutely stunning - I love it!

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  15. Your spiral paradox turned out great.

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  16. What a gorgeous ruffled collar you have made for yourself! beautiful and clever!

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  17. I'm so glad you kept up with it. Your tile is stunning. What a great idea. And I like hearing about your process. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. You are a star Erin! Frame It!
    My challenge....leaving the chocolate biscuit in the fridge.!!

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  19. Fantastic! I must try this!

    K.N.Malathi

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  20. That ice cream must have done the trick! Awesome work.

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  21. There is so much energy in your tiles - love the way you used paradox!

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