Monday, February 24, 2014

Family Tangles

If you ask a class of second graders how many of them are artists, all of them raise their hand.

If you ask a class of thirteen year olds the same question, only a few hands go up.

That's what educator, horsewoman, artist and Zentangle teacher, Deanna Williford, shared with us this past Saturday.



Something happens as we get older.  We stop drawing.  We stop playing.  We start judging ourselves and telling ourselves all the things that we are not.

So on Saturday, I invited Deanna to come teach my nieces, Jack and my siblings the art of tangling.

I had never "tangled" myself and I knew everyone would enjoy being exposed to Deanna and to this fun and relaxed method for drawing structured patterns.


I found Deanna's name on the Zentangle website where there is a list of certified teachers throughout the world.  She lives only a few minutes from my home and she teaches at the Columbia Center for the Arts.

The fact that the nine kids are all different ages really works.  And because we've been gathering for years to play and make things, they are all pretty focused when it comes to creating art.


Deanna made a small kit for each one of us which included three zentangle tiles, a graphite pencil, a .01 micron pen, a kneaded rubber eraser and a tortillion...


We had never used tortillions (cylindrical drawing tools made from rolled paper).  And the methods of using the graphite with the toritllion to shade our drawings was new to all of us.


Zentangle was a great family activity because all ages could feel successful from oldest to youngest...


Technically, I'm a year older than my brother John but I didn't have a picture of me at work so...sorry brother.

Deanna brought lots of examples of gifts you can make with tangles...


The kids loved the shoes and got lots of ideas for presents for parents and friends.

I loved how Deanna kept referring to all the kids as artists.  



And I was really impressed with how quickly they all took to it.  

Even Jack gave it a try...



After just 2.5 hours, this is was our class result...



And we had worked up quite an appetite.  By this point, we'd adopted Deanna as a member of the family...



And even though Deanna needed to leave to tend to her horses...


Her influence was felt long after she'd gone.  This is a pic of the work table an hour or so after she had left...



Still drawing and playing and tangling...



And taking the method in their own directions...



Deanna believes we can all draw once we know the tricks.  Most adults draw like they are in second-grade because that's the age they stopped drawing.

After spending the day with her, the kids aren't the only ones who are inspired.  I've never had any formal art training so today I'm determined to self-study my way through this book that's been sitting on my shelf.



Thank you Deanna for a great day and giving us the gift of zentangle.  I can't wait to see what we can do on fabric through embroidery and painting.  In fact, I found this book which I've just put on reserve at my library...Zentangle Fabric Arts.

Happy Monday everyone and don't stop drawing!

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post !!! Love it all - the teacher, the young artists, your words, etc. ALLL of it is sooo inspiring - I've had 2 tangles books on my shelf for too embarrassingly long and now I'm enthused to get them out and PLAY, HA : ) Thank you for sharing your wonderful day : )
Blessings, Sandra in AZ : )

Lisa said...

What fun! I just love how you always include your whole family in so many fun activities! You have a real gift there!

I too have been working my way (slowly) through DftLSotB. It's good to have to think differently about how one creates from time to time!

Anonymous said...

Well that looks wonderful, I've been wanting to try Tangleing, you've spurred me on. Wonderfully inspirational -- again. Thanks, Jude

Gerry Krueger said...

Every time I see one of these tangles it reminds me of the freeform wonderful patterns, textures etc. Robin Atkins creates with beads. What a great group and I bet the teacher had as much fun as the students.. Ger

Judy S. said...

What a fun way to spend the afternoon, family creating together! You dream up such fun activities, Susan!

wenhkc said...

So cool! And love Deanna's appropriately themed top!

Createology said...

Susan you are the BEST mom, wife, aunt, sister and all around family member for always doing such fun things together. What a wonderful teacher Deanna sounds like. Fabulous Tangles by everyone. I need to go back to being a first grader so I never stop doing art. At this stage of my life I am hopeless when it comes to anything art...like drawing or doodling. Blissful Joy Dear...

Margaret said...

Looks like you all had a great day, and I especially like that everyone got involved. I confess, however, I still think it's a sad and sorry commentary on our culture when we think we have to have a special program, instructions and supplies to teach doodling, which once upon a time came very naturally...There was always a pad and pen/pencil beside the phone, which was attached to a wall, so you couldn't move...so what else could you do while chatting? Doodle, of course. Gone are the fixed phones...the pads of scrap paper and random writing instruments...and somebody's laughing all the way to the bank. Sigh.

Linda H said...

Susan, what a wonderful post. Such a fun activity for all the family to try. You are THE BEST!! P.S. It will soon be Maple Syrup season again..... :)
Hugs, my dear...

margaret said...

zentangle really has taken off everywhere, I have a friend who demonstrates it at all the stitching and craft shows here in the UK. It is not for me personally but I certainly admire what people create

Rachel said...

Lovely to see how different the results from the simplest of materials! Another real treat of a family day to remember!

Mosaic Magpie said...

I took a few Zentangle classes last fall. It is amazing how you lose yourself into those repeated patterns. Your drawing skills really improve as you "tangle" away. I had put my tangle journal aside for some reason but now I will be bringing it back out....now that you have brought it back to my attention, I realize how much I miss it!

lifemyway said...

I love Zentangling! I was introduced in high school by a friend and artistic mentor at church. There really is no wrong way which is why I loved it. I had never thought about introducing this to my kids but now you have inspired me with a perfect weekend activity!

Lorraine said...

What a fun day - budding artists!

wendy said...

How fun! I've been hearing more and more about this Zentangling, will have to look into more! Looks like everyone had a great time!!

Susan Hook said...

What a wonderful craft, I haven't come across this before but it looks so interesting and so much fun for all the family!

Allison Aller said...

Very great, Susan!

annamaria magda said...

Beautiful things, conratulations,
I admire your patience, have a good day, ania

Catherine said...

You always have the best family get togethers!!

black bear cabin said...

what a wonderful art adventure with the kids...you always do such great things with your family! i love it! i always doodled very similar to this, but never knew it had a name :) Looks like everyone had a great time!
hugs from Colorado!
Lisa

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