Sunday, November 28, 2010

Close to the Holiday Weekend

Ah, the traditional Thanksgiving holiday draws to a close, we spent our holiday as I believe it was meant to be celebrated -- quiet and treasured time with each other and family. My 82 year mother decided she wanted to cook the Thanksgiving meal this year so I accepted. We (Verlin and myself) showed up, brought the pies, helped put the finishing touches on the meal to get it on the table and sat and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon together visiting, eating and doing dishes :) This is the first time since my dad passed away about 6 years ago that my mother has cooked this holiday meal, it was good to see her do ok and seem to enjoy the event.

I realize it has been a while since I last posted and have been doing some introspection on my progress as a zentangle teacher and as an artist at large (or small or medium). As to things regarding zentangle; am progressing slowly with the business building efforts, I had the good fortune to teach a group of 18, 7th grade students at a middle school in the North Canton, OH area a few weeks ago and got paid! The class went really well and the students (and teachers) really seemed to enjoy the process.

Teaching zentangle is an experience that brings great personal pleasure, it seems age does not matter when it comes to the amazement factor at the completion of a tile. At first, these kids were a bit skeptical of what was going to be taught, but as the tile progressed, they became more engrossed in what was happening. When they were finished we assembled all their tiles on a front table to share, then the magic began. They were so animated; the sharing among them was surprising to me. The surprise to the teachers was how quite they had been after the 2nd tangle and how eager they were to share and begin another tile.

The teacher asked me to show the students how to create a group zentangle as this group of students is responsible for creating the class yearbook cover. So, I introduced the concept of a group ensemble -- they were very eager to get started filling in their 6”x6” tile once they saw how all the tiles would fit together as a completed project. The ideas of how to place and arrange the finished project just began to roll out of their mouths in a choir of untamed creativity. This was a great lesson in self-confidence & fun for me. I'm hopeful they will invite me back. The teacher sent me a link to the class website; here it is if you are interested in having look:

The best thing about this teaching adventure is it renewed my interest and confidence for developing zentangle as a viable teaching method for income. It also gave me a new view of myself as a teacher and artist. I have begun to seriously get organized and am in the process of creating a lesson plan approach for other academic situations. This lesson portfolio will be used to explain the how and what is taught in a zentangle class/workshop or class series, the progression of a class, and the finished tiles or projects. The lesson portfolio is a scrapbook album, it is turning out quite well if I do say so myself. Verlin and I have brainstormed venue ideas. I seem to have arrived at several places to approach after the Christmas break.

After of our brainstorming session, the decision was made to handle the progression of teaching in venues for self-development and later creating a program to venture into the professional development for accredited CEU areas, this later I've discovered will take a bit more work than originally anticipated. As I write this, it sounds like quite an ambitious goal but, I hope to get this accomplished in my lifetime :)

Also, creating large zentangle inspired gifts for Christmas presents has been on the fore of projects over the last few weeks. These are great fun and the finished products have even impressed me. I hope post pictures of these items. It just occured to me to started to think of taking pictures of the in progress stages instead of just finished projects. The progression thing is really interesting.

I feel a bit addicted to the zentangle art process at the moment, this is probably better than the continual eating of leftovers I’ve been into since Thursday.

Well, enough for now – am off to get my holiday weekend and laundry finished up before heading back to the work week.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Upcoming Events

It seems I have been so busy developing workshop schedules and trying to get as much cramed into my summer as possible, I almost forgot to post all the upcoming class events. So, today I did -- check out the Creativity Workshop page and the Ideal Protein page for more details.

At the end of this month, we are traveling to Indiana to visit with Verlin's siblings. It has been a while since we have seen them, actually this will be our first visit as Mr & Mrs. Not that it really changes anything since we were together for 15 years prior to tying the legal knot, the family has figured we were Mr & Mrs long before the legalities.

Then in October, we will travel to Columbus to experience the Universal Light Expo at the Veterans Memorial. Not only will my good friend Carole Ohl be there demonstrating Zentangle, the Tibetan monks will be there with their sand mandala demonstration. There are vendors of all kinds; artists, distributors and authors of books, crafters, psychic readers and much much much more. It is two days, Oct 9 & 10, of great fun.

Then inbetween and all around, I will be presenting workshops on Zentangle from beginner level to advanced techniques. Am also branching out with a class on quilted (no sewing involved) Christmas orniments. Besure to check out the creativity workshop page to see all the currently scheduled offerings.

Well, off to clean house. My poor house has been seriously neglected these days so I must go and make up for the lack of maintance and tame the dust bunnies before they take over.

Be well and enjoy the moment!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


‘Tis time to harvest the bounties of summer. Several years ago, Verlin was really into making home made wines. Then suddenly one day, his son (Chris) became interested in exploring the art of wine making. So, Verlin introduced his son to the process and away the two of them went, buying grapes, fruits of different types, kits, and on…. They were quite successful, most of the time, at making really good wine and sometimes making really big not so good really smelly stuff.

Then about 5 years ago, Verlin gave his son 2 scrawny little grape vines as a gift. They planted them with special care and lots of manure. These little plants have had special care and love and now produce a lot of really good concord grapes. This year however, these silly little plants went crazy and their bounty is enormous. Chris sent a text to his dad the other day saying the grapes were ready. So yesterday, we decided to go and get some grapes.

The problem is we really do not need more wine at the moment as the stores in our basement are still abundant. Chris said he was just going to can the juice. Great idea!

Only problem is we do not have canning equipment -- plenty of wine making equipment but no canning equipment. We decide to take a detour to Lehman Hardware in Kidron, OH on our way to Wooster, OH to pick grapes.

Lehman Hardware is one of those old fashioned hardware stores with EVERYTHING one could possibly think of needing and then some. We successfully purchased the juicer equipment and off we went to pick our fill of grapes.

Chris had already picked a 5 gallon bucket full by the time we arrived. We pick 6 gallons of grapes and this by the way does not even make a noticeable dent in the bounty. We get a quick lesson from Chris on how to use the equipment we purchased, go home remove all the grapes from the stems and begin the hour long cooking process to pasteurize the fruit; it is now 9:30pm, we decide to refrigerate the two large soup pans filled with hot grape mess overnight.

Then today, I finished the juicing process, it took me about 4 hours to complete. When I finished, I decided to sample the finished product and to my surprise the juice is exceptionally sweet without the addition of sugar!

Still I am surprised at the wonderful nectors nature provides without all the additives, our wonderful Concord grape juice is one of these reminders. This really dark purple, ever so sweet gift I placed in ice cube trays and is now in the freezer waiting to bless our breakfast table or snack time. I feel well pleased with the effort, and am looking forward to consuming our treasure.

Yes, it would have been way less work to just buy the juice at the grocery, but, we would not have had the bonding relationship experiences we shared together and with our
children. Nor do I believe the grapes would have tasted as sweet.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Return – the same or not?

I've arrived home after attending a Zentangle Master Class in Newport, RI more or less safe, sound, and in one piece. I am always somewhat disoriented for a day or two after attending such an event as this; not sure if it is the sheer amount of creative immersion or my age, but it seems to take a bit of a physical toll requiring extra recovery time these days. Another part of my recovery process is focused on the emotional overwhelm I felt when faced with just stepping out and with permanent ink, make a mark regardless of what the mark is on the best & largest paper format I have ever dared to work on and take the chance it will be ok. As it turns out, it was way more than ok – it was amazing!

The class took place in Newport, RI squished between the Newport Folk Festival and the Jazz Fest, August 3-5, 2010. The location was the International Yacht Restoration School, the students were out on break and the facility opened its doors to our group, allowing us a great downtown venue in which to focus on scale and detail. No A/C, but great views.

I’m not sure if any of my counterparts experienced the same emotional processing I encountered when faced with the assignment to create with permanent ink on such large & most elegant formats as presented by our hosts Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts? Having attended the CZT training twice, I understood intellectually the lesson taught to us regarding the use of the best products available on which to create our art. However, the true meaning of this statement did not really registered until I was faced with our assignment.

I still feel a bit of a quiver inside when I think about the first day of the conference, there on the tables at each of our seats lay a piece of Fabriano Tiepolo print making paper – you know the stuff the zentangle tiles are made of – only the size of the paper is 13”x22”!! This is what will be our illuminated letter project. I think it must have taken me close to ½ hour to finally decide what letter I wanted to put on my piece and then a bit longer to finally get up the nerve to go and place the letter on the “tile”. I tried to console myself to think of this precious piece of paper as just another zentangle tile (you know – a 3½” square) .

Then if that wasn’t scary enough, the next day they presented us with a piece of handmade paper – the stuff the full zentangle kit box is covered with – and it is 20”x 30” in size, YIKES!! When I finally made the first mark, I really did not like what it was, so I turned the piece over and started again, only to still not like it! So, I decided to walk away from that piece for a while. I went and pulled out my massage chair an began giving people upper body massages – I needed to get grounded, back to my comfort zone (they all thought I was being nice to them :). After a couple of hours, I returned to the piece… still did not like it and even now, I still have not finished it. I took it out yesterday and looked at it again and am feeling I may be able to make it alright eventually but just not yet. Then there is this other saying these zentangle folks have … ‘anything is possible one stroke at a time’ – well, it almost felt like a stroke! (HahHah)

I guess the reality of not being able to do something the first time very well, and have it be the very best the first time is an issue that needs some alone journal time. However, I’m not good with this particular muse and it may take a while before I have the nerve to sit and visit with her on this topic. I think the hard part of the visit just happened though…, I acknowledged that I will need to spend time on this topic with her…

All in all, I have returned. I look in the mirror and I look the same to me however, everyone I have come in contact with this last week has commented on my hair. Usually this means something is different about me but they just can’t put their finger on what it is, so… I’ve returned but, obviously not the same.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Though I am not a proponent of inclement weather, I do love the morning after a good rain storm. There is crispness to the air and clarity to the morning sky and the sun seems to be more radiant than usual.

This morning is such a morning. I awoke from the world of slumber to the world of waking dream time around 3:30 am; this seems to be the time of day the muse wish to play lately. It is now 5:30 am, I have just returned to my bed to try and capture a couple more hours of slumber time before acknowledging my day ahead. Today, I need to gather those things I will be taking with me on my trip to Newport, RI next Friday morning. But for now, I listen to the birds beginning to call the world awake as the sky begins to lighten and the crispness of the new day is at hand.

I am thankful for the awareness the muse have brought to me this morning as I drift back to the land of slumber.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Classes & Workshops

Last evenings workshop Rediscovering the Muse Within, held at Craft Akron Art Studio (in the valley), went so well, we have scheduled another.

Check out the Creativity Workshops page above for details.

Will also be adding another page later this week posting all my future workshops. I will update the new page as classes and workshops are added.

Thanks for checking in -- Deb

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rediscovering The Muse Within

Just posted a workshop I will be leading this Wednesday, July 14, 2010
at Craft Akron (in the valley) in Akron, OH.
Please take a look at my Creativity Workshops Page for more details.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Muse at Play in My Life

Tuesday’s mail brought the awaited envelope. The class schedule and supply list for the Zentangle Master Class I will be attending the first week of August in Newport, RI. Maria Thomas, letter artist and co-founder of Zentangle, Inc, addresses every envelope as though it is a commissioned piece of artwork. How special it feels to receive such a gift. How special it must be for the postal people to deliver such gifts.

I am excited and nervous about attending this event. It has recently occurred to me that since attending my first Certified Zentangle Teacher training last October, that I have somehow joined the ranks in being called an artist!? I had never considered myself an artist, thinking this to pompous a title to endear to myself I guess. However, it seems to have come to pass that my life has taken the path known as artist.

Verlin, my beloved life partner and husband has continued to tell me over the past 15 years we have been together that I truly am an artist. It’s just that I can not seem to wrap my head around the term. He explained to me the difference between and artist and a technician is the ability to do improvisation. He says a technician does not create outside of a specific step by step instruction process, and an artist begins with the same basic framework and step by step process but then diverges from there to create something that appears to resemble the beginners’ process but takes on an entire life of its own from there.

It is this process he points out that I do in everything I do; from my massage techniques to my culinary skills. So, it appears the Muse of art has taken over my life recently and is filling me with the need to explore more along the avenues of zentangle art.

So, this week I ordered fine paint brushes & pen nib holders, things I associate with “artists’ tools” to be put to use by my hands before long. I try to contain my excitement and stay in the present moments so as not to miss what is given to me daily by the Muse alive in my life today – I await my departure to Newport with curiosity about being and artist or muse myself.

Today is the new moon/solar eclipse day, a time to explore new possibilities regarding one’s identity in the world at large. So today, I will begin to explore and acknowledge my identity in the world as an artist.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ideal Protein Workshop

Yesterday evening we held an information gathering workshop for the Ideal Protein Weight Reduction Program at our office at the Ridgewood Center Wellness Group in the Copley/Fairlawn area.

I belong to a BNI group that meets on Tuesday mornings in the Montrose area of Akron, OH. One of the members had been participating in the Ideal Protein program for about 4 weeks prior to telling anyone. After dropping 20+ pounds, he decided to "come out" about his decision to partake of the weight reduction program. His dramatic reduction in such a short period of time lead to several others in the group being profoundly interested thus prompting the information gathering workshop.

The usual way I introduce people to the Ideal Protein weight reduction program is through one to one meetings. This is a time consuming process as it takes approximately 2 hours to explain the history of the company and the process behind the weight loss program. There is a detailed client health history to be filled out and reviewed prior to beginning the program. So, it was nice to be able to introduce the information and the process to a group of 6 people at once.

The information workshop format is the preferred intoduction format used by the Ideal Protein Company. It really is a much better time management tool. I just need to be more diligent in establishing a set time to hold these types of workshops. So, yesterday I decided to begin holding information gathering workshops for the Ideal Protein Weight Reduction Program and Life Style choice on a monthly basis.

This weekend, I will be creating schedules for the up coming couple of months incorporating all the coming workshops I offer. Watch the posts on this and the other pages to see what is coming.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Creative Workshops - Zentangle

"Zentangle® is simple to understand and easy to enjoy —
even if you are convinced you are not an artist.

With Zentangle®, you can always explore
new areas of experience and insight.

Zentangle® is not only easy and enjoyable,
but also profound and uplifting."