Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pattern Play

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."   
Erich Fromm

Do you ever feel like you've hit a roadblock in your tangling? Although there are thousands of tangle patterns do you find yourself using the same ones over and over again? Well that's what I felt was happening to me. There are no rules in Zentangle, I know that, but if I didn't follow the step-outs for a pattern just as they were presented, I felt like I was doing something "wrong". When I wrote my e-book Step Out in Style, I included tangleations (variations) for several of the patterns. However, I never felt right changing someone else's patterns.

That is, until a few months ago, when I received my copy of Pattern Play, a new book by Cris Letourneau and Sonya Yencer. The book is all about thinking outside the box and changing patterns to make them your own. After perusing the book my mind was really opened up, and I found my creativity soaring. If you're yearning for more creativity, I highly suggest that you run, not walk, to get this book (or you can probably stay in your seat and order it online).

Since the book was so inspiring to me, I decided to teach a class based on it. In order to plan for the class I took out a new sketchbook and started playing with patterns. Add a little of this, change a little of that, put something here, take away something there. That's the way my mind worked as I looked at pattern after pattern, and designed new tangleations; sometimes one new look, sometimes a half dozen. I had more fun planning for this class than any other one I've ever taught. My biggest problem with it was deciding which tangleations to present in class. I wish I had time to demonstrate them all, but I guess I had to leave some things to their imagination.

As part of my planning, I created several tiles. Here is a one I did just to show several tangleations I came up with for the pattern 'Nzeppel.

The next one has "Nzeppel, Hollibaugh, Cubine, and my pattern Gaudi.

Here is one with 2 tangleations of the pattern Well, along with some Printemps.

A colored tile with Fife and Keeko  (that Keeko looks very different, doesn't it?).

And another one with Huggins and Cubine.

Then I had to throw in a Zendala with Cadent, Hollibaugh and Diva Dance.

This last one is an ATC tile with some variations on Paradox.

All this preparation led up to my class last weekend. There were three students, and I won't lie...I was a little disappointed that there weren't more. I gave them Bijou tiles (the new 2 inch square tiles), and had them do a tile for each tangleation. At the end of class I offered each of them a hole punch to punch a hole in the corner of each Bijou, and a metal ring to hold all the tangleations. Here is just a small sample of  the tiles they created.

I hope that my enthusiasm wore off on them and they will continue to come up with many of their own tangleations. As for me, the book Pattern Play, and the time that I spent preparing for this class, have opened up a whole new world of tangling opportunities. I am much more inclined now to not follow the (nonexistent) rules and to go where my imagination leads me. And I think that's a good thing!

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