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Hidden Words, Hidden Stories.

I've had such a great week with a lot of new friends on Instagram. My last two classes have resulted in some spectacular tiles which some of you have given me permission to share here - and I will, just let me burble on a bit first. (It's my blog..)

I particularly like drawing tangle patterns that break free from a grid or spiral round a central point or grow organically one from the other. I have been inspired by wonderful tanglers like Eni Oken, Jo Flaherty, Anica Gabrovec and of course, Maria Thomas - the wonderful joint creator of Zentangle. She and Rick (Roberts) are chalk and cheese in their drawing styles and approach to tangling. Both are wonderful to join and follow in class and as a CZT, I so enjoyed all their sessions in Providence. My own natural teaching style, whether it's Zentangle or English, my other 'job' is definitely less like Rick's steady, careful fully focused approach - he just feels so SAFE - and leans more towards how Maria gets carried away by a sudden impulse to add or adapt a line or curve.

It wasn't always thus!

When we first discover Zentangle - and there is usually a really interesting story to be had here - we may be drawn to one type of tangle or another. I just wanted to try every single one I could find and practiced curly ones and straight ones. Over time, though, I have wandered less further afield and have found new pleasure in adapting and fiddling with the old favourites and did monotangles with wibbly Knightsbridge, freed grid tangles from their 'cages' and stretched and twisted straight lines into curves and bends. Somewhere along the way, I remember writing my name with that of my husband's and tangling around the lines and curves they presented. Although I don't know if I'd seen it somewhere else in this format, I know as a student at school, I often wrote really dreadful things in the back of my books and then 'doodled' around and over them so that they became illegible and I guess this is a slightly more adult version of that, with proper art credentials to go with it. But either because of a visual prompt or a distant memory, this is what I did, that first time, recorded on my camera from May 2016.

I liked the idea and fiddled around with it a bit more but it didn't really take a specific focus until the following March when I decided to do a tangle for my Mum's 80th birthday. I wanted to say she was 80 without it being 'in her face'. So I started out with the words 'Pam is 80' and then tangling them, adding the odd zengem along the way. I had several attempts and really enjoyed doing them. And the final version was framed and lives on her bedroom wall, where it looks rather nice.

I thought it would be a nice idea for the class this week. Pick a positive word that suited our current situation and then tangle it. For the class, I chose the word 'safe' and hoped upon hope that my followers, mostly Spanish, would get the concept and understand my sometimes faltering explanations. It's a tricky class made rather more complex by giving it 'blind' - I couldn't see how people were getting on and I had no idea what word they had chosen. I hate to tell people what they 'should' do and so had issued the instruction to chose a word for themselves. However, as I usually happens in my face-to-face Zentangle classes, when you give people tangling instructions, you will almost always get something a bit different from everyone in the class. Another of the joys of Zentangle! Those inner artists find their way out every time.

I do think that the way people approach tangling hints at their own hidden stories and personalities. Some people told me that they didn't think they would be able to do the tile, (but they did). Some just watched and had a go on their own later, some were happy to dive in and just go with the flow and some went with the flow even if it felt difficult. All perfectly acceptable approaches and it is almost impossible to tell which is which from the final results.

I have been delighted at the results and the feedback. So please just enjoy a selection of tiles from people who were happy for me to share their hidden - or not so very hidden - words at this unbelievably strange time of global lockdown and self-isolation where we have been able to find our tribes in the virtual world of online classes. I do apologise if I haven't included all those who offered but I am finding so many difficulties with Instagram and downloading photographs that I couldn't get all of them. Included in the slideshow below are tiles from Virginie Bergar Bebedesiles, from India; Chrissie Frampton from the UK; Marisa Rodriguez and Gema de Cozar from Spain.

I include here my own not-so-hidden message to you all. And if you can't see it, it says 'THANK YOU!'

Thank you again for reading this blog post. If you took part in my free Instagram and enjoyed it and maybe want more, I am offering a Zoom workshop, not quite free, to do some more personal teaching of the subject. If you are interested, please just contact me through this website on my email address and say 'yes'. The first workshop will be fairly soon, but I can offer more if I get sufficient numbers.

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