I first came across zentangles when I was searching through the library new titles lists. I was fascinated. Could there really be an art form I had never come across before?
Well, yes there is. Zentangling is new, it’s fun and (truly) anyone can do it. It’s a simple process. You take a pencil, draw a frame, add a string then fill in the spaces with ‘tangles’ or patterns using a black ink pen. There’s no rubbing out. You have to trust your intuition and let the design evolve in its own way – very Zen. The results are striking and it’s easy to produce a good looking piece of artwork in a short time. I guess you could call it doodling with purpose.
Zentangles have been developed by calligrapher, Maria Thomas, and her Buddhist partner, Rick Roberts. One day Rick observed Maria drawing background patterns on a manuscript and noticed she was in a calm state of well-being similar to that achieved through meditation. The couple decided to develop a system that would bring this good feeling to others and zentangles were born.
You do need to become a Certified Zentangle Teacher to teach the system correctly. There are beautifully textured cards to tangle on, micron pens and pencils to buy through the Zentangle website but if you’d like to give zentangling a go without investing more than a couple of dollars – grab a notebook, a black pen and one of the titles available at Christchurch City Libraries. These books will teach you the basics and set you on the path.
I’m thoroughly enjoying the process. I’ve heard of many creative types who’ve struggled to produce any work recently. If you’re like me and are finding it hard to concentrate, this may just be the way back to the creative zone. Limiting colour and size simplifies your choices and you never feel the need to produce something impressive or ‘worthy’. Time disappears and each line takes on its own dimension and purpose.
A zentangle is a puzzle of your own creation and only you know how to solve it. Highly recommended creative escapism.
Last week I attended the Heritage Forum which was one of the events kicking off the Reconnect Heritage events weekend. There were a number of presentation that brought us up to date with heritage buildings and projects in Christchurch and Waimakariri.
Attendees found out about the progress of the digital earthquake archive Ceismic. This is a great source for anyone looking for first-hand earthquake stories, images and recollections in a variety of formats and from many sources, including Christchurch City Libraries. One (of many) collection of note is the digitised copies of The Press from September 2010 to February 2011 inclusive, plus 14 June 2011 and 22 February 2012.
It was great to hear how work is progressing on the Arts Centre. The project to restore the complex is going very well – keep up to date on their Tumblr page. I was fascinated to hear Brendan and Victoria’s presentation about the restoration of their heritage home in Lyttelton. They had just finished restoring their house when the first earthquake struck and following February and June had to go through the whole process again with additional bureaucracy.
Christchurch now has a unique opportunity to explore its archaeology and Underground Overground Archaeology are making the most of this. Fascinating tales revealed from clues left behind by Christchurch residents can be found on their blog – find out about hotels, life for children and the Canterbury Club, as well as many more. Quake City is Canterbury Museum‘s earthquake attraction, telling the story of the quakes through objects including the cross from the top of the cathedral spire and the Godley statue.
Next we heard about the status of some heritage buildings in the Waimakariri district. Focusing on Kaiapoi and Rangiora, we heard how many heritage buildings have been lost, such as Blackwells and the Rangiora Masonic Lodge, or are likely to go, such as Kaiapoi’s Bank of New Zealand. However, Waimakariri District Council’s Landmarks scheme is being developed to research and celebrate surviving and lost heritage buildings.
After their building was severely damaged in the February earthquake Lyttelton Museum had to salvage their entire collection, in collaboration with the Lyttelton Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Air Force Museum of NZ. This collection, and many others made homeless by the earthquakes, is now being taken care of at the Canterbury Cultural Collections Recovery Centre based at the Air Force Museum.
I had to leave before I could hear the presentation about post-quake Akaroa, but I really enjoyed hearing about what is being done to preserve the region’s built heritage, remember the earthquakes and uncover more about Christchurch’s past.