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Friday, December 11, 2015

On the tenth day of Christmas,

Bijou gave to me, 
some thoughts on creativity.

CREATE

Molly emails Rick:
Just found this . . . not sure if you want to include it in the blog today.


Actually not sure what it is from – it just appeared in my photos. Weird.
 
Rick writes:
Those synchronicities happen a lot around here. That "B" which Molly found is an illuminated letter (gold leaf) that Maria and I tangled as we gave a keynote speech at the Craft and Hobby Association convention in Anaheim, California, a couple years ago. Thanks, Molly!

Maria and I recently traveled to Taiwan and Malaysia for a series of book-signings and lectures. The trip was beyond wonderful – full of amazing and beautiful people and beautiful patterns. It was a thrill and honor and we continue to bask in the memories.

On our last day in Taipei, Taiwan, we got up early to get ready for our trip to the airport to come home. Wanting to savor every precious moment there, I walked across the street to the Shandao Temple a bit before 6AM. As I climbed the steps, I could hear the monks were already singing as the subtle incense greeted me. I was the only other person there. I sat down to absorb a few last minutes of that atmosphere.

I watched my thoughts go to the topic of service. I thought about "service to others" vs. "service to self." But I was not comfortable with that dichotomy. Then the phrase, "service to creation" crossed my mind and I promptly reached into my pocket for pen and paper and wrote, "Serve creation by creating!" Ahh, I felt our trip was complete and I walked back to the hotel for our ride to the airport.

To create is, by definition, in harmony with creation. Once creativity begins to flow, it feels as if all creation supports that event. As someone described, it's like "stepping into the slipstream of creation." 

"mamie p" wrote in the comments to yesterday's "Come out of your shell" post, "Sometimes the hardest part of coming out of my shell is making that first stroke . . . then the rest comes to take the final step of admiration and enjoyment."

Thank you. That is so profound.

Our invitation to all of you is to make that first stroke.

One of the gifts of the Zentangle Method is that it sets up a comfortable "elegance of limits" within which you can do just that, without worry or self-criticism.

And once you create that first beautiful mark, you're there . . . in that inspiring, gentle, resonant flow of creativity – of creation. And you realize that you can be there . . . whenever and wherever you want.


Maria writes:
I am a true believer in fate. In fact, fate inserts itself ​into my life so often, that I can't even tell anyone about it anymore lest they think I have fallen off my "twilight zone" rocker. Little things appear on a regular basis out of nowhere and just make my life ever so . . . interesting.

When Molly came to me and said we were doing these Twelve Days of Bijou, I thought, "OMG, this is way too much work for this time of year!" But as usual, I listen to my children, like a dutiful child. And, I have always been glad I did.

These ornaments are practically making themselves. We have not bought one special thing to do this project. All "stuff" we found around the house. Snippets of ribbons, string, tchotchkes, and trinkets – hiding out at the bottom of forgotten drawers and sewing baskets. Useless pieces of old jewelry and broken ornaments practically appeared as needed.

This morning, I remembered a tin of broken tea cups I have been keeping, thinking that someday I would use them for "something." My Dad (an angel, for sure) had given me some fabulous old tea cups that belonged to his mom. They did not have much, so these were really valuable to me. One day, they broke – a long story, but I cried all day.

As soon as I thought of those broken cups, I ran into my sewing/ironing/dressing room and grabbed a piece. Just holding it in my hands was a thrill: I had never before so appreciated the patterns, raised braille-like and illuminated with gold on the white china. Spectacular! (And Alfie's fav, too.)


Again, the concept of the "elegance of limits" came to mind. Like days gone by, people would make things out of other things. They had no craft stores to run to, no books on what to make with bits of rawhide or pottery shards. They saved everything because that's what they had to work with. And I believe those limited supplies inspired them do things they otherwise never would have – rag dolls, re-fashioned bicycles, clothing out of old clothing . . .

Molly and I were determined to CREATE using found (albeit around the house) objects. And what better a found object than that piece of cup?


Creativity was my best friend growing up. It never left my side. It would wake me in the night; cause my brain to explode in the middle of church. It also made me comfortable to be alone at times, even in a household bustling with numerous siblings, and later on, my kids. Creativity was the biggest gift in my lifetime. Was it handed down to me? Or was I just born this way? Aren't we all born this way?

However you come to it or it comes to you, or when, Please, Please, don't let it get away. Don't let it fade. Hold onto it with all you got. 

CREATE.


This is our gift to you. It is your gift to yourself. Treasure it!

If you don't believe you are capable of it, just pick up a piece of paper and start to tangle.

There it is . . . see it?

Feel it?

It's lovely. Really, just lovely.

-----+-----

Winning, randomly chosen commenters from the Ninth Day:
  • Kimmie 
  • Chrissie Frampton 
  • Laura Carpenter 

Congratulations! Winners, please send your snail mail address to Zentangle (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments!

Rick, Maria, Bijou, Molly, and Alfie 

62 comments:

Paula (PEP) said...

Aaaah so Alfie is your little elf's name - that makes sense. Thought provoking post once again.......... thank you.
Paula (PEP)

Jennifer Matthaei Cottrell said...

Another great post! You guys are great!!

Nancy Roth said...

this is such a thoughtful and well written post today. once again, you have touched my heart. Thank you Rick, Maria, Bijou, Molly, and Alfie

Ellen said...

Create, just do. I have this as my mantra now that I allow myself to do and create and not feel quilty for what I might have to do as a grownup, an adult, a house-owner, a daughter and a friend. And creating from "found" treasure is a double pleasure

JAMIE HERRON said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for this spiritually-infused tenth day. Great appreciation for the powers that be: that brought the photo of the Be Creative illuminated letter to Molly and her, acting on her inspiration to bring it forward for the tenth day of Christmas
Rick, I LOVE what came to you in the temple, it reminded me of things I felt long ago, it is the nudge I needed to bring me back out into the wonder of creation for creation's sake.

And last but never least, Maria's cherishing of the broken pieces of pottery and ceramics.... How beautiful they are, just as they are... and having them around to remind and inspire ~ perfection!

Sending great love to you all!

Chrissie Frampton said...

I feel so lucky to have won and have sent my snail mail address to you. I also, appreciate the amount of time that you are putting into the 12 days of Christmas, it's such a busy time of year and I love looking forward to the next day's blog.

NanW said...

Every day you send us more inspiration and creative beauty.

Such Stuff said...

Thank you for all these wonderful inspirations. There's more than I personally can do before Christmas, but I'm going to have a group in next Saturday just to create and be...Guess what we will be doing?!

Holly Moseley said...

I am continually struck by how much beauty people (especially women, but also the men - craftsmen!) created with their scraps and everyday things. I see it still as I drive through the countryside - haybales decorated creatively (and often humorously), fenceposted decorated with old boots, deer and elk antlers serving as the "bars" on a porch, old telephone pole insulators reflecting light on a porch railing or holding small plants. Recycling, repurposing, renewing - these are still part of this country (the high plains where I now live) where we still must often "make do". And usually, along the way, the folks here make beauty in the doing.

Lori said...

Zentangle awakened a place in my heart for seeing the beauty in everyday, simple things. For that, I thank you.

Mamie P. said...

Thank you for opening my mind and heart to all the creativity of Zentangle. Your words of wisdom in these blogs have really been a blessing to me lately ~~ calming, refreshing, encouraging. Taking a bit of time to create daily allows a person to be more open and understanding in all the things that surround us. I like coming back from creativity with new eyes for everything! Blessings to you all!

Shelly Beauch said...

Life is full of surprises and beautiful little surprises happen to me every day. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I'm never bored, I always have something to do, create or aspire to. Thank you for this wonderful post...and the beautiful B

Angelia Lanouette said...

Today's post is very inspiration...I really enjoyed it! For me, sometimes that first step to create something new is the hardest. Then I wonder why I hesitated to start. Thank You!

MartyG said...

Create. I feel compelled to create everyday. Whether it is in needlework, zentangle, or at this time of year, beautifully wrapped packages with handmade gift tags. Thank you for posting these 12 days of Christmas. MartyG

Cathrine n said...

Creativity is key to life...imho!

tangled said...

Once again, your words of wisdom are an inspiration. Beauty can be found in the simplest of things. Finding Zentangle has helped me see beauty everywhere & be more creative than I ever thought possible. Thank you one and all.

Onefineteacher said...

The creativity from all of you inspires me SO much! Thank you for giving me a nudge to look around and be inspired by objects I already have! I can give those items a new life and purpose just by looking with different eyes!

Donna Pilato, CZT18 said...

This has definitely been the most inspiring post of these 10 days. Just beautiful. Thank you.

Lynn Jarrett said...

I always keep broken pieces of special plates, tea cups, coffee cups, vases, etc. Someday I intend to make a mosaic and have it as a "special memories" work of art. Some of my pieces are cups and plates from my Grandmother, Mom, lifelong friends, and co-workers. I may decide to send some of my pieces to a company that makes earrings and pins out of broken tea and coffee cups. My beloved tea cup and saucer in the Blue Willow pattern broke quite a few years ago (along with my heart). I was able to save most of the pieces for use later.

My part-time job is working in a small town public library. For our holiday bulletin board, we are all decorating a paper stocking with our name on it. Everyone is decorating their stockings with bits and pieces of colored paper, etc. Not me . . . I decided to decorate my stocking with Zentangle patterns!! I just know it will be the best one on the bulletin board. I will try to get a photo to send you.

I like this idea of attaching a piece of a memory to a piece of Zentangle inspired art. It makes it so much more special. I will keep that in mind to use for surprises.

Thank you for doing these "days of Christmas." I have really enjoyed them. Okay, now back to completing my stocking. . .

Taz42 said...

Every day has been so inspiring. You have shown us that with simple tools and materials, we can all create something beautiful. Thank you.

Lady Dragoness said...

Creation - or that desire - is something I let fade far too often. I need to put the desire to work far more often than I do. Thanks for providing such profound inspiration.

Dorian said...

Wonderful memory Maria...today I was in a shop that up cycled China shards into jewelry. One was a pattern of simple snowflakes and all tangly.

gobarb26 said...

Another great Bijouism. I think we are born to create in our own individual ways. What a wonderful gift that God has given to us. We are truly blessed! More great ornaments and I love that you are just using what you find! That is really a gift...

Sarah Hluchy said...

I cannot function without using the creative process, whether it be Zentangle, loom knitting, weaving, or other art. I have to be making something. It's how I cope with the stresses of life.

Leslie Hancock said...

I have so enjoyed your 12 Bijou Days of Christmas. Wish there could be more. Thank you. Leslie CZT #17

Charchick said...

I love that you are using found treasures around your home to create these beautiful ornaments. You inspired me to make a Zen tangle ornament for my tree this year. It's little, and it makes my heart happy to know it's on the tree. I think I will encourage the children to make one on their holiday break, and we will add some original art to our sweet little tree. :) We have lots of treasures they can use...what a fun idea!

Jan Brandt said...

The depth of wisdom in this post has touched me deeply. What a journey we share! I see creativity in so much more of what I do daily than I ever thought possible. That makes for much happiness. :)

rrjncal said...

Beautiful!

Anne's tangle blog said...

Like Maria I learn so much from my (adult) children and I LOVE it!!
The last part of this post brought tears to my eyes, because I found Zentangle 4 1/2 years ago and before that I had nor drawn since I was in school.
Also love the idea of making new from old or 'useless'!!!

Janice Mantell said...

you for your inspiring words on being creative, and on the new life it offers to things that might normally be abandoned or discarded. Creativity can elevate things that are no longer "useful" into beautiful, delightful,and precious treasures!

Petrified Peep Eater said...

I so identified with your broken teacups... and i know the feeling. But what a lovely way for them to live on.

Patgel said...

Maria your words of wisdom are just at the right time. I keep abandoning my creations, over my desk and in boxes and baskets. Today is a horrible day in Dublin, so I'll get up and I going to work in the latest tangle that is waiting in my notebook, just one stroke at the time. I will keep doing this for the rest of my break until the new year, hoping to acquire the habit in the next 21 days. Thanks for your sharing and inspiring all of us!!!

luvhymns said...

Love the treasures of people who gave such love to our lives and bring JOY to our hearts!

Sue Sharp said...

I'm In AWE of what you create and encourage in others! Who else would have thought of putting a piece of broken, sentimental teacup with tiles and tangles to create something memorable and beautiful to look at? Wow.

Laura Carpenter said...

Love love love Bijou!!

Joanne Faherty said...

I love that you have reused old thing around the house. The white and gold broken cup must have been so beautiful whole because it is gorgeous in its tiny little piece. I love how the gold looks on black too, something else for me to try. Next year who knows maybe my tree will be full of gorgeous little bijou's ornaments too😊. My 4 year old wants to learn Mummy's pretty patterns' ( as she calls them) so that's what we will be doing over the holidays 😊

Lucy said...

Your words are so inspiring, and they're so accurate. Whenever I feel like I've lost my creativity, tangling helps bring it back.

Melaine L said...

A dear friend gave me a pewter bracelet with the inspiring words 'create beauty everyday' and I constantly try to live up to that mantra, whether it's in the form of art or just a random act of kindness. Love the inspiring words.

Christine Ruhnke said...

I was lead to Zentangle by an intuitive experiment. I had never heard the word before. A little more than a year later, I was taking the cerification class. I have been on a bit of a spiritual journey for the past 3-4 years and today's post just pulled it all together for me. THANK YOU for your words, for sharing your creative gifts with us, and for creating this beautiful community. I feel very much at home here and I am forever grateful. With love, Christine R -czt21

webster said...

Another lovely Bijou to share.
Thank you/

Laura Oldham said...

Just reading this post (and all the others in this series) makes me feel so very deeply happy. I, too, believe that creating from that space within, with the intention to discover, is at the center of a beautiful life. I loved reading about the tea cups--and how pieces of long-ago treasures can bring 'peaces' to our hearts and find new ways to be in today.

Phyllis C said...

I have neglected my tangling due to the craziness of getting everything done for the holidays. Now I realize that was a mistake. I need to create for me so I can remain calm. Today I will set aside a time for me, and I will create.🐌. 🐌. 🐌

Ginny Stiles said...

Creativity was my best friend growing up. It never left my side. It would wake me in the night; cause my brain to explode in the middle of church. It also made me comfortable to be alone at times, even in a household bustling with numerous siblings, and later on, my kids. Creativity was the biggest gift in my lifetime. Was it handed down to me? Or was I just born this way? Aren't we all born this way?

However you come to it or it comes to you, or when, Please, Please, don't let it get away. Don't let it fade. Hold onto it with all you got.

I plan to save this quote from Maria and use it in my journal of thoughts. Just wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I know when I put down that first stroke it's the start of something that gives me happiness. Also, I have some synchronicity going on in my life too and it's amazing. Jackie S CZT XIII

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! As always, your creativity is contagious! Love, Cheryl C.

Melissa Cahn said...

Recycle, reuse, re-cherish the objects and the memories. I too have objects tucked away ready to be used in a new creative way. Thanks for the push to use them with bijoux tiles.

LOVEY kaye said...

Wonderful!

elianna987 said...

I absolutely love the gold lettering. My goal for 2016 is to learn how to do that. Thanks!

Maureen Stott said...

Thank you, Rick and Maria, for this awesome post. I often don't recognize when I am being creative. If I am not producing a "work of art" I take it for granted. Thank you for expressing creativity so elequently!

And an added bonus...I can point to your blog when my children think I am a horder because of all the odds and ends I save. So, thank you for that too! It is so affirming to know that I am not alone! Looking forward to your next blog...

Angela Werner said...

"Serve creation by creating"! Wow, that is going to support my creativity and give me the inspiration to spark others for the rest of my life. Thanks, Rick! Thanks also to Molly and Maria to constantly prod me along with their delightful inspiration!

Natureluvr57 said...

I may be in a bad mood or don't feel well for whatever reason and IF I can just make myself pick up something, a pen, pencil, crochet hook and get going, I get lost in the moment. I enjoy the process and don't want to stop because it's a "natural high". Then I wonder why it was so hard to begin something that makes me feel so good. So it's so true what you say.

Ester Massuger said...

Great post! I think I'm guilty of letting my creativity slip away sometimes. I sometimes find people are not as enthusiastic as I can be, and then I think: just let this idea pass for now...

Deborah Lee said...

Love this post about creativity which is one of my pet topics. Creativity doesn't just apply to works of art in all its forms. We are creators from the day we are born. We create a life for ourselves. In that process of creation we use whatever materials come to hand and meld that with our own personal talents which is our raw material. I think we are all born with the power of creativity, but a lot of it gets stomped on by the educational system. The majority of students are not taught to think outside the box or to develop the ability of creative problem solving. This is a skill we all need to deal with the stuff of everyday life. Even in college, I was taught to think like a sheep - suck up what the prof had to say and spew it back to him/her would get me a good mark. Thinking differently would get me a "C" at most.

The most creative person I have ever met is our handyman. We live in an old house with lots of idiosyncrasies, and it always amazes me how he comes up with solutions for fixing things. I love to watch him work.

Wendy said...

I feel as though I'm coming home when I pick up a pen, or a crochet hook, or harvest a pile of flax and begin to weave ,or draw, or crochet. Aaaaah

Andrea said...

Love the conversation on fate and no mistakes. My life is a running script of that concept.

Gerri Hanus said...

I do look forward to these posts this time of year. Always inspiring. A wonderful creative muse.

Beryl Prusinoski said...

Does anyone have Zentangle dreams? I had one last night (I've only been doing this two months). All during the dream, the ground was in patterns. Sometimes I had to do the tangle, but then I would have to wait for instructions as to what pattern to use, so I could not move further.

Marjorie said...

Thank you for the thoughts, simple but profound and amazing in its intent and delivery. Thiese comments on creativity affects how I teach and reach those students too reserved or just "too. . . " to try just one stroke.
Sometime I hope that you speak to the doubting person who never believes in what they are doing and creating no matter what is said or shown. So hard to reach.

Tina M. said...

Thank You for the beautiful thoughts. I grew up in a place where people rely on their creativity and ingenuity to make things using simple tools and materials they can find in their surroundings. And the country is filled with beautiful sought after artworks and everyday items. In the US, that concept is lost on me. Now that I'm older, I seem to gravitate back to the old ways of doing things, of using whatever tools and materials I could find around the house to make or create something. It's so refreshing to see you both create your beautiful artwork using the concept of "elegance of limits." It is elegant, indeed. Thank You for your gifts of creativity and artistic endeavors that inspired us all. Namaste.

Mindy Shapiro said...

20 some years ago I had chronic back pain. I went to many healers- eastern and western. One was an herbalist who was a bit creepy but who gave me the most important lesson in my healing- he told me I needed to do art. I had stopped doing art for many many years. I started soon after- papercutting and then one day about four years ago I won a Zentangle book for my local bookstore and the rest is history- I trained as a CZT in June 2014. Yes, it is all about being creative.

Dana Jones said...

These were such beautiful stories. Maria's brought tears to my eyes. I think of all the old junk I threw away after my mom died, and I realize now that maybe it wasn't all junk after all. She left behind history, and memories, and sparks for creativity that I let go of. Thanks for reminding me that there is beauty in everything, and creativity always just on the horizon.

Zen with a pen said...

First, I love Alfie and that he was part of the twelve days.

Maria, I appreciate your comment: However you come to it or it comes to you, or when, Please, Please, don't let it get away. Don't let it fade. Hold onto it with all you got.

My creativity has gone away and I'm determined to get it back. I've been frustrated for months that I've lost it and this afternoon, I'm going to schedule some time just for me. I've missed all of your twelve days and I'm also determined to take the time and read through them all. Thank you