It’s safe to say we could all use some relaxing, meditative art practices right about now. WBCA artist Sue Swanson is here to help. Along with jewelry classes, Sue teaches Zentangle art at WBCA, a meditative doodling practice.
Sue noted how many artists are having to cancel classes and events, and also the paper product shortages in grocery stores. That led her to think, how could she combine these two different ideas?
“Some of us are frustrated and feel the need to vent,” Sue said.
This led her to think about her Cursive 2 Zentangle design. She developed this design in part because she believes in the importance of cursive, and how it helps to balance right brain and left brain functions. “It encourages hand-eye coordination by keeping the words flowing,” she said.
According to Sue, “This tangle is based on cross writing which is a method of combining two sections of text, one written over the other at right angles.” In other words, it’s a way to journal in secret, writing over your notes, rendering them unreadable. This way, you can vent frustration, secrets, fears—anything—and then send them into the ether.
Cross writing even has historical roots. In fact, the Brontë sisters used to do it, and Jane Austen mentioned it in one of her novels. Why has this practice continued throughout the years? For one reason, it conserves paper! Paper was expensive in Victorian times, and so people would reuse it by writing over text in the opposite direction, so that the writing was still legible.
From its historical roots Sue has developed a more mindful, artistic approach to cross-writing. “Sometimes I need to rant in my journal and cross writing makes my writing a little more private. So it is perfect for writing things I don’t want anyone else to read and maybe even “cursing” a bit,” she said.
So for anyone who needs to vent, here are the steps to create the Cursive2 tangle:
Write horizontally as normal.
Turn the paper 90° and write over what you have written.
Color in the negative spaces in between the words to turn the text into a work of art!
“Give Cursive 2 a whirl! Curves and curls, Spirals and spontaneity keep our minds soothed. Plus, you have such a sense of pleasure . . . feeling your pen in your hand, your hand coming in contact with the paper, your mind attuned to the work at hand. Finding satisfaction and reward in your art helps you to stay upbeat and alert. Art heals!”
Cursive2 Tangle Designed by Sue
Come Walk the Labyrinth!
These days many people are walking the Woodbury trails. I would like to invite you to step off the trail just a few paces and walk my labyrinth. The labyrinth is a path of peace - a walking path that leads to the center with no dead ends. It is designed to calm and quiet the mind. I'm located on the east side of Seasons Park directly across from the baseball fields. The address is 1258 Saddlebrook Lane. There is parking at the baseball fields off of Silverwood. We have a 2 story white house and the labyrinth is beside the large oak tree. I will put out a sign so that you can find it. There are information sheets along with a journal for yourreflections on this unusual time. May you walk in peace
Here is a copy of the information sheet
Welcome to the Labyrinth!
This labyrinth is a 7-Circuit Classical Labyrinth design. It was built in 1999 to celebrate the World Labyrinth Walk for the dawning of the new millennium on 12/31/1999. Anyone is welcome to walk at any time. Even though it is pretty early in the season the labyrinth path is dry enough to walk.
A labyrinth is a path of peace. It is a continuous path that leads to the center with no trick or dead-ends like a maze. There is a journal at the entrance where you may jot down any thoughts or reflections your have.
May you find peace in this time of uncertainty.
You may ‘walk’ the labyrinth through the paths (circuits) to the center.
As you travel to the center, RELEASE all your thoughts.
As you pause in the center, RECEIVE and listen.
As you travel the same path in the reverse direction, RETURN to the beginning.
And as you finish the journey, REFLECT on this time of contemplation.
To find a labyrinth Google labyrinth locator and input your ZIP code. The Labyrinth Society (thelabyrinthsociety.org) has information about labyrinth patterns and designs.
For information on local events join our Facebook group Minnesota Labyrinth Network.
Hymns are very comforting to me in stressful times.
In this time of quiet in my home I think of the words of
John Greenleaf Whittier from
Dear Lord and Father of
It has a fascinating background. Charles Ives set it to music in the
song Serenity (available to listen to on Spotify and streaming services).
I find listening to it to be very comforting:
"Drop thy still dews of quietness,
till all our strivings cease;
take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess
the beauty of thy peace."
Another helpful hymn is Abide with Me
Abide with me;
fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens;
Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail
and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless,
oh, abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out
life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim,
its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not,
abide with me
I love the image of God with us in the suffering.
We will all be changed by this experience.
Hopefully we will come out the other side as more compassionate people.
Yesterday I was thinking about the book of Esther in the Old Testament. My mother's name was Esthermae and I always loved this story about the Queen of the Jews. " For if you remain silent at this time relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place but you and your father's family will perish and who knows whether you have not come to the Kingdom for such a time as this." So how do we use our voices of power and resources at this transitional time?