Sandra's Designing Blog

This is an exclusive area of my web site where you can find out more about my knitted designs, what inspires me, how I work and what I like (and don't like) to design. 
 
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Category: Mindfulness Crafting

  1. 3 small bowls

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    Pottery and Mindfulness Crafting: My Journey to Inner Peace

    In today's fast-paced world, finding creative outlets that fosters mindfulness has been incredibly rewarding for me
    Earlier this year I decided to join a pottery class at The Clay Mill in Slaithwaite where I could start to learn the craft in a 6 week course (1 afternoon a week),

     The process of shaping clay whilst it's spinning on the wheel brought me a profound sense of calm and satisfaction. I was surprised how the process did just take over my mind and empty it out; it stopped the niggly thinking and agitation.

    Learning to Spin on the Wheel

    My journey began with learning to spin on the potters wheel. This practice demanded focus and patience as I centered the clay and guided it with steady hands. The rhythmic motion of the wheel and the tactile sensation of the clay beneath my fingers created a deeply immersive experience. 

    3 Small Bowls

    I started with throwing small bowls, a perfect introduction to pottery. These manageable projects allowed me to practice and refine my techniques without feeling overwhelmed. As I molded and shaped each piece, I experimented with different forms and sizes, finding joy in the imperfections and unique qualities of each creation. 

    Playing with Colors

    Once my bowls were formed and dried, the next step was to play with colors. Selecting glazes and mixing hues allowed me to express my creativity and individuality. The anticipation of seeing how the colors would transform in the kiln added an element of excitement and wonder. 

    Painting the Glaze On

    With each brushstroke, I lost myself in the gentle rhythm of applying the glaze. This act of painting encouraged mindfulness, as I focused on the texture and coverage of the glaze, ensuring each piece was evenly coated. 

    Waiting for Results

    The final stage of pottery was perhaps the most challenging for me: waiting for the results. Once my glazed bowls were placed in the kiln, I had to wait for the firing process to complete. When the kiln was finally opened, the sense of anticipation and excitement was unparalleled, as I witnessed the transformation of my creations.

    Conclusion

    Pottery has become more than just a craft for me; it is a journey of mindfulness and self-discovery. From the initial steps of learning to spin on the wheel to the final reveal of my glazed creations, each stage offered an opportunity to practice presence, patience, and creativity. 

    I MUST join the classes again in September.

  2. Zentangled Knitting - is that possible?

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     At the beginning of the year I promised myself that I was going to take care of me this year.

    I have taken time out to embark on mindful activities, thinking these may help my mental health (well they couldn't harm me). My local village Slaithwaite is great for delivering crafty workshops and finding those that I could throw myself into was easy. 

    So earlier on this week I tried my hand at Zentangle. 
     
    Find out how to create Zentangles here

    So what is Zentangling?  I think of it a form of doodling but a bit more structured and yet it isn't. An abstract art form of repetitive patterns drawn on paper usually with a black marker pen. The patterns can be various forms of hash lines, circles, triangles, squares, flowers, spirals, paisleys, etc. The overall image can be something familiar like a bird or a flower, or any geometric or abstract shape.


    So I started by drawing round my hand, outlining finger tips, drawing on patterns, connecting the fingertips with swirly lines to other parts of the hand, adding in knuckles and colouring in shapes.  I started simple and then went deeper without really thinking about it, without really thinking about anything. 

    Today, I wondered whether it was possible to create Zentangled knitting, some mindless knitting that was more abstractly creative than the knitting you do in front of the TV.
    I thought about the different knitting techniques and how I would use them in Zentangle designs, for example with Fair Isle patterns I could use simple repeating motifs and geometric shapes working in 2 contrasting colours (ie black and white); lace patterns could be used to incorporate repeating shapes and intricate details. With cables and travelling stitches I could take my knitting off in different directions and the duplicate stitch technique could be used  to add Zentangle-inspired motifs directly onto the surface of the fabric. 

    I also considered the full project and how I  would have to plan the design in advance and consider how the patterns would fit together within the structure of the knitted fabric. I could experiment with different stitch patterns, color combinations, and techniques to achieve the desired effect. 

    For me, it seemed creating Zentangled knitting, whilst possible, it would take away the mindfullness I felt when I created the zentangled hand. Too much planning up front! 

    As freeform crochet is a more intuitive and improvisational approach to crochet where you create shapes and textures without following a specific pattern. I'm thinking that you can incorporate Zentangle-inspired motifs into your freeform crochet by working different stitches and shapes in a structured and repetitive manner.

    I think I need to have a serious zentangle crochet play one day soon. 

    Thank you for joining me in my Zentangle ramblings today. 


    Sandra