Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"B" by Julie Tomanoco

Monday, November 18, 2013

Just Be ...

I never thought in a million years I would be a teacher. But alas hear I am ... life's journey has led me down this amazing road and though I know it is my job to give guidance and support to my students in the end I feel like the lucky one who is learning so much from all the creative minds that find their way to may class. It is actually become quite profound, that I go home with some amazing lesson, sentiment or discovery during each class I teach.
Before most of my classes I try to take a moment, maybe take a couple of deep breaths to unwind from the day. I extend this to my students and encourage them for the next 2 hours to allow themselves to be in the present ... to let go of the day and not dwell on tomorrow.
Easier said than done though right. I think I often practice this idea ... but then there is life and well you forget how important it is to do this.
I had a wonderful class last week. It was in the midst of a particular busy time for me and though the class was wonderful and exciting, I was full of stress and probably a bit more stuck in what had happened earlier that day and what was to happen tomorrow, instead of just being completely there.
We happened to working on this beautiful project where we were tangling around letters and then gilding the letters. Everyone's work was coming out so beautiful and I was in complete awe. Most people had picked letters from there names or had referenced they were doing it for a friend. However, I did have one student working on a letter and I knew it wasn't for her first name or her last name, so I asked her.
"Julie, what is the "B"for?" 
Without hesitation she replied, "Oh, just to remind me to BE in the moment."
I was kinda stopped in my tracks. As I of course thought this was a direct message to me ...
So,thank you Julie, for reminding me to embrace, awaken, and of course just "be" in the moment.

I am still waiting to see the end result of that beautiful "B". 
Here are some photos of some of the other wonderful creations done that night.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

String Theory Tonight!

There is still time to register for tonight's class! 

Beyond Basics - “String theory”
Come explore the world of Zentangle strings. This basic skill brings huge depth to your Zentangle art and teaches you to dive right into creating. Students will learn how to confidently put pencil to paper and work with the strings you create without any worry or planning.  We will dig deeper into incorporating different tangles into interesting shapes opening up opportunities and surprises, allowing the string to dictate the journey.  

So where did the idea of the string come from? 
Why is it a fundamental component of the Zentangle Method?
How has it transcended over the years?
How to learn to create them, love them and let go of them?
What metaphors are hidden within?

All to be discovered tonight?

See you soon!


Friday, August 16, 2013

Learning to read "betweed" the lines.

There are certain emotions and experiences in life that can never exactly be translated into words ... but what if there was language that could? One that all cultures could use and understand. A language that was unique to each person. A language that reflected how we all have a different mark to leave in our world, in our hearts and on our tiles of course.

When I teach Zentangle I try find the fine line between teaching my students how to draw specific tangles with enough guidance that they understand, but also trying not to be so specific that they are unable to discover their own unique approach.  Many times my students will digest what I have said in such a way that they discover or create something totally new.

Last night my class and I created a monotangle tile with "betweed". The way that each person took this tangle into their own hands was awesome. Each tile became such a unique expression of this very simple collection of lines on paper. Each tile stood alone as a wonderful piece of artwork and also played such a strong role as part our Zentangle mosaic.

This was an adult class I taught at a local library except we had on very young adult in the class (age 10) ... I am sure that you would never guess which tile is hers ... so amazing!

Cheers everyone ... here's to reading "betweed" the lines.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday is Zentangle night at The Victorian!

Fall Schedule 2013

September 5th, 6 - 8pm - Introduction to Zentangle
September 12th, 6 - 8pm - Beyond Basics - “String theory” 
September 19th, 6 - 8pm - Beyond Basics - Grid tangles 
September 19th, 8:15 - 9pm - Zentangle Meditation Session
September 26th, 6 - 8pm - Beyond Basics - A trip to “Tripoli” 
October 3rd, 6 - 8pm - Beyond Basics – Monotangles
October 3rd, 8:15 - 9pm - Zentangle Meditation Session
October 10th, 6 - 8pm - The Illuminated letter 
October 17th, 6 - 8pm - TBA
October 24th, 6 - 8pm - Intro to Black Zentangle tiles 
October 24th, 8:15 - 9pm - Zentangle Meditation Session
October 31st, 6 - 8pm - TBA
November 7 - Beyond Basics - Tangle to Tangle 
November 14 - TBA

Full class descriptions and information under the "classes" page of this blog.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A delight

Sometimes in life we experience how the gathering of people can create something very special. Most of the time we cannot plan how all of our unique minds will come together, but once in a while it almost seems magical. Last night I taught a group of the most wonderful, creative minds. Their ages ranged from 6 to 16. Each one of them coming from different different places, but finding themselves all in the same place this particular night for a Zentangle class at the Library. The attention and focus of these kids was above and beyond anything I could ever expected at the end of a hot and sticky Summer day. They followed along intently, digesting all the steps of the Zentangle method. And then without hesitation took my instructions and used them as propellers to take their artwork in directions I had never seen before. I enjoy and learn so much from every class I teach. I woke up this morning with a smile, eagerly going back to look at the pictures of the amazing tiles that these kids created. I couldn't help thinking how special it was to watch how the energy of 20 different kids came together one night at the library.

Tiles created by kids at the Sutton Public Library.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

There's a light ...

When my husband and I were planning our "wedding" we wanted to pick a special song to play as we entered the ceremony. It just so happened that during the months working up to our special day, one of favorite bands came out with a new album. It seemed to be the soundtrack of our life for a couple of months and there was a particular song that described so much of what we felt about entering a new part of our lives together that we decided to make it part of the ceremony. 
We don't listen to that album as much anymore but when we do, I smile and remember how important the words are to me. 
I heard this song on the radio the other day ... they never play it on the radio, so I took it as a sign.

If you feel like singing a song
And you want other people to sing along
Just sing what you feel
Don't let anyone say it's wrong

And if you're trying to paint a picture
But you're not sure which colors belong
Just paint what you see
Don't let anyone say it's wrong

I took it as a sign to wallow in the feeling that the lyrics and melody inspired. Luckily that feeling lingered long after the song was over and I continued my day with a smile and a recharged confidence in myself and paths I have traveled ... and an optimism to all the journies ahead.

I am including a Zendala I just finished that seemed to speak these thoughts to me and also a tile my Mom did a while back that I just loved so much that she gave it to me. I have had it on my refrigerator for over a year and every time I see it ... it just makes me refocus for a moment. 


Because there's a light (what light)
Inside of you


Saturday, April 13, 2013

A little smile in every tile ...

I think I got it this time. I had a lovely time with this tile. I especially liked the part of the Diva's post about her son's smile. Sooooo powerful and his smile is beautiful and such an amazing story of overcoming the odds. Smiles have always been a huge part of my life and am so happy that they are a part of his too.

I run. And I know how fortunate I am to be able to do this. So I have this thing that I say to myself, "a little smile in every mile". That little smile usually turns into a bigger one, until sometimes I am outright laughing on the side of the road. I don't know ... I think it is therapeutic. 
Lately I feel the same way about Zentangle. How lucky I feel to be able to sit down and create. I often find myself at the end of a tile looking and admiring it and giving it a little smile. So in a way I am putting "a little smile in every tile".
Enjoy the weekend!


Monday, April 1, 2013

Comfort Zone and Challenge #111

A couple of years ago a very talented Certified Zentangle Teacher started a blog called I am the Diva. One of the features of this blog is a weekly Zentangle challenge. This challenge has become an inspiration and a community for so many creative minds. I have followed and admired her blog for years. I have watched how she has touched and inspired so many. I have also participated in many of the challenges, but I have never submitted or shared my results, mostly because of technical reasons.

So this week I decided I would begin taking part in challenge and make an effort to learn how to submit my work(still learning). So I read the challenge for week #111. I thought what a great challenge. I set a goal of taking on the challenge and created two tiles. After they were complete,I went back on her blog to learn how to submit my work and upon doing so reread the original post ... HA HA HA ... I had totally misinterpreted the challenge. Not a deal breaker, but actually pretty funny.

For some reason in my head I had originally read it and came out with the challenge being choose a tangle that is outside your comfort zone. I loved the idea of this. The diva mentioned that Mooka was her tangle that she for one reason or another avoids. And I agreed that I also tend to ignore that particular tangle. So off I went to creating. I decided I would pick two tangles that I had considered outside my comfort zone and would create one tile with each.
The first being Poke root. 
I thought if I went crazy with it, I could find some way to love it.
And then on the second tile I picked Mooka.

Well, come to find out that was not the challenge. Not sure how I missed that one. But it worked out in the end in couple of ways.
  • For one, the challenge actually was to use all Mooka on one tile. Which I ended up doing anyway. So yay ... awesome.
  • This process of choosing a tangle outside my comfort zone was enlightening and fun and through this whole journey I have decided to move both Poke root and Mooka into my comfort zone. I have learned that there sometimes there is benefit and discovery in challenging or pushing yourself to try something new or go in a different direction.
  • And lastly ... this situation has taught me to slow down and read things with a little more focus. 
I so look forward to participating in future Challenges and it is already Monday ... time to check out what the new one is.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A snow day in Spring ...

Every once and a while here in New England we have a year where winter lingers and lingers and lingers ... and all the so called pretty parts of winter seem to have a long faded away. We recently had another day where I was once again stuck in the house due to snow. I started this day frustrated with everything and all together bummed out. However, for some reason during the middle of this day that began so dreary I was reminded of this quote by Albert Camus that my mother had tattooed on one of the walls in my house growing up:

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer."
I probably read these words at least once a day since I could read and so on until a left for college. It wasn't till then that I learned that my mother was not after all the the author of this quote (though she is quite profound and must have found something poignant or inspiring about it). It was also not until I was in college that also learned that the quote continued on.
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
Wow,  Is there a little bird that I can hire to sing this to me on those days where nothing seems to be going right? or even better maybe I should tattoo it on my wall?

... well however it made its way back into my head on this recent day, I am so glad it did.  

So as I was saying about my recent snow day ... Maybe that is what happened when I all of a sudden was thinking about this quote. Why out of no where, on a day that seemed so dreary and nothing was going right, and everything outside my window looked ugly. Maybe this why within minutes on this day, all of this changed. The day started to brighten and I suddenly remembered that I had promised two of my students that when Easter came we would tangle some eggs. Which made me think Spring. Which made me smile. I immediately blew out some eggs and began to cover the shell with tangles. The process went so fast and the during the time spent getting lost in my tangles, my whole perspective on the day and even the Winter that has been lingering and lingering and lingering seemed to be totally different and in a way totally wonderful. Instead of looking out my window and everything looking ugly, I saw a very different picture. I was loving the warmth from my stove and looking out over the snow covered lawn and discovering beautiful patterns that the shadows of the tall trees had created. I found myself cheering for the few blades of grass trying to poke through. I began thinking that this late snow was great nourishment to my garden to be. I was feeling proud of my huge pile of compost that was thanking me for all the winter meals we enjoyed.  And so I stared back at my egg and realized that this day wasn't so bad after all.

Here are some photos of the eggs I have been working on this week:

Here are the ones my students Gywn and Rachel made, they truly are amazing:


 Here is a little family portrait ... just because they look so cute in a bunch.

This is the Albert Camus quote that my mother tattooed on the wall when I was a kid.

Happy Late Winter or Early Spring ... or whatever it is you celebrate this beautiful time of year.


PS ... The eggs used were all brown local eggs, compliments of my student Rachel's Chicken Farm. I personally blew out all the eggs and learned that if you put the blown out eggshells in the microwave for a minute or so, it strengthens the shell ... who knew? We used Pigma Microns in a variety of sizes to tangle our eggs and I then brushed on Krylon's Krystal Clear finish.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nurture Oneself

For those of you that have spent any time on an airplane, the following statement will sound very familiar.

“In the event of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop down. Passengers are instructed to make sure their masks are on first before assisting other passengers or children."

Last week I was lucky enough to travel down to the National Art Educators Association Conference in Forth Worth, Texas. It was such a wonderful trip. So informative and inspiring. We met awesome people and made some really great connections as well as squeezing in some time to catch up with some old friends.

Anyway ... back to the statement form the plane. As I heard the stewardess going through the normal pre-flight routine, the phrase seemed to get stuck in my head.

Of course that makes sense to assist yourself first ... so that you are properly able to help those in need. You would of course would want a strong, healthy person caring for others. But why just in the case of oxygen masks? Why not always? If we take time to take care of ourselves and nurture ourselves in both mind and body then we will all be stronger, healthier, and ultimately have more to give to others. Right? But of course this is something that many of us so easily loose sight of. It somehow became looked at as selfish when in reality the act of nurturing oneself is bold, courageous, smart, and quite the opposite of selfish.

The trip continued on and this theme of taking care of oneself and nurturing oneself again came up. At this point I am thinking, this has gotta be a sign for me to to listen. So this time, it is my Mom speaking while her and Rick are giving a workshop at the conference. This conference is attended mostly by art teachers. People you would assume love to create art, but when they asked, "how many of them were currently creating art?" the response was slim to none. What? Is this really true? But yes the reality is ... you give give give and then all of a sudden you forget what it was that brought you to this very place. Your love for art ... the power of creativity ... the rush of it all.

It is so true. It is so easy to get out of the routine, to put things on the shelf, to whip out excuses  why you are not creating ... and then before you know it ... it is gone.

I am so guilty of all of this. Zentangle has become my tool for me to keep my hand in it. It gives me a chance to be all about me ... even if it is for only 15 minutes. It gives me somewhere to start. It reminds my hand, my body, and my soul what it feels like to create and get lost in my unique marks. And it shows me that it was worth taking a little time for me ... and ultimately makes me a stronger, happier and more confident person with more passion and energy for all the people I love.

Below are two tiles done at different times during the trip to Texas without referencing the other. I was so amazed when I later looked at them together to see how they fit:

Nurture thyself ... tap back into it. Be creative, be awesome, beautiful ... whatever it is that art makes you ... and ultimately that passion and artistry will illuminate on to others.


PS ... Just loved Forth Worth ... a very sweet little city deep in the heart ..... of Texas.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I would like to preface the following post with this statement:

I completely embrace and love many aspects of my "plugged in" life. There just comes a time when it seems to completely overwhelm our daily lives and the very thought of discussing going unplugged via the internet is a bit contradictory. I do feel that we all find our balance in different ways and that there is moderation and balance to be found in all the beautiful, interesting and indulgent things. Even this amazing digital world we live in. So ...

I had an epiphany earlier this week ... or at least what I call an epiphany. Nothing new. I have them often. Some more overwhelming than others ... just a moments of insight that change my perspective or understanding of a situation in my life. They usually occur at the peak of a stressful time ... when I have for some reason or another lost my balance for a bit ... like I think we all do from time to time.

For the most part I find these moments to be warm and wonderful.

I am a fairly busy person. I am starting to think that most of us are. It is a busy world. There is so many cool things to see and neat places to be that we are all trying to do and see it all. And then there is all the stuff that you have to do ... so it is no wonder that it all just gets busy so quickly. And then there is the constant digital feed that seems to dictate so much of how we do things. So many of us are on the phone talking and texting constantly, taking photos, posting things on our computers, our ipads, our ipods, our iwhatevers  ... just trying to stay connected. 

For the most part I really do love technology, but there comes a time, a moment when I think, I just need to disconnect for a bit. Refocus. Breath. Be here. Now. 

But I recently found that I wasn't doing that ... I had lost this balance.

For a while I had been following this routine where after dinner, after the busyness of the day was over and the kids were in bed. I would pile up all my notes and my laptop and do some work, check emails, do whatever else I could do on the internet. This is after a long day of doing just that on and off and in between everything else.  I would be tired and ready to unwind, but for some reason felt like I needed to be productive for the last wee hours I had in me. Yikes quality not quantity Molly! Where was the the down time? What happened to being here, now?

So I have a new part to my routine. I realized all my quality work could be done when the time allowed and my mind was fresh and focused. I also realized that as for my after dinner hours, I will be going unplugged. For now anyway. Now instead of opening up my laptop, I open up my Zentangle kit (which luckily does not have batteries, a USB, or a camera built in it.) And I draw.  And I sit with my husband. Sometimes my kids are still up. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes we don't. Sometimes there is a hockey game on. Sometimes I take a break form drawing and sit or read or whatever, but it is time to just be. I am rediscovering that drawing is medicine for me and sitting and enjoying that with people I love is simply the best!

Results from my new routine ...

SO here's to enjoying both the wonders of technology and also just maybe a couple of moments of being "unplugged".


Friday, February 22, 2013

Time for Tea ... and Tumeric?

Zentangle is a big part of my life. I work for the Zentangle Company, I teach Zentangle classes, and I try to maintain a regular Zentangle practice just for my own sanity and pleasure. However my creations come in waves because when I start to tangle I simple can't stop and  ... well let's just say I start to ignore other things, but as my Mom would say, "Is it a good thing or a bad thing?" ... For me it wonderful, rewarding, and refreshing.

I have been really enjoying the last couple of posts on the Zentangle Blog and felt ever so inspired by the most recent post, TEA TIME.

That night while I was making dinner, the thoughts of my Mom's tea stained tiles were floating in my head and I was thinking to myself ... I should try some of those. I was make a dish with Tumeric and Smoked Paprika which have stain a many of my clothes ... so I added a little water and grabbed one of my daughters cheap little paint brushes and put a little color on some tiles. I allowed them to dry during dinner ... and over the next 24 hours ... every spare moment I had ... which isn't much these days ... I attacked them little by little.

This one was done with a pre-strung Zendala. I roughly filed some of the template with very watered down Tumeric using a plastic brush. Once the tile was dry I gently dusted off the residual spice and then used my Micron and pencil as usual.

 This one was also done using a pre-strung Zendala and a plastic brush. But this time I tried it with the Paprika. The differences are subtle but worth trying both. Again I allowed it to dry completely and dusted off the residual before putting a pen to it.

This one was the most fun. I simply took a straw and dropped a couple of drops on the tile and did nothing. I didn't move it until it was completely dry. I lightly dusted it off and tangled away as usual. The drops became a new "string". I tangled around, on top and behind the splashes of color.

This exercise was so fun for me and had me thinking about Tumeric ... It is such the rave right now in the natural healing world as an Antoxidant Nutrient which has prooven to have so many healing benefits to the body ... but now I have discovered that by incorporating it into my tangling practice it can also be a powerful part of maintaining a healthy heart and mind.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Zentangle Classes at The Victorian

What is Zentangle?
Zentangle is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns.
Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well-being. The Zentangle method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages.
Learn more about Zentangle at

Winter Schedule

Introduction to Zentangle
This one day, two-hour workshop is a basic introduction to the Zentangle drawing method. Class will cover the history, the applications, and the steps of creating an original Zentangle tile. This class invites all levels and requires no artistic experience. This is a great starter class that is bound to leave you thirsty for more.
Instructor: Molly Hollibaugh, CZT
$35 - supplies included
Pre-registration required

Saturday, February 9th 10am – 12pm
Saturday, February 16th 10am – 12pm
Thursday, February 21st 6:30 – 8:30pm

Love and Tangles
A special evening for you and your Valentine or even just a friend to enjoy one another’s company and create beautiful art too. This two-hour workshop is a basic introduction to the Zentangle drawing method. Class will cover the history, the applications, and the steps of creating an original Zentangle tile with a little bit of a romantic twist. This class invites all levels and requires no artistic experience. This is a great starter class that is bound to leave you thirsty for more.
Evening includes a relaxing romantic setting, Zentangle instruction, Refreshments and chocolate of course.

Instructor: Molly Hollibaugh, CZT
$90 per couple - supplies included
Pre-registration required

Thursday, February 14th 7 – 9pm

Zentangle I 
Come learn and explore the Zentangle method. This class will introduce you to Zentangle and cover the history, philosophy and art of Zentangle. Over this six-week course you will become familiar with tangles as a new language. You will discover the art of Zentangle as a practice and an art form. Join other creative minds as you unveil your artist within.

Instructor: Molly Hollibaugh, CZT
6 sessions $175 - Zentangle Kit included
Pre-registration required

Saturdays March 16th- April 20th 10am – 12pm


More classes coming soon!

For more information or to register contanct: