Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Monday, 13 November 2017

My life as an art teacher...

My NEW life, that is, because certainly I could never have called myself this in the past. But to all intents and purposes, that is what I spend a large part of my working life as these days. An art teacher. Wonders never cease.

And I am enjoying it thoroughly! And my goodness me, what talent there is to be tapped into and set free. I have a few adult classes, including my lovely group of Friday evening ladies, who are as hooked on tangling as I am and in some cases, I would say even more so! And I have a great class of people who come on Thursday evening and never fail to be amazed at what they can do in an hour and half - indeed, many can't believe that they have made such a beautiful little work of art and at the same time been very relaxed and focused whilst doing it. I also have a fantastic class one morning a week with English people - nay, a family of English people. I've really missed them these last couple of weeks as they're in the UK at the moment but I do believe they'll be back at the earliest possibility.

And I have two classes of ZENKids a week, with growing numbers at each. And they are truly incredible. We've had a range of different themes for the classes, including making blowpen pictures, drawing cartoons, practising tangles and making some Japanese Notan images. All are tackled with enthusiasm and excellent results. Which I will share with you here. I have also been doing a far bit of drawing myself and enjoying that too! If you haven't yet seen the images I've shared on Facebook, Instagram and the Meraki Studio website (where have you been?) then please have a little look at the offerings here. The first few are mine - including my daughter's bedroom, which I also painted - and then the rest are from my classes.

Thanks for looking.

Latest tangling craze - thanks to Eni Oken and her amazing tutorials - this month: Dragons.

A fractal tangle based on Fricle on a large Renaissance tile.

Narwal on a large Renaissance tile

Another of Eni's tutorial - tiny details. I loved doing this one!
Just a fun tile to do.
And newly repainted bedroom....
 And now a gallery of pictures from my adult classes.

A guided class, using a limited set of Zentangle patterns to practice shading and composition.

Using a little colour for the first time.

Great shading

Great detail

Excellent work, Clifford family!

An advanced class, practising a range of techniques
And, a small selection of the work from my ZENKids classes: There are more photos on the Facebook page for Meraki Studio Alcala or on our Meraki Studio Alcala blog.

Thank you for looking. Hope you like what you've seen. Today, we're doing home made stamps....there will be photos before long.

One more thing. I suspect I needed my studio as an excuse to do the official Zentangle course, which is only offered in the States. I've booked my place for the next one, which is in June 2018. I am unbelievably excited. It's my commitment to Zentangle and my intention to make it a part of my life and a part of the lives of as many other people as I get chance to share it with.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Well and truly inaugurated.

Risking the feeling that I might just have been 'in your face' enough in recent days and weeks, I feel I can't let an event such as yesterday's pass me by unblogged. Some of you may not even know what happened, though if that's the case, I have only one question...Where have you been???

Yesterday evening, at 7pm, Angeli and I didn't even have time for a moment's reflection...not for a second did we think.."Will anyone come?" Angeli barely had time to whip off her dirty t-shirt, after having worked non-stop all day, in exchange for the pristine white one with our logo on - matching my own, in several sizes smaller - before our first guests arrived.

Let me recap and savour the whole thing from the beginning again - so far, it's not a long story but it is quite an exciting one. As I may have mentioned in my previous post, only about five months ago, Angeli and I had our first conversation about the possibility of working in partnership. The idea was that a partnership would allow us both to do something we feel passionate about, whilst doing it individually was almost prohibitively expensive and difficult to do. Angeli said she would do it with a bit of a push and I said I'd do it if she did it with me. In the end, we jumped together, believing, instinctively at first and then with growing confidence, that our idea for a joint Art and Yoga Studio was a good one and just what our town needed.

Large Yoga Space
We did a course run by the Junta de Andalucia and learnt how to plan effectively and simply for our potential clients. We walked kilometres and kilometres around Alcala looking at premises. We sat drinking ginseng and ginger teas (herein lies the answer to everything...) making lists of things to do; I drew a logo and we decided on a name.

The Art Room
Then we found the premises. Perfect and with a most obliging landlord. A completely blank canvas with two working spaces, one for each of us and space for a reception/meeting area. This was in the middle of July.

After that, there was a lot of behind the scenes work.

And a very steep learning curve. Domains bought; websites created; blog pages written. Have a look! I did much of it myself with some help more recently from Angeli's daughter, who, from Madrid, has been a great help as she's a marketing expert. Take a look...

                                                              MerakiStudio Alcala

We began to talk about dates and promotional material. And then it was September. 

We'd been invited to a Forum for Business in the town - a big, well-attended event, run by the council and with lots of successful local businesses represented. We did feel a bit amused that there we were, as yet untried, but being promoted alongside flagship companies based in Alcala la Real.  With our own board of information on display, premises contract still unsigned and our fingers crossed that we weren't getting carried away with our own enthusiasms. The morning of the two day event saw us picking up our visiting cards, hot off the press....
I do think this event helped to bring all our thoughts together. We took full advantage of the contacts we made there to promote our idea and were really pleased with the positive responses we got from the others when we explained our idea. It is also possible that we are the first two people in the town to get together and offer two very different activities from one single place. On one occasion, trying to find out about the licence we needed, Angeli was told by someone in the town hall that it wasn't possible to run two different things from one place - no such licence existed. Happily, we've overcome that particular little problem. I think. I have rather left all the talking to officials up to Angeli. She can do it much better than I, although I have little fear of tackling anything at all in Spanish now...even with our landlord, who is from Castillo de Locubin, where they speak with an altogether unintelligible dialect, I can appear to be holding a normal conversation. The trick, of course, is to nod in the right place. Nothing else. And make appreciative noises as he has repainted the whole space, fitted windows where we needed them, replaced the lights, painted the outside...and generally been most accommodating.

Angeli wanted wooden flooring in her part of the space - warmer and more comfortable for doing yoga. We had a very nervous week as the delivery was held up and with less than a week to go, she got the news that the delivery couldn't be made before the weekend. And I have to say, she was so cool and adaptable when she heard, she was a great advert for yoga as a stress reliever! And in the end, the delivery was made on the Friday - six days before our planned inauguration day - and it had to be unpacked and left in the ambient environment for 48 hours before it could be laid....

The logo arrived for the window.
Angeli, her husband and her brother began the process late on Sunday afternoon and worked really hard all day Monday, so that by Tuesday we were beginning to see the space start to take shape.

Our logo was carefully attached to the window and the light box outside the door had its new vinyls put up, with our name and the logo.

Tuesday evening, FR came down to put up an old driftwood branch that he'd found on the beach many years ago and which he thought would look good in the window and something to display some of my pictures from.

I unpacked my boxes and pictures and materials and began to make myself at home in my space.

As instructed by Meche, our business advisor, I held back on investing money in new furniture wherever possible - so, looking a little lost in the big space, but still very familiar to me, I brought in a couple of bookcases and my boxes of paper, stamping and card-making equipment and cases of pens, tubes of paint....oh, looks like a spirit level left inadvertently on the top shelf!  It was Tuesday evening when I had a mini-crisis as I couldn't find all the pictures I had selected to put in the window. I was convinced I'd thrown them in the bin and that I was going completely crazy...of course, I found them in my car. Just so you know that even when things are going as well as possible, this journey has had its stressful moments!

But so many great things have happened too!

On Wednesday morning, a friend of Angeli's came in with a super-duper cleaning machine, which swept, washed dried and polished everything sparkly and new. I was so very grateful for this as cleaning floors with a mop and water is not my favourite pastime...

Oh, and the ladies of La Hortichuela, a nearby village, arrived. And yarn-bombed our tree!!
We did buy new units for the front of the studio to make a reception area, separate from the Yoga floor. And Angeli splashed out an a wonderful and enormous mirror, which adds great depth to the place.  And we took an IKEA delivery....had to. Tables and chairs for me and a sofa for the reception area.

And then, somehow, between Wednesday evening and Thursday lunchtime, with the help of Angeli's two sisters, an amazing transformation took place. 

From a clean, empty space, suddenly, we had this magical, special place. I could hardly bear to leave it on Thursday morning, but I had promised Spinach Filo Pastries, Tzatziki, Carrot Cake, FR's tortilla and Sangria for the food table...and only the tortilla was made..

A crazy couple of cooking hours later before I jumped in the shower, only to find there was no hot water...but, it was very reviving just when I needed reviving.

Angeli arrived at the studio just as I did, still busily doing all the last minute things like sorting out the drinks, collecting the documentation and papers we needed for the inauguration - information about classes and hours and the like. She'd obviously never stopped since the morning but incredibly just carried on until the last moment, before whipping off her work clothes and emerging shining and beautiful in the white t-shirts we'd had printed...interestingly by the company that had occupied these premises before us and who were now just around the corner - they did our logo and various other design and printing material. 

Our beautiful window.
With driftwood log, Zentangle inspired art, yoga poses and our logo and name...and fairy lights.

And then I'm back to where I started...on the very dot of 7 - not before, of course - a group of English people arrived. Some friends, some acquaintances and some new people who had come to meet and support us. And lots of Spanish people, including the wonderful Friday evening's  Las Tanglers group. People from Taghleef where I give my English classes. People that I met when I first came to Alcala and who have remained friends ever since. People who I have only spoken to on Facebook...and people who I know will become great friends in the future, who have already provided us with incredible support, who want to collaborate with our project and help us to grow it into something great. So much incredible positive energy flowed. Words simply can't transmit the feelings I got from yesterday. At least not any that I can think of just now... apart from thank you. Thank you family, thank you friends. thank you all. 

So here are a few photos..And a big thank you if you came. Hope you agree that it was a wonderful evening! And don't forget - we have a week of free classes. If you didn't register to join yesterday and want to, just get in touch! 

Photos courtesy of Paco Pepe Garcia y Ester Nieto Molina.

Monday, 28 August 2017

And now, a sidestep...

You may imagine that I spend my sunny days lazing in front of a pool, with a glass of something alcoholic in one hand, sunglasses perched on my nose and a book in my other hand.
Not a bit of it.
In the months since I last wrote, which was all of four and a bit months ago, I have taken a huge step - one I vowed I'd never take - and am on the verge of launching my own business.
I'll have to explain a little,

I've been doing a lot of teaching during the past year and it is tiring work. In particular, teaching youngsters seems to drain more energy than I can draw from it and I was beginning to feel that I couldn't continue, despite the good days - and the car repayments!
What did give me heaps of energy though, were my Friday evening drawing classes.

So I set to thinking. I knew that the person who initially invited me to give the workshops - a teacher of yoga, called Angeli - was also keen to work more on yoga teaching than the enormous amount of administrative work she seemed to have acquired over the years supporting a number of women's associations. And so I met her in the park one day towards the end of May to sound her out. And she was very interested in the idea of us working together from shared business premises, or as they call it here, a 'local'.

Between then and now, we have undertaken a course run by the government of Andalucia on how to set up in business; we have hunted down and located the perfect 'local' here in Alcala la Real; we have decided on a name and an identity for our local and within the next few weeks will be having an Open Doors day to explain our ideas and to get the good townsfolk to enrol in our various classes.

The original drawing for the studio's logo. The actual is a cut down, simplified version.
I like this because it's a Dingbatz Zendala Mandala....covers so much!
We have also been invited to take part in a forum for new businesses; we have our own website and logo and people have been stopping me in the street to ask when they can start! Goodness me, I really do think this is happening and it's not just a dream!

What, you may be asking, am I going to actually do? Well, our local is big and light and airy. It's divided into three parts - as yet, there's some finishing off to do, but I will post some photos soon - with a reception area at the front, then Angeli's yoga space and finally, my art and drawing space. I'm going all out to hold classes focusing on painting, drawing, experimenting, learning and generally being crafty and creative.  I'm offering morning classes, aimed primarily but not solely, at the many housewives and older women who have free time in the morning and like to do new things. Then in the afternoon, I'm offering ZenKids classes - and yes, Zentangle will form a part of everything I do! However, we'll do a range of things, including joint projects, stamping, lots of colour, and, of course some Zentangle patterns in amongst. It's their chance to be utterly free and without the boundaries put on them at school - I do hope they'll enjoy it!

I will continue some days with evening classes - again, using Zentangle patterns as a basis for much of them - but also more painting and some calligraphy. Anything really. It's a learning curve for me too. I'm not the greatest of artists but I have a knack for showing and encouraging others and I have learnt that confidence and bit of technique goes a long way towards having fun and being creative.

Angeli is also super-creative and our only problem is keeping some of our more exciting ideas and plans in check...for later. She's really good at Zentangle drawing and I'm hoping to do some of her yoga classes whenever I can....can't do any harm and maybe help me to stretch out some of my rather stiff old bones. I have just once or twice stopped to think I am maybe too old to be starting a new project, but I seem to dismiss the idea very quickly and if you're as old as you feel, well right now, I'm about 36 and at my peak!!

The website is not quite finished and contains a few tricky problems that I am still working on but I hope you'll pop over, have a look, follow us and wish us luck. If you're anywhere near, keep your eyes peeled for information in the next few weeks or watch for the date of the Open Doors on the website or Facebook.

SOOOO excited.
AH...the name?? Well, we are Meraki Studio Alcala. Meraki is a Greek word meaning to do something with love and soul. To leave something of yourself in what you create. I think it is just perfect.

Says it all...well, some of it!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Happy Birthday Mum!

On 1st April, it was my mum's 80th birthday! Although I couldn't get to celebrate with her on the day, we had previously arranged to have a little party at my sister's house the following week, so on the Friday afternoon, I jumped into my little blue car and drove down to Malaga to catch a plane to the UK.

After an uneventful and relatively peaceful flight, I arrived in Manchester where my sister was waiting for me.  We spent Saturday shopping and cooking and generally chatting away as usual and the sun shone down. It was lovely and everything went to plan.

The party was relatively small but consisted of family and close friends. It was a shame that all my family couldn't come with me but it was logistically and financially impossible to travel en masse so close to Easter. However, one of my gifts to my mum was a large framed photo of my three - Mum's request - and she was very happy with it.

I also did a painting for her. One of my Zentangles which carries a 'hidden' message....look carefully and you might just see that the design is based on the number '80 80 80'.

I had the picture framed with a nice dark passepartout and a mid-oak frame which looks perfect in Mum's room
It was very good to see old friends - many of whom are now genuinely old....but who look great. I also think my mum looks pretty good for 80!! Here are a few photos from the day...I should really have taken more, especially as my sister's garden was looking so very beautiful but I completely forgot!

A view of the delightful garden - perfect place for a party

Setting out the tables and chairs...

Tuck in... plenty of delicious food for all tastes.

And an Easter themed birthday cake...the chicken is co-incidental! It was a gift from a friend to my sister but to put it on the top was irresistible. We decided against risk!

Well done Mum - a brilliant 80!!
Here's to continuing health and happiness. Axxx