Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Gone Crazy for Molygon

Are you loving the official new tangle, Molygon, as much as I am?

At first I wasn't sure when most of my shapes resembled banana bunches. If tangles make me hungry, it defeats the purpose of keeping me from snacking!

Then I tried Molygon as a bezel around my tangled gems and was hooked. I love how the "arms" look like robotic tentacle when done this way. Here are two Bijou tiles I made for a swap:
I've been playing with this look a lot lately. Here's a Molygon gem on an ATC for another swap:

I have been playing with some fills and expect I will decorate the bananas in my regular tangles. I just can't stop making them this way...yet!

Check out the Diva challenge this week for lots of amazing interpretations of the fun new tangle at

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Pops of Color

Maybe it's the grayness of winter in New England, but I find myself really drawn (ha!) to this colorful gem technique.  I love tangling my tiles and adding colored pencil or marker and watching the gems come to life with highlights and dimension.  These little pops of color make me smile!

Here are some ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) that I created for a tangled gem swap with fellow artists.  For these pieces, I used Strathmore Bristol ATCs with a nice, smooth surface that worked well with the gems.  The gems were all colored with Prismacolor pencils.  
When I'm working on a color combination, I'm finding myself going through all of my pencils looking for a good mix of light and dark colors.  I used a blank Prismacolor chart, similar to this one, to help me see the colors at a glance.  It's been very helpful!

I wanted to share the first gem where I felt like I "got it" in my sketchbook.  I was elated when I was able to create such a colorful and fun look.  I think this technique takes a little practice, but it is so worth it!  The tools really make a difference too.  I still can't decide if I prefer pencils or markers, but who says I have to decide?  It's fun to play with both!

Friday, December 18, 2015

I'm Dreaming of a Gem-Filled Christmas

Inspiration can be rejuvenating.

I've been tangling off and on this fall, but I haven't posted many pieces. I still love to tangle, but the craziness of life sometimes creeps up on me (especially when it comes to recording my process).

No matter how crazy life gets, when I see something that inspires me, I pick up my Microns immediately!

There is an exciting new trend of incorporating stunning gemstones into tangling. The gems can be a focal point or a fun and colorful fill for a larger ZIA. Maybe it's because I love unique jewelry and collect funky stones, but I fell in love with this idea.

The two people who initially inspired me with this jewel of an idea are Kae Yoshino (Tangle Fan) and Eni Oken. Their work is breathtaking!

I've been experimenting with different colored pencils and a variety of tangles, but I think my favorite for the gems (so far) would be Derwent Inktense pencils.  I've also played with Prismas with different blenders.  It's fun to watch the color pop to life!

Here is one I created for a swap using Arukas and Inktense pencils. I only hope I'll be able to send this one to a lucky recipient instead of keeping it for myself.

One of my favorite pieces is this purple stone.  It was the second gemstone I created.

I see many gems in my future!  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I Can Do This!

I recently taught a fun beginner class at the Nashua Public Library.  The excited group, of many beginners as well as a few previous tanglers, took to the practice with enthusiasm.  We shared a lot of laughter, relaxation, and a-ha moments.

One of those moments came when a new tangler expressed hesitation at the beginning of class.  She was certain she would be unable to tangle and mocked her ability.  I, and a fellow tangler, encouraged her to try and see what happens.  After completing Crescent Moon, she announced, "I can do this!"

I love how quickly doubt can wash away with a few breaths and deliberate focused lines.  The Zentangle® method allows each of us the opportunity to let our preconceived notions about our abilities go.  In our breathing exercise, I remind the group, "As you tangle, release your inner critic as you embrace your inner artist."  Each of us has that artist within.  Sometimes we just need to get past the barriers we create with our own disbelief.

"I can do this!"  Absolutely!  Look how beautiful these tiles are.  I'd say they can all do this.  :-)

I've Done This!

I love that the Zentangle® method appeals to a wide range of people.  In just about every class I teach, someone announces, "I've done this before."  Many of us have doodled on book covers in school, margins of papers during meetings, or even in previous artwork.  The Zentangle method incorporates patterns that we see around us in art, architecture, nature, and textiles.  Many of the patterns even trace back to ancient ancestors making our tangles universally ingrained.

I had the privilege of teaching a beginner class for a women's group recently.  It was lovely to learn about the group and how they gather to take different classes and attend a wide variety of events in the region.  I think it is wonderful that people have so many ways of connecting with others around shared interests ranging book groups to learning to create art.  

During class, one woman realized that she had created similar artwork in the past.  I love when people are reconnected to their past practices and passions through a class.  Tangling can help us recall our past artistic expression while combining it into something even more magical now based on our life's journey.

Look at the beautiful tiles they created!

Friday, May 29, 2015

When We Gather

I love getting together with friends or family for any occasion.  It is fun to catch up, share what's going on, and play!  I recently had the opportunity to gather with a group of CZTs in the Massachusetts area for a little meet up.  We had a great time sharing ideas and working on different projects together.

Our first fun project was this zen ball, although I've seen it referred to by about 20 different names!  It is a lot of fun to tangle paper strips and weave them into this cool 3-D ball for decorating.  

We explored some embossing techniques and played with an exciting woven variation of Rixty by Sarah Del Mastro, CZT. 
I love getting together with friends especially when they are so creative and inspiring!

What do you like to do when you gather with others?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

April Showers Bring May Tangles

It seemed seasonally appropriate to offer a My Tangled Garden class now that it is spring.  We had a lovely evening growing tangles reminiscent of vines, grasses, and blooms.  Some fluttery friends even  visited the gardens.

One of the tangles we grew was Scrolled Feather by the fabulous Heather Williams.  It is a pattern that requires a little bit of extra focus, but the end results are so worth it.

While illustrating this stunning pattern, I thought about how I approach challenging tangles.  If I see an inspiring pattern, I often sit down to try my hand at it.  Some flow from my hands easily, while some take a little bit of practice.  Scrolled Feather, though beautiful and elegant, took me a couple of tries to feel the flow.  I think that if a pattern speaks to you, it is worth it to try a little longer to make it work for you.  We all have things in life that we have had to practice until we became comfortable with them.  Like walking or riding a bike, sometimes tangling or practicing certain patterns can benefit from a little extra perseverance and focus.  The results will be worth it!