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Friday, November 30, 2012

Tangling fun at MHL!

I taught a Zentangle Basics class at Andover's Memorial Hall Library this week.  It was my largest class yet--26 people!  A few had experience Zentangle® before, but for most, it was the first time.  Everyone did great!

I enjoyed trying out my presenter setup with an iPad and projector so more people could watch while I demonstrated the tangle patterns.  I think it worked out well.

Every class I teach is different, and each is amazing!  Different questions, energy, and ideas come up every single time.  I thought more about shading this time after hearing a few people comment that they didn't want to shade their tiles.  I've taken classes that didn't include shading, and I like to give people the option.

I told the class that I hated shading when I first started tangling.  I didn't like feeling like I'd mess up my tile.  I was really missing out though.  Now, I LOVE to shade!  It's impressive to watch patterns rise or recede with a little pencil.  Shading gives the design new texture, light, and shadow.  Some patterns pop with dimension when shaded.

The best comment I heard when everyone looked at the tile mosaic was, "I can't even find mine!"  People who weren't sure that they liked their first tile were pleased to see all of the creations together.  :-)

Check out the awesome tiles they created:

Diva challenge 97: no strings!

Wow, I'm late with this week's Diva challenge.  It's been a busy week with work, family, and an awesome Zentangle® class!

I often tangle without strings and just let the patterns evolve on their own.  Sometimes this works for me, and sometimes I get stuck.  I love how a string can help take some of the pressure off by dividing up the space and giving us an easier starting point.  To string or not to string?  It all depends on my mood that day and how inspired I feel to dive in.

For this week's challenge, I tried the Diva's approach of starting in a corner and working until the tangles mesh.  I've been into some of the botanical patterns lately and thought it would be fun to combine them into a tile together.  I think it looks like bees coming at the flower.  :-)

I couldn't decide if I liked the tile like this or if I wanted to add some color.  I'm always so inspired by LeeAnn's amazing artwork and use of color, so I tried my hand at a little watercolor.  I wanted a subtle look and only used a little of my Inktense pencils.  The green in the leaves reads as yellow here unfortunately, but it's really a pretty pale lime green.  The colors are much nicer in person.  Here's the colored in version:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Patterns patterns everywhere!

The funny thing about regular practice with the Zentangle® method, is people usually start to see tangle patterns constantly.  I can no longer look at a building, a flower, or fabric without seeing the patterns first then the whole of the item.  It's an interesting new way of looking at the world.

I also find myself drawn to black and white patterned items.  I have many shirts that look tangled, and I even splurged on some Sally Hansen nail strips that look like mini tangles.  I had to pop these on for my next class.  :-)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A tangled tree

The Andover Historical Society hosts an annual tree exhibit featuring trees decorated by community groups and businesses.  Each tree is inspired by an item from the Society's collection.  Along with my coworkers at Memorial Hall Library, I've helped decorate trees including an a Alice in Wonderland tree inspired by a tea set.  This year, I wanted to branch out (no pun intended) and try my own tree, Zentangle style.

The inspiration piece is a crazy quilt from the Society's collection. It has amazing patterns, colors, and fabrics.  My Tangled Tree features reproductions of my Zentangle art.

A Tangled Tree
Created by Emily Classon, Certified Zentangle Teacher

Life is composed of patterns.

From the delicate veins of a leaf to the glistening angles of a snowflake, nature provides perfect examples of true artistry.  Used in art and architecture, patterns repeat with familiar and beautiful precision.  

This tangled tree is inspired by the intricate handmade patterns created in a crazy quilt. A patchwork of fabric, a quilt stitches together color, patterns, family, and history preserving the domestic and artistic culture of an era.  

Instead of needle and thread, these ornaments are sewn with pen and paper using the Zentangle® method of creating art through structured patterns.  Within each piece lies the traditions and patterns of art and craft throughout history.

If you can, I highly recommend visiting the Andover Historical Society to see this year's trees.  There are a lot of creative and talented people in Andover.  It's always exciting to see what people come up with to accompany an artifact from the collection.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday card class

Do you ever learn a new craft and then wonder what else you can do with it?  I've always had a rule that if I pick up a new craft that it has to use some of the same materials as my other crafts or be able to be used in conjunction so I have a better chance of using up my stash of supplies.  I've been a scrapbooker for many years so when I became interested in making greeting cards, it was a logical extension.  I could use my papers, rubber stamps, and other supplies to make cards.

Zentangle® is different to me than just a craft--it's a philosophy, a way of life, and a life-saver!  I would have been drawn to Zentangle even if I needed a lot of fancy supplies.  A great thing about Zentangle is there aren't a lot of necessary supplies--the right pen, the right paper, a pencil, and you're ready to create and relax.

While I've been tangling on my Zentangle tiles and on watercolor paper, I've been exploring other materials and ways to use this method.  I've tangled on a variety of surfaces and have used tangles in my scrapbooking.  I started to go through a bunch of my scrapbooking supplies and found lots of great items that I could use with my tangling.  I found a variety of markers, chipboard, cute metal tins, ornaments, and much more.  My scrapbooking supplies that had been collecting dust now found a new purpose in life--to be tangled!  I was surprised that I had inadvertently found another craft that could use supplies that I already had.  Yeah me!

For the December holiday card class, we'll be tangling some seasonal cards.  I created various shapes, with my Cricut die-cutting machine, to use as stencils on the cards.  Here are a few examples including a tree, snowman, and mug of hot cocoa (with or without spirits).

Sign up today to learn how to do more with your Zentangle practice.  Use your tangle patterns in new ways to make great gift ideas!  We'll still follow the same relaxing practice using the Zentangle method using some seasonal shapes to guide us.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether you're celebrating with turkey, Tofurky, or something else, there's always something for which to be thankful.  This season, I'm thankful for my wonderful family, my adorable daughter, and my amazing husband.  I am also thankful for creativity, Zentangle®, and the many new friends I've made on my artistic journey.

Give thanks for all that is dear to you today!

Happy Thanksgiving.

This tangled turkey was created with a sepia Micron with a few black accents.  I created the turkey shape with a die cut from my Cricut machine.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tangle Folk!

One of the many things I love about Zentangle® is that I can use it for relaxation and to help cope during stressful times.  In October, I had my gallbladder removed, and I was probably a little nervous even if I didn't let on about it.  I just realized that I never posted my creative practice for the day.  While I was in the hospital in my oh so attractive johnny, I tangled to take my mind off of what would come next.  I wish I could have tangled longer, but at least I got some in before my IV came.  At that point, I couldn't hold my pen well enough.

I had just watched a video from the CZT Zentangle Marketing Retreat featuring "Tangle Folk" by Billie Lauder. I thought they looked like a lot of fun so I learned the basics before going to the hospital.  I tried my hand at three tangled folk while I waited.  I thought they were a blast to create!  Certain tangles just scream out as hair, to me, including Mooka.  I think I'll try leaving the faces blank next time though.
Unshaded "tangle folk" 10.12
If you're having a rough day or are in need of a relaxing break, try some tangle practice!  If you would like to learn how, sign up for a class or club session with me today!

A Zinger of a Diva challenge

This week's challenge was to use the new yet old tangle pattern named tangle Zinger.  Maria often uses Zingers to enhance her Zentangle art.  They are so fun to use!  The Diva has challenged us this week to play with Zinger.

In yet another sleepless night, thanks to repeat coughing fits from this obnoxious cold, I grabbed some Microns and tangled.  Looking at Zinger. I was reminded of the pattern Indyrella and decided to combine the two.  I thought it would be fun to use a little color so I selected purple, blue, and green 01 Microns.  I started with the Zinger frame then filled in with Indyrella.  I love to do monotangles or tangos (the new term for two tangle patterns dancing together) when I'm practicing a new pattern. I find I get a lot chances to see how the pattern evolves and what feels right to me--pen hold, stroke direction, and spacing.

Here's my end result this week:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Feeling crabby?

Creating Zentangle® art is a great way to get over feeling crabby.  What's even better?  Creating a tangled crabby!

I created this image on watercolor paper with a stencil to create the crab shape.  I then filled in the spaces and background.  This was a fun one to do because I love the Peanuckle pattern after my CZT training.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Name Zia #2

What is a person to do when she can't sleep until 4:30 am due to coughing?  Tangle!

I wanted to make a name picture for my friend's daughter (yes, this is Bethany's sister).  I had a bigger frame to work with and a shorter name this time.  I needed to get a larger watercolor paper pad to fill the frame though.

Like Bethany's piece, I cut letters out of black paper with my Cricut.  The tricky part was figuring out how large the letters could be while still fitting into the frame.

It took a long time to fill in the tangles, but it was such fun!  I love watching as a Zentangle piece evolves and develops into something exciting.  I didn't use a string for this piece and just let the patterns take me places.  I love how Purk and Printemps came out in this one!  I started Cadent, and it just wanted to morph into Huggins.

Here's the end result:

I hope they'll like it!

Diva challenge 95: Mickey

This week the Diva welcomed guest artist Courtney to kick us off with a Disney-inspired challenge.  Courtney shared Disney's "Steamboat Willie" short that was released in November of 1928.  An icon was born!

It's been fun to see how everyone has interpreted this challenge--from filled in Mickeys to Mickie, Minnie, or steamboat-inspired patterns.

I had a bit of a rough time starting this one because I wasn't sure where to start.  I love that the Zentangle® method is so freeing and isn't restricted by traditional art techniques and rules.  Sometimes I feel inspired to use a shape or a stencil to create my initial "string" to fill/surround with tangle patterns.  For some reason, this week, I was stumped for a few days.  I loved watching Steamboat Willie and thinking about ideas, but I felt a bit stuck with my creativity.  I took the opportunity to work on some other pieces to get my creative juices flowing.

Then I started to get an idea!  I traced a coaster and round block to create Mickey's head shape.  I immediately went at those ears with Bunzo, and I even colored the pattern in finally.  I thought Bunzo looked Mickey ear shaped.  :-)  Crescent Moon seemed perfect for Mickey's brow line.  I kept seeing the red associated with the more modern Mickey so I filled in the background with some red Printemps.  I loved doing this part!  I didn't want to fill in the whole face, so I opted for eyes filled with Marasu.

When I finished and held my piece up, I realized that all of my tangles resembled Mickey's ears.  It's fun when an idea encourages the use of particular patterns or shapes.

With all that buildup, here's my Mickey Diva challenge:

Monday, November 12, 2012

A tangled evening

I just got back from teaching another basic Zentangle® class tonight in North Chelmsford with a few new attendees and a couple of repeat visitors.  We had a relaxing and creative night.

Here are the beautiful class creations:

We discussed a variety of tangle patterns and shading techniques.  It's always fascinating to see how, with the same instruction, each person interprets the patterns differently through size, variation, pen hold, and individual style.  Every piece is unique and wonderful!

Our second tile was more freeform and included several other patterns.  Here are the works in progress:

What a great job they did!  I had a lovely time tangling with everyone.

A ZIA gift

A dear friend welcomed a new daughter into the world a few months ago, and we're finally getting together for a visit.  I was inspired to make a name sign for her as Zentangle® Inspired Art (ZIA).

I had an interesting frame with seven small sections--the perfect number for her name!  I cut small pieces of watercolor paper to fit each section then tangled each.  Here are some unshaded before pictures:

I used my Cricut machine to die-cut letters in black then added the tangled pieces behind each letter.

Here is the end result:

I hope they'll like it.

Welcome to the world, Bethany!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My new tangle: Feesh

My daughter provides me with new inspiration on a daily basis.  She's such a happy, funny little toddler!

Like most 2-year olds, her favorite snack is Goldfish crackers.  She asks for them often, but unfortunately she doesn't always eat them.  She likes to dump them out all over the floor, crush them with her feet, and decorate our home in Goldfish art.

I'm a pretty laid back mom, but this practice can get trying at times.  Once while she was putting her fish into the bowl and out of the bowl, losing them all over the floor, I started to tangle the experience.  I started making various Goldfish looking shapes but wasn't pleased with them.  Sure, they were fairly easy to do, but they weren't worthy of all of the amazing tangle patterns that people have created.

I picked up my fishline attempts and decided to try again.  This time, I started with the straight line as the tail fin and added the teardrop fish body shape.  It started to remind me a bit of Flux, so I added lines, a dot like an eye, and sometimes bubbles.  Even though the Zentangle method is not for representational images, I still thought this pattern would fit.  I was not trying to recreate fish, rather, I was inspired by the shape to make something fishlike.

I think the end result looks like a variety of things--Japanese lanterns, leaves, lights, and more.  They can be created with a straight or curved line to start.

The name "Feesh" comes from Rico on Penguins of Madagascar, a show my husband and I both enjoy.  Rico always calls his fish "Feesh!" hence the name of my new tangle.

I hope you enjoy it.  Feel free to share some of your Feesh creations with me!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Diva challenge 94: Socc

This week, the Diva gave a challenge using the tangle Socc by Erin Olson, CZT.  This is my first time playing with this pattern, and I already love it!

I enjoyed the variety of sizes of the little rice puffs and had fun watching this tangle develop.  At first I wasn't sure I did it correctly, but it's one of those tangles that makes sense after more lines are drawn.  I know, I know, there is no right or wrong, but when I'm learning a new tangle, I like to understand how to do it before I tweak it or do a variant.

One of the things I love about regular practice with the Zentangle® method is that I'm constantly challenging myself and my ideas about things.  I'm often pleasantly surprised by my reactions and my thoughts.  When you think you really know yourself maybe it's a good time to try to challenge yourself with something new!

My colorful journey

To date, I've preferred to keep my tangled artwork in the traditional black and white.  I love color in my other crafts, but I haven't fully embraced it in my Zentangle® artwork.  I love the crisp look of black on white or white on black with the appropriate shading.  I think the tangle patterns aren't as clear when the piece is colored in.  I love all of the colored ZIA, Zentangle Inspired Artwork, that I've seen so I knew I had to try some.  When I finish a tile or other tangled piece, I often debate about coloring it in and then stop myself because I feel like the piece is complete.   

In an effort to challenge myself to color outside my own lines, I've given myself a few ways to add color.  Before I pick up my Micron pen, I decide if I'm going to use color.  Here was my first tile in this experiment:

I tangled my tile but did not do any shading.  I used Intense pencils, thanks to a lesson from Sandy Steen Bartholomew.  I wasn't sure how the pencils and water would work on the Zentangle tile, but I was pleased with my first result.  I love the vibrant colors these pencils give.

Next I worked on a Zendala.  I divided my circle tile with an apple corer to give me some basic shapes. I used all grid-related patterns in the apple slice areas, but Copada by Margaret Bremner called to me for the outer rim.  Here's the black and white version:

I already knew I was thinking of coloring this one in, so I popped the tin of pencils open and picked several coordinating colors in green, blue, and purple.  I had a blast coloring in all of the sections and watching the shades pop when I added water.  I love this Zendala more in color:

I have a bit of a flowchart approach in my mind with regard to coloring in my Zentangle artwork.

  • Do I want to use color -- yes or no
    • If yes, do I want to have a colored background, or do I want to color after tangling?
  • Tangle
  • Do I like the end result -- yes or no
    • If yes, shade and finish
    • If no, add color.
  • Enjoy

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A tangled Paradox

Sometimes I get going with a particular tangle pattern and just can't stop!  It's so freeing to fill an entire space or tile with just a single pattern, otherwise known as a monotangle.  I don't have to think about what comes next!

This tile took a little while to do, but I had a great time watching how Paradox developed over the tile.  This is one of my favorite patterns.  I think it's fun but challenging to try to find the original triangles.

Have some fun trying your own monotangle with Paradox or another tangle pattern.