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Monday, February 25, 2013

Tangle Heart

I was recently appreciating a photo that my friend, Nancy Sampson had taken on her trip to Italy. (Some of you know her as having worked at Zentangle for many years until her retirement recently.)

She was especially proud of this photo and she knew I would love it. I framed it and it hangs in my studio. The architecture is so unique and eye-catching that I thought we'd "do" something with it.

This image had too much potential (and wonderful history) not to use it. I did not see it as a tangle per se, but as an exploration of wrapping tangles, border-like, over uneven surfaces. You will notice some shared tangle-DNA with static, particularly in its shading.

In this exercise, you start with random parallel lines indicating inner and outer folds or curves, add in the banding (in wide aura style, resonant with static). Then, enhance those bands (or not) with tangles you already know and love.

That banding, much like the triangles in tripoli, function string-like to create further sections within which to tangle.

You can tell I had way too much fun with this. Can you imagine the possibilities???

I am sure there are near countless other "tangle within tangle" possibilities, such as quandary, florz, cadent, hollibaugh, etc. that further come to life as the strokes of the primary tangle function as strings to create secondary sections to tangle.

Any ideas to add to this?

As usual, I will draw a name from the comments section and give away a tile. Please be aware I can only award one to you if I can contact you! So if your comments register as anonymous, write your email address somewhere in your comment. I will then contact you for your address.


Rick adds:
My favorite "tangle within a tangle" is shattuck inside wide sections of hollibaugh.

Also, notice in Nancy's photograph to the right of that main pillar how that pattern looks like a two dimensional knightsbridge. However, as you look further down, your realize it is actually a three dimensional "wrapping" of alternating black and white bands across static-like hills and valleys.

Click images for larger views.


In Maria's recent blog post, Tea Time, she described using tea as a tint/color on her Zentangle tiles.

Well, Molly ran with that idea right to her kitchen cabinet, grabbed some tumeric, and created . . .

You can read more about this tile and see some other tumeric tinted creations at this blog entry on Molly's new blog, MollyHollibaugh. Please take a moment to take a look.

We've added her blog to the "Links" section to your right. She joins a steadily growing list of over 60 Zentangle dedicated blog links. When you have a few more moments, pour yourself some tea (perhaps) and spend some time exploring the creativity and personal interpretations of Zentangle art and experience.

In a related aside, Maria writes:
I ran my new random number generator to give away the "Golden Mark of Question" and lo and behold, the winner was:

Molly Hollibaugh! (who if you are not already aware, is our daughter, and also Zentangle's Product Manager.)

So I proceeded to the next name on the list (excluding Molly), and the winner is Geneviève Crabe,  CZT

Congrats, Geneviève . . . it's on its way!
Click image for more spice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tea Time

As promised, Here are the winners (drawn randomly) from all the wonderful tanglers who commented.
  1. "Vickie Lampron" 
  2. "Webster" 
  3. "anon" who thanked Mary C and Debbie K 
  4. "Jo-Ellen Matthews" 
  5. "Marlene Waters" and. . . . 
  6. A special one for Annabelle (art belles) for the great lyrics she made up for "Ode to Zentangle"! 
Please, all, email me (maria) at zentangle@gmail.com with your emails or tel # so I can arrange the distribution of the tiles! (We tried to contact you, but couldn't figure out how to do it.)
  • Vickie, tell me your top choice
  • Webster, tell me your top two choices 
  • "anon," tell me your top three choices
  • Jo-Ellen, tell me your top four choices.
Congrats and thank you all. I wish I had 120 tiles to hand out.

But wait, oh no! could it be? Another chance for a tile?!

This has been so much fun, and since it's still fun, . . . here goes . . . .

I love tea. Anyone who knows me, knows this. (Coffee, too, but not so much.) I also love that pretty much the only place you can get a really great cup of tea is at home. I love tea's ceremony, simplicity, and formality. I love its warmth, comfort, and drinking it with others.
And, I love its color.

I have used tea for years as: stain, tint, paint, warming agent, aging agent, blush, flush, shade, tone, and wash. (I remember my mom staining linens or crocheted doilies with tea . . . nice memories.)

My hands are happiest with a brush (or pen) in hand and they are usually close by. So it's not surprising that tea would find its way onto my Zentangle tiles (an all cotton fiber paper).

I like to use the bottom of a pot that's been sitting a while. So, give this a try . . . when you have a bit at the bottom of your cup – even a q-tip will do – wash the edges or set a focus on a particular tangle. . . fun stuff. No need to run to the art supply store . . . kinda classy.

Remember, subtlety is what you are looking for. You can always go over it again for more color. This is great. We're back to creating our own "paints". . . just like Da Vinci and Rembrandt! What do you think? Where will this lead?

Surely we could use a cranberry wash or "coffee and cream"? How about some crushed blueberries or a really nice . . . hmm . . . "RICKY, can you open that really nice red wine we've been saving . . . ."


Supplies used:
  • Zentangle tiles
  • Black Sakura® Pigma® micron 01
  • Black Sakura Pigma Graphic 1
  • White Sakura GellyRoll®
  • White chalk pencil
  • Graphite Pencil
  • brush
  • Red Rose® Tea
  • Clos de los Siete – a Malbec blend  

Rick adds,
Tea time really is a special time for us here. Every day, we all take a break around ten in the morning for tea and a snack. Work stops; everyone gathers on the porch; oftentimes family and friends stop by. (They've learned!  :-)

A quick note about that third tile above. A couple folks, seeing those strands that extend from that inner pattern, asked if it was a new tangle. That inner tangle is tripoli. When you extend the negative space away from the center cluster, it becomes a positive space . . . figure and ground suddenly switch. Static was then tangled behind in a hollibaugh fashion.

So . . .

Please tell us how you take a break.

We'll do another give-away of at least one of these tiles to a randomly selected commenter on this blog entry.

Click images for more tea.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I get up most nights, for an hour or two.  Rick, too.  
Is it a good thing?

Is it a bad thing?

Who's to say?
That's the sentiment from one of our favorite stories in a children's books called "Zen Shorts." I actually found a YouTube of someone reading that story from this book!

Anyway, Rick and I say this to each other all the time when something creeps into our life that may not be what is the "norm" or expected.

"Oh, we forgot to buy wine!"
"Is it a good thing or a bad thing"
"Who's to say?"

"We missed our flight!!!!!"    
"Is it a . . . ."

You get the picture.

So we started worrying less about our night time adventures and began doing some of our best work then. After a while when it felt right, we'd go back to bed, sometimes together, sometimes not, but eventually we always went back.

We'd also get to feed the wood stove and find it toasty warm in the morning.

I'd sometimes get ready for breakfast, set the table, etc., so maybe sleep a bit later.

Rick would read his books uninterrupted (we live in a busy house, lots of wonderful people with our business being here!!)

So whenever I hear someone worried about waking up at night . . . by the time I was done talking to them, they were looking forward to the next time they woke up at night. (Well, most of them . . . .)

I've read some really great books, and watched a few good movies, too, that daytime doesn't let me fit in.

But, tangling . . . this is when I do my best work. I am super focused, no distractions, no time constraints (again that time thingy) and in my comfy clothes!


So last night, I decided I would do an illuminated letter (if you're not familiar with this art, check out these samples.)

But if I wanted to give this away to one of you, what letter would everyone want?

Such a conundrum. . . . . . 

So I decided on this:

And, I didn't think anyone would "question" it!

So, dear Tanglers, what might be one of your "Is it a good thing, is it a bad thing" stories?

We're having so much fun with our "Time" blog post give-away, that we're going to try it again. Please share and you might get the "question." We'll use a random number generator to find a questionable one of you next week!
-- maria

Materials used include:
  • Zentangle tile
  • Sakura® Pigma® black and brown pens
  • Pencil
  • Dip pen 
  • Peat ink
  • Gold leaf

Rick adds:
Wow! Did you notice how many Zentangle-inspired letters show up in that Google image search?

Before your tile is done, and when you have no preconception of how it "must" look, how could anyone know if any particular stroke is a "good stroke" or a "bad stroke?" And, there's always bronx cheer!

Click image for the bigger question.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

We try to dangle and wrangle

Our lives into something new-fangled.

But sometimes its better to

Not let it fetter you.

Perhaps we should all get Zentangled!

    - Maria and Rick

Click images for larger views (and more love).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


"Time is an illusion."
          – Albert Einstein 

I used to think it was a real kick in the pants that time we spend enjoying life seems to go five times faster than time it takes to do the stuff we don't like so much.

Years ago I tried to fix this (because I always thought it was my duty to fix whatever needed fixing).

Like, doing dishes. I used to really dislike doing dishes. (I don't want to use that word hate, just 'cause I "hate" that word. :-) So to prove to my kids that most things could be made better I decided I would from then on "like" to do the dishes. Every time I had to do them, I would think of all the reasons in the world why I liked to do dishes, or why I would rather be doing dishes. It became a game I played in my mind to come up with reasons why:
  • "I am so lucky to have dishes to do!"
  • "Can you believe we have hot water anytime we want?" 
  • "It makes my hands nice and warm on a cold day." 
  • and on and on with statements to this effect. 
Then I started saying these things out loud to whomever was around:
  • "Let me do that, I LOVE to do dishes!" 
  • "You guys sit down, I do this better all alone." 
  • "This is a one-person kitchen . . . I love to do this." 

It didn't really take long for it to work. Within a short period of time, I actually did like this repetitive task. Really. Still do.

Now that I have said this, I know that doing dishes is not the same as pain, caring for a loved one who is not doing so well, sleeplessness, addictions, fears, etc.

The LONG hours spent doing some things such as these . . . maybe we can play a trick on ourselves and reverse the long and short of it. I think that is one way Zentangle can get us through some difficult times. It can change long hours to short hours. 

You also get a bonus of feeling good about yourself for that period of time as you produce art you can admire, share, or give away. How cool is that?

These are a few Zentangle tiles I created during my usual middle of the night awakenings.

. . . maria
I'd love to give one of these tiles away. We'll randomly pick from the comments below and, if we can contact you, you can pick out which one you'd like and we'll send it to you.

Click images for larger views.