Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Diva Circles

"Life is a circle. The end of one journey is the beginning of the next."     
Joseph M. Marshall

Just stopping by with a quick post. I saw that the Diva's challenge for this week is to make a string out of circles and tangle it. Well, it so happens that last week I did just that, so I decided to post it now. 

I've been doing a lot with alcohol inks lately, and that's where the vibrant colors in this piece come from. Alcohol inks were spread all around on a piece of Yupo to make the background, and then alcohol was dropped in random places to form all the circles. 

Using a Microperm pen, I tangled the circles and added some white highlights. First I used my Uniball Signo white pen to do the highlights, but after a short time they faded  and were not very bright. So I tried my white Souffle pen and went over the same spots. This time they stayed bright and are puffed up a little from the paper, hence the name Souffle.

Patterns used: Munchin tangleation, Kuke, Marasu, and Purk

I had a lot of fun making this one. Hope you like it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Midsummer Tangle

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort."    Franklin D. Roosevelt

A couple of weeks ago I went to Buffalo, NY for a Zentangle retreat for CZTs hosted by Kelly Barone. I was hoping to escape the heat and humidity of SC, but that didn't work out so well. It was hotter than normal in Buffalo and not too different than at home! Despite the heat, I had a great time meeting people I had only met before through Facebook, and learning new techniques and new ways of incorporating Zentangle with other artistic endeavors. 

One of the activities was learning to marble paper, from Diane Yaciuk. Diane is an expert, and her papers are gorgeous. I, however, did not have quite as much success as Diane does. It was  a fun process, but I have to say that because of the messiness of it, I probably won't be doing this at home any time soon. Here is a picture of one of the very few papers that I thought turned out well.

Of course it had to be tangled!

Another project was "suntangles" taught by Kelly. We first tangled on a large piece of acetate, then brushed a special dye onto a canvas bag, placed the acetate on the bag, took it out into the sun and let it sit there for 10 or more minutes. Lo and behold, this is what I got.... the negative image of what I had tangled in black. Pretty amazing.

Kelly also gave us a brown ceramic tile to tangle on. We used black Sharpies, white gelly rolls, and gold metallic gelly rolls. The tile had quite a bit of texture on it which made for some challenging tangling, but it turned out better than I expected it to.

The last thing I have to share with you today is a combination of paper quilling with Zentangle. I have to say that as much as I enjoyed the whole 3 days, this activity was my favorite. It was taught by Sonya Yencer, whose Zentangle art work I have admired for a long time on Facebook. In case you are not familiar with what quilling is, according to Wikipedia, it is  "... an art form that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs." Below is the Zendala that I quilled while in class, but then took home to be tangled there. I love the way it came out, and think that the combination of tangling and quilling is genius. 

Quilling doesn't need a lot of expensive supplies and is also quite relaxing. In case you would like to try it yourself, Sonya, along with Jenny Perruzzi, has created a kit that is available here. I'm working on some more quilling projects and hope to share them soon in another blog post.

What I've shown here is only some of what we completed during the retreat. I left there with lots of creative inspiration and some new friends. What more could I ask for?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Pre-strung Pathway Tiles

"The imagination is the golden pathway to everywhere."     Terence McKenna

I'm very excited to share with you my latest creations. Another passion of mine, in addition to Zentangle and photography (as I mentioned in my last blog post, here), is working with alcohol inks. They come in bright, beautiful colors and flow smoothly across your paper as they blend and form new colors. The process of painting with the inks is nearly as relaxing as the Zentangle process is for me. And you can create great backgrounds for tangling!

Recently I began playing with plastic wrap on the inks. You spread ink on yupo paper (a synthetic paper with a smooth finish), lay plastic wrap on top, scrunch it all up with your hands, and leave it alone until it dries completely. When you peel it off, gorgeous and interesting "pathways" have been created on your paper. Some of you may be familiar with the plastic wrap method on other media, such as watercolors. When I saw these pathways, I knew immediately what had to be done! The inks had created a string on my paper to be tangled within.

Maybe a photo (or two...or many...) will help you to see what I'm talking about. Here is the first one I chose to tangle. You can see the pathways that I'm talking about.

Here's how it looked after I tangled it with Baton.

I absolutely LOVED this, and went on to do more... and more... and more! The next one I did, before and after tangling with Cadent... (I remembered before I got too far that I wanted to take a picture)

 And the next one...

By this time, I started thinking that these would make great tiles printed on paper that I could tangle with my Microns. What I had done so far were approximately 5x7 inches each, and because they were on shiny yupo, they needed to be tangled with different pens. So I tested printing them on various papers and found that I liked the Bristol vellum best, as it is similar to the regular zentangle tiles in weight. 

I cut the tiles into 4 inch squares, to allow for a little more tangling space than the standard 3 1/2 inch tiles. Here is a sample of some that I made...

Next is one of my favorite tiles, before tangling and after adding Baton (obviously one of my favorite tangles!)

Here are some more of my tangled tiles. Sorry, but I don't have the "before" pictures of these. The first one uses the pattern Static.

For the next one I decided to use 2 patterns, Cadent and Huggins. You will notice that on most of them I chose to do a monotangle, meaning I used just one pattern. I also shaded this one with graphite, whereas on most of them I have not shaded, instead allowing the colors on the tile to form the shading.

One using Knightsbridge...

A white gelly roll pen was used on this one to draw Printemps...

Then I wanted to complete some tiles by tangling behind the pathways instead of on the pathways. Personally I don't like them as much as the others, but several people have told me they do like them.The first one is Crescent Moon and the second is Munchin.

I have had such a blast designing and tangling these tiles and am happy to share that I am now selling the untangled tiles in my Etsy shop here for you to add your creative tangling. If you decide to try some, I'd love to see what you do!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


"Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks."     Yo-Yo Ma

Besides Zentangle, one of my other creative passions is photography. What could be better than combining two of your passions to create something new? I recently ordered 5x7 prints of some of my photos that I thought would lend themselves nicely to being tangled. 

Here is the original photo of a feather that was floating in the water.

I used my Sakura Microperm pens to tangle this because of the glossy surface. The Microns that I normally use to tangle on paper don't work on these.
Patterns used: Diva Dance and Bask-it

One of my favorite things to photograph is flowers, using macro (close-up) photography. Here is one of my flowers. It's not 5x7 because I thought it would look better as a square.


For this one I decided to outline the petals in white, using a gel pen. The tangles were, again, completed with the Microperm pen.

Patterns used: Florz and Printemps

Another close-up of the center of a flower...

And the tangled version...

Patterns used: Shattuck, Indyrella, 'Nzeppel, Sand Swirl, Printemps, Diva Dance, and Munchin

It's wonderful how well Zentangle can be combined with so many other creative endeavors. If you enjoy photography, take a look at your pictures and see if you might have some that would look great with tangles. 

Just in case you'd like to try this with some of your own photos, I've been printing my photos through an online service called iprintfromhome.com. I find their prices to be very reasonable and their quality to be excellent. (My local CVS did not do an acceptable job with my prints.) If you decide to give them a try, you can get a $10 credit when you create a new account by entering "TWEET-Caren Mlot" in the "referred by" box.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

All Strung Out

"The coolest things in life are things that you have not done before. That's the key to life: new things always."    Afrojack

Have you ever tangled on the pre-strung Zentangle tiles? I really haven't used them much... if at all... in my five years of tangling. I think it's a great concept, having a string already drawn on the tile so you don't need to draw one of your own. Strings are simple enough to draw, but somehow I always come up blank when sitting down to tangle, and that's why most of my work has been drawn without a string. I just start with one tangle and grow it from there. 

But recently I pulled out a pre-strung tile to try. Why all of a sudden after five years? Because I sell them in my Etsy shop and they are my best seller! So I decided to see why they are so popular.

Here's my first one. 

Patterns used: Aquafleur, Betweed, orbs and lines

I had so much fun with it that I decided to do another.

Patterns used: Bunzo and Diva Dance

And another.

Patterns used: 'Nzeppel, Dex, Cootie, and Pokeroot

And another!

 Patterns used: Florz and Fassett

Now I know why they're so popular. They provide guidelines. They give you a place to begin. And a place to continue. That's something that I have trouble doing on my own. Even if you do more than one tile with the same string it will look entirely different because of the patterns you choose. So now that I get it, I will definitely continue using them. What took me so long?

If you'd like to try them yourself, you can find them here in my Etsy shop. There are 24 different strings. You can buy all 24 or buy a pack of 12. See if you like them as much as I do.