Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tangling With Courage

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."     Nelson Mandela

A while back a good friend of mine gave me this (African?) drum as a gift. Here's a side view.

And here it is from the top. As soon as I saw it, it screamed out to me to be tangled. But I'm always nervous about tangling on these kinds of things where, if I mess up, I've ruined it. Unlike a piece of paper that I can toss in the garbage and start over if I want.

So it remained untangled... until recently when I brought it up to my new summer place in the mountains. It fits in so nicely with my more rustic decor up here. But it was still screaming out to be tangled. So I gathered up all my courage and decided to go ahead... so hard! 

Because it's round, a Zendala just seemed like the natural thing to do. I didn't want anything too intricate... that would only give me more opportunity to mess up and regret my decision... so I chose a fairly simple design. I wasn't sure if it would work to transfer it onto the drum skin with graphite, but I gave it a try. It worked but was very light and hard to see, so the first thing I did was darken it a bit by going over all the lines with pencil. 

Notice that the drum is sitting in a box that fit very tightly around it. That was to hold the drum still since the bottom is narrow and not totally flat. The box worked really well to keep it steady.

The next uncertainty was how the pen would perform on the slightly textured/rough surface of the drum. I used an Identipen, and to my surprise it drew very nicely, even on the roughest of the spots.

Some line work and some Paradox. So far so good! I really wanted to stop there, before it went wrong, but I knew I couldn't. I continued with some patterns that I felt confident about, first adding a border of Gewurtz.

Then I wanted to add something in those last sections, but it needed to be kind of light and airy, so I decided on Florz.

I didn't add any shading on this, partly because I had no idea what would work for shading, but also because I like the stark contrast and boldness of it just the way it is.

Here it is in what I thought was going to be it's resting place, but after some rearranging of my decor, it is now sitting on a different wooden shelf.

I really love the way this turned out and am so glad I gathered the courage to finally do this project.


  1. What a wonderful piece! You are brave, and it paid off! It looks so lovely!

  2. Great addition to your home-made art collection. :D

  3. It turned out beautiful. I like the patterns you used, simplicity is beauty.