A Fragment of My Life

While I was working on this week’s Diva Challenge (#327) that song kept going thru my head. I get horrible earworms while I am working, and this Elton John song (Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me) would just not stop. So…I went with it. In my take of the Lisbon Fragment by guest blogger Henrike Bratz, CZT, I used my new chop as a string, although you cannot even make it out in the finished bit. Blacking out some of the background (I can’t light no more of your darkness) and tangling on top with a white pen (All my pictures seem to fade to black and white.)

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I was a bit shocked that it looked nothing like the fragment I had in my head.


I did a bit of fun origami, folding some pretty little holders for Bijou tiles.

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I’m not sure why, but I am feeling a bit of an Asian themed September class. I am working on some suminagashi marbling, and I think it may be ready for play time, along with some origami type folding and Asian inspired tangles.


There are still a few seats left for Cris Letourneau’s Renaissance Express class on September 11th (3-7 pm.) It is selling out fast, so if you want in on the fun, make sure to get your reservation in now. Also, if you are coming, let me know if you want copies of her books, as she will need to bring those along (Made in the Shade and Pattern Play.)

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The 3rd Friday Open Studio time will be going on hiatus in August, September, and October. While I try to not be out of town for regularly scheduled events, this was just a confluence of events I didn’t notice until it was too late. Trust me when I say I would rather be here than in Florida in August…lol.

But, I still have seats in both Summer Time Blues classes, so join me!

Summertime BluesI got a new scan of that done today, and boy is it bright!


Continued progress on the bleach mandala…but I am feeling stuck. I know it needs something more, but I just can’t put my finger on it.

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I am thinking something that will disguise the pencil lines that erased but left a line behind in the paper. Next time I will use a soft chalk pencil…I think that will not leave that telltale line behind.


And lastly…my brown thumb is officially over, as my wayward African Violet is now in full bloom!

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I think it was just mocking me.

Off to do some quilting before dinner – make stuff…you will feel better!

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Different Kind of Stripes

Ok…we all know I am not good at following directions that well. I did 2 versions of this weeks Diva Challenge (#316) whilst practicing some pointed pen tangling. The challenge was to use some form of stripes for a string. The first was a rather free form diagonal striped ATC. Done with a dip pen and some red gouache I already had mixed up. I think for run of the mill tangling, I need to work on this more.DIva #316 - 1

And because I am still working on getting the consistency of Bleed Proof White correct in my “FrankenPen” I did another one. This one, I purely stuck to the more flourish lifework type tangles that work better with a pointed pen, and I am much happier with how it looks. And, you get to see a pen, and the ink comparison!

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I think I finally have this figured out, and will write up an instruction when I am ready to make up a few of these pens for those who do not want to “do it yourself.” I’ve figured out the viscosity issue with using this pen, making it a nice, portable alternative to carrying around a bottle of white ink to dip into. So far, I feel like I won this battle!

And from last weeks Diva Challenge (#315) I could not leave well enough alone, so I went back in and shaded it with some gold Pan Pastels…it is very sparkly in person.

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And I tried some different ink on different paper:

Pointed Pen on scallop paper

You may ask, CharKat, why are you doing so much pointed pen work?

Simple! I want to teach YOU how, so I need to practice. And guess what? The class is the 10th of June! I am working up a wonderful experience for you, and would love to have you at the shop. But never fear…if you can’t make it to me, I will have the class kit available for you online, and maybe even a little video instruction after the new website goes live!

Also on the upcoming schedule for June, Book Making Basics, where we will make some tools we are going to need for upcoming books, and make our first starter sewn book, like the one you see here:

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Sounds like fun, eh? I will have the schedule up here, on the old site, by Wednesday.

I have been a busy little bee this week. Between working up samples and experimenting with a few new things, I worked in my little Iona book:

And finished a couple pages in my Tangle Journal:

And, as if that wasn’t enough, when I was filing and cleaning up my office, I found a project from TangleU 2016 that I didn’t finish, so I finished this Zero Drawing Technique piece:

Zero Drawing Create Love

Man, it felt good to do all that this week! My brain feels awesome, and my heart is full. Finishing things, and cleaning up, has really been nice. Now I just need to hire a housekeeper for the rest of the house!

And on that note, I am going to put more pen to paper, and raise a glass of Single Malt to remember a friend who left this world 8 years ago.

And make stuff!

Golden Molygons

I have a confession to make. Since TangleU, I have become a bit obsessed with pointed pen tangling. To the point (pun intended) where I have been trying to make it more portable (per a suggestion from Cherryl Moote) by converting a fountain pen. So far, I am still experimenting with this, as I’m not completely happy with how runny the ink seems, so I will be trying different things here until I like it. (Regular fountain pen ink tends to bloop up and if I am not watching it carefully, said bloop ends up on my paper…)

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But, when I switched back to my regular dip pen with gouache, it seemed much better.

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I am finding the Zentangle tiles a bit tricky, as they seem pretty rough and fibrous. Smoother papers work better for this. So that led me to try some Kuretake Gold Sumi Ink I had on black Artist Tile paper that I cut to a Zendala size. And what better way to practice than on this week’s Diva Challenge (#315) for a foray into Molygon. Molygon was featured on Kitchen Table Tangles with Rick & Maria on the Zentangle Mosaic App this week, and after watching the video, I thought I would give it a shot with my golden ink.

Diva #315

I figured to not do any shading on that, but I may go back later and try it with a gold Pan Pastel and see how that works.


I have been VERY  productive busy bee this week. Not only did I get a good portion of my office cleaned up, sorted, and filed, but I finished a few things.

First up, another book from Cherryl Moote’s class at TangleU. The closure is a wooden dolphin that Elaine gave us on the last day as a reminder of the event, so I drilled some holes in him and used some muted turquoise ink to distress him a bit. IMG_4971

I also finished my Visigothic Versals project from the workshop we had with Risa Gettler. I think we may hold it again in the fall, so don’t feel left out.

The World VV Project

It is a pretty big piece, so  you would have to see it in person.

And today, we had a great meet up with the San Diego Tanglers Friendship group at the Bernardo Winery. Nancy Robinson, CZT, gave us a great tutorial on Zen Gems, and I made this turquoise lovely.

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If you would like to see some great examples of how to draw and color these, check out this free download of Tim McCreight’s Practical Jewelry Rendering. Not only does it cover stones like this, but also cut gems, gold, silver, and pearls. And did I mention that it is free?

I did a few more in my journal as well..

And I think I really like the new Dingbatz. So much that I managed to make a giant one on a journal page I was working on in an art journal.

Dingbatz Bridge

And in addition to all that, I drafted a new logo for the web page, but you will have to wait to see that.

Gotta get to making dinner now!

Return to…Normal?

Whew. Whenever I travel, I love where I go and what I do, and by the end of my journey, I am always glad to be home. When I travel for TangleU (Continuing Education-thype event for Certified Zentangle Teachers) there is also a euphoria of spending an amount of time with my tribe and kindred spirits. But there is also a Post Conference-Funk that Cherryl Moore so eloquently wrote about here.

I am going through the post-euphoria phase, trying to finish quite a number of unfinished projects, but also pleasantly surprised with that I accomplished. We had so many great classes this year, it was an amazing learning experience, and really pushed my boundaries into a few things I had a previous fear of…like using a pointed dip pen for about anything, much less tangling. But that turned out to be something I really took to!

That was so much fun! Another one was the Pan Pastels. I purchased them quite some time back, and never really quite “got the hang of” working with them. I have a few more pieces to finish of this, but you get the idea.

TU Pan Pastel Hibiscus Tag

And I would be remiss if I didn’t again evoke the name of Cherryl Moore, because I spent not one, but 2 classes with her. So far, I have finished one of my journals from her Thursday class.

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Leather cover, Arches Text Wove interior. I have one more like that to fold and finish tonite, and then to figure out my finishing for a cute Coptic stitch book with 32 lb bond and a watercolor cover (yes…I will share that when I finish it!)

Nysha Nelson also had a very interesting class, where I actually completed tiles. We looked at different color combinations and shading techniques. It was quite nice to see what differences there were in everyones tiles from the same set of instructions.

Needless to say, I had a great time, and got to share space with some amazing people!

I also got all my Diva Challenges done while I was gone, but didn’t get them posted. So starting with #312 – Coffee, Tea or Me? I spilled out the last drop of wine from my glass and let the tile dry. I tangled it with a purple Pigma Micron PN and shaded with a purple chalk pastel.

Diva #312

And then there was #313 – Earth (Amanda) Day. I have to confess that I took this with me on the trip to work on, and finished it just as that day was announced. The background is Art Graf water soluble pigment/graphite. I used the sepia colored one and water to cover the page, then erased through several different stencils to get the shapes. Tangled with a Pigma Micron PN in sepia and then “colored” with Peerless Watercolors.

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It reminds me of the U.S. Forest Servies’ commercials with Woodsy Owl. I think they were in the 1970’s. Woodsy Owl says Give a Hoot…Don’t Pollute!

And finally, this week, #314 – Use My Tangle – Scallamps by Sarah Uram, CZT. I thought this tangle had a lot of potential, so I decided to pair it with some corner Dingbatz that were featured in Kitchen Table Tangles recently.

Diva #314

And I know you want to know about that cute book! That brings me to the 2nd week of my recent trip, after TangleU we headed to Austin, Texas, to spend time with the most adorable G(r)ay Batman on the plant. (He can’t say his “R”s well yet…)

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We did lots of fun things; went to Natural Bridges Wildlife Ranch, where we were nearly eaten by an ostrich poking his head in the car, explored a cave at Natural Bridges Caverns, and spent a lot of time in the pool.

But, I also had a side trip to collect on my birthday present. Most of you know that I am rather obsessed with handmade books, so when I saw a segment on Iona Handcrafted Books that someone shared on FaceBook, I knew that was a place I needed to be. Be sure to check out the video on their website, so you can see why I was jazzed!

It smells so good there. I purchased a photo album gift for someone…and 2 books for myself. The smaller one is a “Cub 25” that they do not have listed on the website. It has bamboo paper, and I am finding that it really likes just about any pen I have put to it. And it has enough tooth to shade well, and enough thickness to tangle (or write) on both sides of the paper. It is tangle sized too…which is a fun, but the thicker pages are a bit of a chore to hold open in the smaller format. (read, I will tangle in this every night till I fill it up!)

The smaller book was to hold me over until my big one was finished and I picked it up on the way to the airport (really close by if you are in Austin.) This one is 7.5 x 7.5 inches, has yummy butterscotch leather, a dark brown lace, and a a vintage rosette/back plate from an old door knob on the front flap that has Celtic knots on it. 100 pages of watercolor paper. I can’t wait to take this on our Australia/New Zealand trip this year!

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I cannot say enough nice things about these books. All their paper is meant to be used on both sides, so no bleed through even with a fountain pen. I am thrilled!


On the note of what is going on with the shop/website. I am taking some time this month to do a complete reset on both. There is a very limited class schedule this month, and I will post a couple of Open Studio times when I get a minute. The website is in process, and I hope to be live with a whole new and very unique shopping experience for the Zentangle® enthusiast. Bear with me…

Make Stuff…You Will Feel Better!

 

Changes…and Noom

CharKat’s Creative Insanity is about to undergo a drastic reset! I can tell you this will benefit all those of you who wish  you could come take classes with me, but live far away…but that’s all I am going to tease!


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I attended the Path to Profit Creative Business Summit last weekend, and after almost 2 years in, I finally have a clearer view of what I should be doing for YOU! I highly recommend any creative entrepreneur attend this workshop (there is another one coming up in September!) You really will be doing yourself, and your business, a favor. Minette really knows her stuff, and knows how to find the best business you that will make your business shine and be profitable. And…you get to color and play and be around other creative people…even other Certified Zentangle Teachers!

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CZTs From Left to Right: Jean Mackie, Me, Minette Riordan, Ph.D., and Annette Carlo


I may or may not have gotten a little carried away with the tangle Noom this week. Diva Challenge #309 had us using it, and boy did I!

The first example is this lovely Renaissance Tan Zendala that is part of another journal page I am working on. It makes a lovely border, and I honestly was not trying to make my Mooka into an octopus, but it just happened!

Diva #309 OTL Zendala

Then, while I was finishing up my tiles for the TangleU swap, it worked it’s way in again!

Diva #309 TU Swap

I am really enjoying this tangle. It is so simple, but looks so awesome!


I had a few more cool tiles I did for my journal page I am working on, that I wanted to share too. Mono-tangles (just one tangle on the page) can be very striking, and a great way to practice tangles you are not sure about. And Bijou tiles are an excellent way to carry them off. Even an ATC (Artist Trading Card) size can be less intimidating than doing a whole time sometimes.


Lots to do today! Tangle On!

 

From a Paradox to a Hamadox

Hama – WHAT? Hamadox…a really cool tangle pattern from Diana Schreur, CZT, which is a cross between Rick’s Paradox and Hamail (Tina Hunziker, CZT). It is this weeks’ Use My Tangle (UMT) for the Diva Challenge (#302.)

I actually started this tile during the Super Bowl, from a Zendala drafted with Ann Grasso’s 4-n-1 template (from a class at TangleU 2015.) It goes along the lines of one of my goals to “Finish” things this year. I had been doing the Paradox in the corners, and set it down for the night. Then viola! The next morning, this UMT came out.

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I also have a bit of a “new materials” review for this as well. I tangled with the Derwent Graphik Line Maker pens in Graphite. I like them, very much. It is nice for when you want a grayer black (also comes in Sepia and Black), and good for some great shading. The shading, I did with Stabilo CarbOthello Chalk Pastel Pencils. Very similar to the General’s but the colors seem a bit more vibrant. I am really likely them, and they can also be blended with a water brush (I have not tried this yet.) I will stock both at the shop as soon as my supplier has them available.

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Also tangled and shaded this piece with the same pens/pencils. I should have taken a before picture, but it was a mono print piece that I got when I first started taking classes, before becoming a CZT, from Sharla Hicks.

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We had a great class with Risa Gettler on Medieval Boxed Capitals. Her next technique class will be on February 23rd, on Vining and Diapering. More Medieval stuff! And we will start a study of Uncial this week (Thursday from 5-7.) This will be a project driven class, spaced out over about 6 weeks, with 3 in person meetings, and plenty of contact time via email with Risa.


I have been taking a watercolor journaling class the past few weeks, and I am particularly proud this week, of my first perspective piece. I even used one of my own photos, from Cardiff Castle in Wales.

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And one last piece to share, from my green latka journal. Mostly playing with a loopy string, and trying out a few tangles I hadn’t done before.

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So I have not slacked at all this week! AND, finished 2 old pieces, AND got the blog post done (goal is no later than Tuesday!)

Make Stuff…You will feel better!

Welcome to 2017

Ok…I know…I did not really need to take a few weeks off from blogging. Not good for business, etc. But sometimes, you have to refocus your intentions and get some things done. Get through the holidays. Spend time with loved ones. Make art.

I set some pretty lofty goals for myself this year. All measurable and attainable, though, so I know I can do it. The first one is to get my blog posts in on Monday. So, I think I did that! (1 down, 51 to go!)

What better way to start off the New Year than with a new Use My Tangle (UMT)  Diva Challenge! Challenge #298 comes to us in the form of the tangle Orbs-la-Dee by Anneke van Dam. It is a nice filler tangle, and has a few cute variations. I decided to use it on a tile where I was testing the Sakura Micron against the Copic Multi-Liner SP. I wanted to see if I could tell the difference, so I divided the tile in half and tangled the same tangle on both halves.

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Honestly, there isn’t a lot of difference. To the naked eye, the Copic looks slightly different when next to the Micron, but if you used just the Copic, that difference wouldn’t matter. I think the deal here is the price points more than anything else. They are both pigment inks, archival, etc. But I think my real love of the Copic is that it is more economical in the long run, not to mention more environmentally friendly. It is refillable, and has replaceable nibs. The refills last longer than a Micron, and the nibs stay juicier a lot longer. So instead of carrying extra pens when I travel, I only need refills. The con side to this is the starter price of the Copic. I sell the Microns for $2.25 US…the Copics are $11 US. But…the refills are the price of a Micron….and last at least twice as long.

And…as luck would have it for you, my readers, I can supply these lovely pens for you! (Leave me a note below.)


So you know that I have not been slacking over the holidays, I shall produce proof!

First up, I participated in the 12 Days of 3Zs Challenge from Zentangle®. Although I got my tiles late and did not finish them in time for the actual contest, I did, in fact, finish them before Christmas! They make a pretty mosaic star:

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And individually:

These tiles are a lot of fun, and take a little less time when  you only have a short time to tangle. And the pre-strung set take the stress out too!


At our December Friendship group meeting, we had a nice gift exchange, and I was the lucky recipient of a handmade latka book, from my friend and fellow CZT Hiroko Hashimoto. She tangled on the covers:

And I realized that I have a huge stack of these really cool journals and books, and I do not use many of them. I have yet to make one pen stroke in the journal I received at CZT training. So, I decided now was the time to start! The paper in this one is really interesting…it has a lot of texture and character. It also pills excessively when shading (hint: use a lint roller prior to spraying fixative.)

I have been trying to do a page or 2 a week. Seems like a good place to try out some new things.


I noodled around with my Scan ‘n Cut 2 some more and came up with these snowflakes:

The paper is an Astrobrights Metallic card stock, and I used Sakura Glaze pens on them. It is a fairly non-porous surface, although they say you can print on them with an ink jet printer. I have tangled on this paper with a regular Gelly Roll pen, but I find the Micron does not show up well.

Also came up with this cute little ornament from 3 Bijou tiles.

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I did an end of the year recap on my FitBit…I walked over 1,300 miles! The chart was interesting. I started playing PokemonGo in July (my FitBit broke in August, so I was without it for 10 days, and I was sick a good part of December.)

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This year, I am setting a goal of 1,500 miles. That is attainable, if it ever stops raining. The rain is a conundrum for me. We need it badly here in California, but it is severely cramping my walking! But…the rain also gives us beautiful rainbows.

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That was the most magnificent one I have ever seen, and it was right from my home studio window.

I am not going to tell you to stay crazy anymore.

I am going to tell you to make art. It will keep the crazy away!