Thursday, October 25, 2018

#InktoberTangles 2018

I'm participating in another challenge, Stephanie Jennifer's Inktober Tangles 2018, one of the Zentangle versions of the popular Inktober drawing challenge.  I did it last year, too.  This time around, I've been doing my "tiles" in my Tangle-A-Day calendar.  It's a great place to keep everything together, but I have noticed that it doesn't take the ink the same way a Fabriano paper tile does and, in consequence, I find myself a bit sloppy; it's also hard for me to shade so I've been experimenting with shading with markers.  I think the larger .08 microns work better than the .01s, creates a steadier line.  In all, I imagine it's more me than the calendar. 

Less than a week of the challenge to go, and then it'll be time for all of the Thanksgiving-themed gratitude challenges!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Zentomology Today

I spent a rainy, chilly day in the glorious mansion, Ochre Court, in Newport with Zentangle founders Maria and Rick Thomas and daughters Molly and Martha and about 40 of my fellow Zentanglers.  We were there to learn about classifying and deconstructing various tangles--"Zentomology"--along with an exploration of the mansion looking at all the craftsmanship--and patterns--in wood, ironwork, gold, stone, plaster, cement, and paint.  It was a wonderful afternoon with great people and inspirational practice.

Because Zentangle HQ has asked us not to share certain details, I'll focus on the patterns I found.  I believe they will be publishing aspects of Zentomology soon, as well as some of the patterns they deconstructed.

Look at the inside--gorgeous materials, intricate patterns, huge space; it's the second-largest mansion in Newport, just behind the Breakers.  It's now the administrative center of Salve Regina University, which has preserved it beautifully.

The grand staircase at the entrance

The main foyer

So many patterns to work with! This is the fireplace in the room where we worked.
A variation of Florz, with squares at the intersections and auras.

The braided beard of a figure on a mantelpiece--looks like Ragz.

The dragon in this medallion seems to be sitting on Spoolies!

I liked the tri-partite medallion in the balcony. I think those are the windows into the room where we were.

I liked that the entwined strands in the upholstry are different.

Looks like a Bales variant!

This ceiling decoration looks like the current Dingbatz Doors trend, with its subdivisions.

Florz with fire and a wonderful slinky-esque design.

Can you see Cadent?

This grate with its Green Man and multiple patterns covers a heating vent!
And these are just some of the photos I snapped.  Literally every surface was decorated, the exact opposite of our modern love of minimalism.  And that doesn't even include all of the housewares and decorations long gone, much less the clothing!  Quite the horror vacui.    I can't imagine living in such luxury, much less this just being the beach house for summers; I wonder if the occupants, used to such extravagance, even noticed the details.  As we wandered around--looking closely, even touching! so much better than your average docent tour--and I had a chance to sit by myself, I could take it all in.

As much as I can admire the craftsmanship and luxury and be intrigued by the history, another part of me is fair disgusted by the excess and equality gap. (And politically and economically, I think we are returning to this time of robber barons and poverty.)  But I put some of that aside in my study of the patterns, which I have been playing with.  We'll see what it amounts to, besides lovely memories.

Tangles from Ochre Court: Beaucourt, Alexem, Romo, and Magong

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Summer Tangle Challenge 2018 Wrap-Up

Whew!  I've been tangling a tile for every day between July 4th and Labor Day.  It's been a glorious 60 days, which I'm finishing a bit early because of the chaos of the beginning of school.  I've tried new tangles, learned more about social media posting, joined Instagram, met new people on various Zentangle forums, completed a presentation Opus tile of all the tangles (but not the techniques), and expanded my practice.  It's been a wonderful experience.

And I will do it again!  Next year, I'll design the second-annual Summer Tangle Challenge.  I've already started a list of tangles and techniques.  I liked that it was not only patterns but trends in tangling.  I'll be more careful creating the list, though; this time, I had some duplicates.  I also realized I had more "ribbon" tangles than "fillers."  I'll keep the FB page and Instagram going for the challenge and get the list out earlier so more people can participate.  And I might do mine in a Tangle-A-Day  (TAD) calendar, as so many do. 

It really was rewarding and inspiring to see people embrace the challenge and make it their own--so much creativity!   Check out or search using the hashtag #summertangles2018 to see some of the amazing artwork.

Some of my own favorite tiles (due to intellectual property, I won't post other people's tiles here):

I liked the shading of this tile, which made it looked rounded.

Inspired by Marguerite Samana's Delft Delights, this tile has a Gingham background,
one of my new favorite tangles.

Spoolies, sandswirl, and printemps

Zenith is the tangle of the day, but I liked the whole thing.

A Zen Gem Zendala

This Zendala has a Maryhill center.

Dex and Diva Dance, with dewdrops

I liked how this turned out, a bit of a different style for me, with contrasting
large and small tangles.

 I don't usually use color, but when I do, it's a rainbow.
I had rushed to set up the schedule and accidentally repeated some tangles;
those days became choose-your-own.  For one day, I did a quilt-inspired tile with favorite
tangles I sometimes forget to use.

All of the tiles (in an un-water-marked photo, because the mark
somehow reduced the clarity of the whole thing.)

My 10.5"-square Summer Tangle Challenge Opus tile

Happy Tangling!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Bordering On

I've been working on various Zentangle borders, specifically creating a tile that includes the ones I like to use so I don't forget (because sometimes I get fixated on a few tangles and then forget others.)  Here it is, along with a legend to identify each.

Working outside in, clockwise, changing to the next row in the upper left corner.  I still need to locate a few names.

  1. XYP
  2. Annee
  3. Cynder
  4. Akoya
  5. Tulips
  6. Myswing
  7. Organic
  8. Wibble
  9. Row row
  10. Selfeat
  11. Bwiya
  12. Batumber
  13. Fandango
  14. Cordoba
  15. Vikings 3
  16. Oof
  17. Prestwood
  18. Chainlea
  19. (name unknown)
  20. Pach
  21. Noom
  22. Swipping
  23. Zigmi Barreled
  24. Chaist
  25. Vega
  26. Toodles
  27. Ponio
  28. Stribations
  29. Wud
  30. Lollywimple
  31. Balo
  32. from a fragment (name unknown--looks like an owl)
  33. Surf's Up
  34. Snail
  35. Meer
  36. Tresse
  37. Dragonair
  38. Coil
  39. Ragz
  40. Golven
  41. Ragz
  42. Golven
  43. Zenith
  44. Orbs
  45. Zander
  46. Inapod

Monday, July 23, 2018

Some Clarification

Thanks to Dessie Arnold for asking for clarification about some of the terms in the Summer Tangles Challenge. Here is my list of links and definitions, which is in no way complete. I tried to credit originators when possible, but I don't know all of them., and Pinterest are great places to learn more and see examples.

All illustrated examples below are my own work and not definitive of the technique being described.
Add color*--There are many ways to add color to a Zentangle tile before, during, and after you tangle, from colored pens and pencils to bleeding tissue paper. Project Pack 3 (from Zentangle HQ) contained a video demonstrating the use of watercolor pencils ( )

Bijou*--These are little tiles produced by Zentangle headquarters, inspired by a whimsical tale about a snail (
Celtic Knot*--Many people who tangle like the look of Celtic knotwork. There have been several individual tangles that are inspired by these knots, such as Aura Knot and Feeling Knotty.There's also a great kit on them by CharKat's Creative Insanity and a video on FreeForm Knots by Eni Oken (see for all Eni Oken videos mentioned here.)

Dewdrop*--These are official Zentangle enhancers, designed to look like translucent water drops on a pattern. See Lynn Mead's great tutorial

Dingbatz*--Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, founders of Zentangle, introduced the idea of dingbatz about a year ago in a Kitchen Table Tangle video (most KTT videos are available to Zentangle Mosaic subscribers only), inspired by the calligraphic designs used by publishers to separate sections. There are a variety of examples on Pinterest and a video by Eni Oken.

Embedded Letter*--Maria and Rick did an embedded letter as part of the Kitchen Table Tangles video series, whereby you decorate and hide a letter within a tile.

Frames*--frames are concentric squares often used to outline or decorate words or phrases. Eni Oken has a video on frames.

Macrotangle (work large)*--To macrotangle, increase the size of your patterns. Let's say you usually fit 16 bales on a tile, enlarge them so you only get four. A good way to slow down and see a tangle differently

Microtangle (work small)*--The opposite of macrotangle, this is when you work really small; see video by Eni Oken.
Note:  this is a Bijou tile!

Monotangle*--focusing on only one pattern for the whole tile. Another great way to bring mindfulness to your tangling practice.

Tranzending*--This idea of overlapping tangles was introduced in a Kitchen Table Tangles video…/kitchen-table-tangles-zentangle…

Zen Button*--Comprising tangled concentric circles; see creator Marguerite Samana's tutorial…/a-tutorial-by-czt-marguerite-sa…

Zen Gem*--Zen gems are tiles that include a section colored to look like a real or imaginary gemstone; see

Zendala*--these are mandalas often drawn on circular tiles from Zentangle HQ called Zendalas; see Zentangle Mosaic and Pinterest for examples, also a video by Eni Oken.

Zenribbon*--These were the subject of Project Pack 3 from Zentangle HQ. See