Friday, November 23, 2012

Zest for Zinger

Happy Thanksgiving! I am enjoying this special day in my hometown with family. Feels so good to be "home" enjoying the holiday in the house I grew up in! More on my Thanksgiving Day in my next post. Yes, my day had its Zentangle moments. (Big grin!) But first: the Diva's Weekly Challenge #96.....

There's a new/old tangle that is enjoying some wonderful and well-deserved publicity this week...from "Zentangle Central" in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, it's Maria's ZINGER! Maria Thomas has been using this little gem...well, it's more like a bloom...for a long time. But even after years of appearances, it had not yet been established as an "official tangle." All that has changed can read about it here in the latest Zentangle newsletter.

Zinger, embellished with Gneiss, Onomato, Wud, Zewm,
Copada, and Meer. I apologize for the poor image quality;
I am away from my scanner right now,
so my iPhone camera had to suffice.
Though the tangle has just been officially announced, I was there at the CZT Training Seminar in October 2010 when  Sue Clark offered the name "Zinger" in response to this fun little design. It's not so much a traditional, space-filling tangle, but is an abstracted botanical-ish arrangement of marks that adds a whimsical touch, like a renegade vine with a funky flower that has escaped from the garden to take root in Zentangle designs. The "bloom" is sort of a cross between an exotic, multi-tiered mushroom cap, a spiral stack of soft-serve ice cream, and a cornucopia. Kind of reminds me of a beehive, too. On a stem.

And so here are my official submissions for the Diva's Zinger Challenge. The first is a traditional Zentangle tile, while the second is a ZIA design I created on shrink plastic for a mini-ornament. I mailed it yesterday to Jo-Ellen Mathews, a CZT in Indiatlantic, FL. Jo-Ellen is putting together a little tree decorated with Zentangle-themed tiny ornaments for the Jingle Mingle Holiday Tree Auction and Raffle, a fundraiser for Cure OM (Ocular Melanoma), an initiative of the Melanoma Research Foundation.

My initial idea was to tangle on clear shrink plastic, and gild the back with gold leaf once it was shrunk. Unfortunately, I had some trouble shrinking the clear shrink plastic--it kept curling up (typical) and bonding to itself (not so typical, and not desirable when a flat ornament is the goal!), so the finished product was not what it needed to be. (You can see the designs in their origianl state, pre-heating, below.) I eventually gave up on the clear shrink plastic, and moved on to Shrinky Dinks brand "Frosted Ruff n'Ready," which seemed to ask for colored pencil.  I actually love the "wrong" side of the colored shrink plastic once it has been shrunk--the color pencil is so intense, and has the appearance of velvet.
The "wrong" side

The "right" side, which should be smooth and clear, ended up with some imperfections once I shrunk it--I'm not sure why. It looks almost like fingernail marks, though I don't remember sinking my nails into the surface while it was still soft! There was no time to do it over yet again, so I decided to embrace it, imperfections and all. :-)

I just wish I'd added color to the Zingers...I probably just would have used white, but it would have made them "pop!"

1st attempt on clear shrink plastic,
prior to shrinking. It started as a 3.5" circle.
I was bummed that it didn't shrink well.

3rd attempt, on Frosted Ruff n'Ready
Shrinky Dink material, prior to shrinking
2nd attempt on clear shrink plastic,
prior to shrinking. I wasn't as happy
with this design. I wish I hadn't
colored in the stems. Those dark
stems make it look kind of
like a peppermint, though.
I had so much fun working on the ornament, despite my shrinking woes. I'm sure I complicated things by using an embossing heat tool instead of the oven. I don't like to use my kitchen oven for art processes, so I have some craft-designated toaster ovens that I use for polymer clay and shrink plastic. They are currently in my classroom, however, and I was making the ornament at home. So I was determined to use the embossing heat tool, which I have used many times for shrink plastic. Usually I have pretty good results. Plus, it's so cool to watch it shrink out in the open (rather than behind the glass door of the toaster oven).

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Socc Rocks!

The tangle Socc was offered to the Zentangle world by CZT Erin Olson almost a year ago. You can find instructions and read her blog entry about it about it here, including the meaning of its name, which has nothing to do with foot apparel! Erin offers a weekly Zendala Dare on her blog, The Bright Owl; I encourage you to check it out!

I bring this up because Erin's tangle Socc is the focus of the Diva's Weekly Challenge (#94). I'm really grateful that Socc was selected for this month's UMT challenge (the first Monday of every month has a "Use My Tangle" theme, with tangles submitted by readers selected by a random number generator). This tangle proved to be inviting and fun...and it nudged me back into the Diva Challenge world, which also makes me sit down at the ol' S&K to write a blog entry. :-)

It's not that I haven't been engaging in Zentangle...quite the opposite! You can read about one of my recent Zentangle adventures here on the Zentangle for Kidz blog. I had a truly wonderful time teaching a delightful group of students and parents who came for six after-school sessions of tangling together.
Featuring Socc and Mooka with a little Tipple thrown in.

But back to Socc! Here's what I came up with today, a beautiful autumn day here in east Tennessee. 

Unfortunately, this beautiful day found me sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and aching. I stayed home all day (in bed 'til noon!), but the day was too pretty not to sit outside for a few minutes in my favorite tangling spot: my own front yard, which was transformed earlier this fall by Steve Rhule and his son Nick and their BeeGreener crew.

I'm so excited about the outdoor space they created for me, er, for our family. I think I love it more than any of us because I now have an amazing, custom-made sculptural bench that I can sit on to tangle as I enjoy the gurgling of the fountain. I sit on it sideways, with my back against what looks like the armrest, bend my knees, and put my feet up. The fountain is such a neat feature; I'm actually going to try something new: uploading a little video, just so I can share it with you. If you see a blank space at the bottom of the post, give it a little time; I have found that it takes the video a few minutes to upload.

My view from the bench as I tangled today. The light was beautiful!
One of our front trees...brilliant crimson today!
This is another view from my bench!