Monday, April 12, 2021

Stick With It; See It Through!

Hello, happy Spring, and thank you for visiting Tanglefish! Please leave me a comment below to let me know you were here. I am delighted to have some stepouts to share. It has been a long time since I have drawn formal stepouts and put them out into the world for all (who are interested) to see. I think the last tangle I published was within, a tangle inspired be a beautiful piece of are by Margaret Bremner, CZT™. You can see within and read that blog entry here. The tangle that I share with you today is not new; it first flowed from my pen back in 2014. I was somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, flying home from a fabulous family vacation to England and Wales. I had my sketchbook and pen handy for the long flight, of course, and started playing with spirals. I was pondering the tangle opus and had a "what if...?" moment: What if I did not reflect the spirals on the other side of the "vine"? What if I only drew them in one direction? What would happen if I kept going and going, with more and more spirals in the same direction? So I kept going. It started looking really awkward, but I kept going. And then all of a sudden, I LOVED what happened! All because I stuck with it. I saw it through to a natural completion, as the spirals worked their way around. I fit them in each other and around each other, I nested them and layered them. Those spirals leaned on each other and supported each other, and something wonderful emerged. I added a few bells and whistles. I restated the central line over and over as I drew, and when I was done with the spirals, I added rounding in the angles. I had an idea to give it a "partial frame," aura-ing just a few segments and fitting a short strand of pearls in those partial auras. Ta-daaa! A new tangle was born! I named it quickly and easily based on my process of exploring the answer to my "what if?" question: Stick with it; see it through. Or, S.W.I.S.I.T. I love the sound of that; it suits the swirls! This tangle has a mind of its own. It likes to have room to spread out in all its glory and to be the star of the show. So...here it is: swisit!
If you want to take swisit for a spin, I'd love to see what you do with it! Please join my new Facebook group, Fantanglefish, and post a photo!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Happy Flapping

To day, March 20, is the International Day of Happiness. Thanks to the United Nations for setting aside a day for this! Some people might need to be reminded or prompted. 

“Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place. But there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.”– E.L. Konigsburg

narfello, floo, and gneiss 

This quote speaks to me...it reminds me of a magic carpet that is floating or gliding smoothly on an invisible air stream, with one restless corner flapping as though it might know an even better direction to explore. Sometimes my attention is that corner that just can't settle down because it is excited about so many things! But I think that's really important...to have multiple directions to be excited about. 

So I found a tile to share that has an energetic corner...it was a quick, spontaneous composition that came into being as the second tile in a Zentangle® Foundations class I taught in January.

I should have been teaching today; I had a new ZIA class lined up at the local community college. I was really excited about this new concept for a class, but it did not attract the minimum of enrollments required, so it was cancelled. It's always a bummer when a class gets cancelled, yet there is also always a silver lining. Instead of pouring my time and attention into my class today, which would have been lovely, I got to sleep in, read a little while my husband slept in even later, and eventually we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. This afternoon we got to work together for several hours in the yard on this beautiful day! It made me so happy!

Our yard has a long way to go before we will be satisfied with it. We have ideas, but tend to put other things first. Maybe this year we can get a little closer to our vision. Yardwork did not always make me happy, but the older I get, the more content I am to engage in the simple tasks of pulling weeds and picking up pinecones & sticks. Especially on a sunshiny day like today.

I decided that I wanted to write today, too. Writing makes me happy, and I haven't written here in a long time. I seem to write one post a year at this point. Maybe this year I will write more. Time will tell!

I started creating a new Facebook Group today. I have a local Facebook group for my tangle peeps here in East Tennessee, but I am getting ready to teach a broader audience. As I put together some class kits to send a Girl Scout Troop on the other side of the country, I realized that it did not make sense to add my local Facebook group name to the insert that I send with the kits, since the troop is not local. So I wondered what info I should add instead. It suddenly came to me: I should start a Facebook group as a companion to my blog. I'm on Facebook a lot more frequently, and it would help to keep me motivated to write here. It would be a way for me to connect with readers. Hopefully I will get more people interacting and responding to my posts. Maybe they (you!) could share any artwork they (you!) create in response to or influenced by what I write/create/share.

I am still in the very early stages, but I think I will call the group FanTanglefish. That has a nice ring to it! It might be FanTanglefish Tangleistic Pursuits, as "Tangleistic" is a term that I recently willed into being for another teaching opportunity that I accepted. I just finished a series of videos for a big CZT event, which is another source of happiness and joy. 😁💖I rather like my new word, tangleistic. 

I have to include a tangled image, of course, though oddly I did not tangle today! Thus, in addition to the tile above, I also offer a photo from a class I taught earlier this year: a Zendala from a Valentine workshop. It features shattuck, betweed, and a tangle I call cl-bahhsonné.








Saturday, May 2, 2020

Twists & Turns; Returns & Reengaging

Happy May! Here is one of the tiles I tangled today, following an Instagram Live session with Annie Taylor, CZT, in Spain. How I enjoyed tangling with her and the others who were also watching her.

May 1, 2020 seems like a great day to re-engage. The world has changed since the last time I published a post here in Tanglefish. In my little corner of the world, our situation is far from "business as usual" but some things are returning. Some are seasonal, of course...plants are renewing their blooms and foliage. Some are societal...some businesses that had been closed for the pandemic are re-opening, as plans are in place to starts lifting restrictions. Some are personal. I am fostering renewed interest in various topics/pursuits during this season of social isolation. But renewed interest does guarantees action and results. So on this first day of May, I have decided to commit to engage in actions that further my interests and goals. So instead of thinking of writing posts, it's time for me to start writing them again.

I find it interesting that my last blog post shared my tangle within, which is reminiscent of a labyrinth path. Labyrinths are a renewed interest that I am pursuing, Did you know that May 2 is World Labyrinth Day? Thanks to CZT Sadelle Wiltshire for letting me know through her emailed newsletter that I received midweek...after I had actually taught a Zoom lesson to my 4th and 5th grade art students how to draw a classical labyrinth. Here's a link you can follow to learn more. 

And here is a link to register, if you are interested, and you happen to read this in time.

There are many things that fascinate me about labyrinths. One aspect that I appreciate at this moment is that it twists and turns and defies logic as it takes you toward the center, then away from the center, and then you find yourself IN the center! Applying that concept to my life, my attention changes directions so frequently, yet I like to think that it can suddenly end up where it needs to be at any given moment.

I had some fun trying to develop a labyrinth path earlier this week...here is what I ended up with. It's rough, but I didn't create with the intention of sharing. I was just experimenting.


I'm curious to know how many of you are familiar with walking and finger labyrinths and the concept of labyrinths as a contemplative tool. Leave me a comment below to let me know!

To acknowledge the beautiful changes in nature that are occurring right now, here are some photos from around my home taken earlier today. The peonies in my side courtyard have come and gone (the roses right next to them are now exploding) and the peonies in my front yard that will be bursting open sometime this month. I counted 19 buds!




Monday, September 30, 2019

Inktober Eve! And my new-ish tangle: within

If this is your first visit to Tanglefish, WELCOME! 
If you are a returning reader, WELCOME BACK! 
I'm glad you are here.
I'm glad I am here, too.

If you are just here to see my new-ish tangle, within, inspired by Margaret Bremner, scroll on down to the bottom of the post. But then make me feel better by reading the rest and maybe even leaving a comment. LOL

Today is the last day of September, which means...tomorrow is officially Inktober!

So maybe I will use Inktober as a great excuse to resurrect Tanglefish. I have missed blogging, but the blog world is so full that I doubt that anyone missed me. My last post, "PUF the Magic Tangle" from over a year ago, had only one comment. One mere comment, despite the fact that it was viewed over 1500 times, according to my statistics. And that one comment was total spam, not at all related to what I had written. I'd delete the bogus comment, but then you wouldn't have the opportunity to go read it for yourself for a laugh and an invitation to join my blogger pity party. LOL

But back to Inktober!!! Are YOU ready??? I'm not, but I hope to be soon. ;-) Workin' on it!

Inktober is a widespread endeavor in the art world, and since it involves drawing and ink, of course the Zentangle® community gets excited about it, too! There are lists of tangles and Facebook groups for anyone who wants to participate through social media (I'm sure Instagrams will also be full of Inktober images!). 

CZT Stephanie Jennifer of Singapore is one author of an Inktober Tangles list...here is a link to her Inktober 2019 blog post.

CZT Alice Dean Hendon of Maine, who runs the amazing tangle-y Facebook group called Tangle All Around, is also an enthusiastic promoter of Inktober (and so much else!). Her Inktober Tangles list includes not only a tangle suggestion (the first word on her list) but also the "Official" Inktober work prompt from Jake Parker, the creator of Inktober.

Click here to access one of Alice's Facebook Tangle All Around posts that talks about Inktober.
and,
Click here to access another post in which she clarifies.

Oh, yes, and though it is not Zentangle-specific, I must include a link to the official Inktober website!
Each list (Alice's and Stephanie's) is fabulous, and I like to use both lists to inspire my drawing throughout the month of October.

Full disclosure: I have never made it all the way through Inktober drawing every day. But that's okay! The point is to get you drawing MORE. 

And I will add to that the goal of SHARING more. I need to increase both. I don't draw as much as I'd like, and I rarely make the time to share what I do. So...here I am, putting it out there. I have goals. Time to progress toward them. 

One of my goals is to do a better job of sharing all the tangles I have come up with over the years. There are gobs of them. Not many are published. Those that are published don't get much attention; they seem to fly under the tangle radar systems. But I do get so very excited when I see other tanglers using them in their art. So if you share work with any of my tangles, I'd be thrilled if you'd let me know! 

One of my Zentangle inspirations is Margaret Bremner, CZT™, of the Enthusiastic Artist blog. Last summer Margaret shared an artwork on Facebook that had a feature in it that enthralled me immediately. It was a round medallion that drew me in and held me captive, in a good way! An amazing way. I could not stop staring at it, enjoying it, exploring the lines. It led me to create a new tangle that Margaret embraced, much to my very great joy. My tangle is a simplified arrangement of strokes inspired by that one element, that fascinating medallion, in her work. I named this new tangle "within" because it is contained within an enclosed orb. It is a single path, reminiscent of a labyrinth. Labyrinths have fascinated me for years. I won't go into labyrinths here, but if you are familiar with walking labyrinths and the practice of walking them in order to reflect and journey with one's thoughts, then you might also appreciate the name within from that aspect. Within also reminds me of the plastic adapter that was inserted within a 45 to play it on a record player, back in the days of vinyl.

Within can be used as a single unit or in clusters, as shown on the right. There are many ways to embellish it.

Within, inspired by Margaret Bremner.

A few weeks ago when I was visiting my daughter in NYC (that'll have to be a whole 'nuther blog post or two for a whole 'nuther time! LOL), I was blessed with a pm from Margaret who had been playing with within. It brought me such great joy to see what she did with it...and even more joy that she has granted me permission to share her work here. 
(Yes, I know this paragraph is centered for no good reason; there must be a glitch that is not allowing me to format it flush left, try though I might. I have certainly tried. Multiple times, multiple ways.)

Margaret Bremner
Art by Margaret Bremner,
used with permission.
Margaret Bremner
Art by Margaret Bremner,
used with permission.
Margaret also gave me permission to post a link to her original post on Instagram, so you, too, can see the artwork that sparked this tangle. It is entitled, "Shield Thy Trusted Servants." Click the title to see! (I hope; you might have to sign into Instagram. I'm not sure how it works, as I am not IG proficient yet.)

And thus concludes my first post of 2019!
Leave me a comment below to help encourage me to continue posting. 

Happy Inktober to all, and to all a good pen!

Monday, June 4, 2018

PUF: the Magic Tangle

Abra-cadabra! I'm back! I think I've mastered this disappearing act. I just need to work on reappearing more often.

Happy June! We are not quite halfway through 2018 yet. The months are slipping by! Travel for various reasons has kept me busy. I've made it to Ohio every month this year so far leading up to June, and I am sure I will be heading up there at least once this month. I do enjoy my trips up I-75! If you stick around (i.e. subscribe to Tanglefish!), you will probably learn many of the reasons why.

But on to the topic of this blog post: puf by Carole Ohl, CTZ™, is a charming tangle. I was excited to see that it is the focus of this week's Diva Challenge (#364). Puf really does seem to be magical in that it transforms from basic bales, a grid-based tangle that tends to turn out rather flat in appearance, to a dimensional and somewhat organic outcome! The original grid gets lost in the lines; it's rather exciting to see it transform! Here's my finished tile:


At the bottom of this post, you can see some pics of the tile in process.

In this next paragraph it might seem at first as though I am veering off topic, but watch how I magically tie it in:

During one of my trips to Ohio this spring (this particular trip was for a FIRST Robotics Competition Regional Tournament with my son's team), I made a little phone call to Bead Stash, a bead store in Kettering, Ohio. I wanted to see if they had any Tangle-a-Day Calendars in stock. Yes, I know it sounds odd to call a bead store to ask about a Zentangle®-inspired calendar, but I knew what I was doing.

Oh JOY! The owner of the store answered the phone, and confirmed that she had one copy left in the store. So I drove about 40 minutes to pick up the calendar and meet the owner—none other than the creator of the Tangle-a-Day Calendar, Carole Ohl herself!!! The same CZT™ who  came up with puf, as well as a bunch of other fabulous tangles such as featherfall, tuftid, floatfest, and inapod. You can see these and other tangles on her Open Seed blog.
What a great store!
I was so happy to meet Carole!!!
See how it all ties together so beautifully?! It was lovely meeting Carole in person, after having been a fan of hers, her tangles, and her wonderful Tangle-a-Day Calendars for several years. It was a short visit, as I had to return to the team at the robotics tournament at the Nutter Center at Wright State University. Those who know me well will not be too surprised that I found a Tim Horton's nearby so I could enjoy a latte pick-me-up on that beautifully rainy afternoon in Ohio. And invest strategically in a little bit of ground coffee to bring back to Tennessee.
I stock up when I can! This keeps me happily
caffeinated at home.
My son and I in the Team 1466 pit. He is the team's "Pit King"
I'm not quite sure why he has my old Ray Bans under his saftey goggles!
And here is my challenge tile in process, so you can see how it began and progressed:

I'll wrap this up with a few photos I took on a walk this evening with Joseph and Pausha. The clouds were glorious, and I thought it was funny the way Pausha appears to be exhaling the sunset in the 2nd photo. Almost like a fire-breathing dragon pointer!




I welcome any comments!
Happy Tangling!
-Amy

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Check it Out, I'm Checking In Again!

Happy New Year!
I am happy to report that despite my silence in 2017 (one post the entire year?!?!?!?!), I am alive and well and looking forward to doing more (and blogging about it) in 2018!

2017 was a fun year, and I actually wrote lots of blog posts about what I did. In my head. Never made it to the keyboard with those blog posts, so they were never published. It was a very busy year!

I miss writing, so spending some time here in my Tanglefish world is on my list of goals for the year. There's really no good reason for my absence, as I am still creating, still teaching occasionally (and hopefully a lot more in the months to come) and still enjoying a wide variety of fun adventures that I'd be happy to share.

My freshest news (because I don't want to start off with stale news, of course) is that I am now a Magnabilities Consultant. I JUST STARTED. Less than week ago. My starter kit from the company arrived just yesterday! And I haven't even opened it yet because I want to plan something special for "The Opening." I hope to have some friends over, to explore the goodies together.

But here's the overview: Magnabilities is a line of jewelry that features circular interchangeable inserts that can be swapped out according to your outfit or your mood. Fun stuff! I am really excited to try to share this line of jewelry with family and friends. I will probably  be blogging a lot more about it, but I want to show how this line of jewelry relates to my passion for Zentangle®. (And my pride in our beloved Pausha.)

And here are some custom inserts that I designed —in just a few, quick minutes!—to go along with some Magnabilities base jewry pieces (a pendant and a bracelet). There are many pieces in the line to choose from, and there are hundreds of insert options, but what REALLY excites me about this line is that you can DESIGN YOUR OWN using your own artwork and/or photos!

These are the two tiles that featured in the custom insert designs. The bottom tile has two custom designs, because I featured two different areas of the same tile.



This is just a quick update to get the ball rolling here at Tanglefish again. I wish you all a magnificent 2018! Namaste! Or, rather, Magnamaste!


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hamadox Fan (Ha)Mail

It's been a while since I shared anything, but I'm back, poised to dive back in again! As you might guess, life kept me busy and distracted last fall and through the holidays. Not distracted from Zentangle®—it's at the forefront of my mind each and every day—but distracted from gathering my thoughts and pen marks and putting them into Tanglefish posts.

Today I am happy to share my response to the latest Diva Challenge, #302: UMT Hamadox by Diana Schreur, CZT™. With Valentine's Day around the corner, I am using this week's challenge to showcase a card idea that I came up months and months ago, but had not yet taken the time to create. So, my first approach to the hamadox challenge was to use it on a card. Before tangling, I embossed the card with a simple fan shape. (I used a ball-end stylus from Fiskars® and a brass stencil from Dreamweaver Stencils, along with a lightbox, to create the base card.) I had bought the stencil a while ago with the plan of using it to create tangled "Fan Mail" with my Zentangle Clubs. This stencil is perfect for that! I'm so glad this challenge inspired me to act on my idea; I see more tangled "Fan Mail" cards in my future!

pink accents added with a Memento dye ink pad in
Rose Bud, a Sculpey™rotating alphabet text stamp,
and a technique I refer to as "zeninkedge" at the
perimeter of the card; the gold accents done with a gold
Sakura Gelly Roll® pen 
Hamadox actually reminds me of the blades of a an electric fan. How appropriate for this project.

Here's what the high school Zentangle Club created in our quick meeting on Monday. Some of them also created a traditional tile with hamadox, so their cards are not as far along. They do beautiful work, and I hope I get to see these cards after they are completed, before the students give them away!

Zentangle Club "Fan Mail" Cards
After I tangled hamadox in the middle of the embossed fan, I realized I might not have followed the steps precisely, so I checked the step-outs again and realized that the first petals of the hamail section, on the outside of the paradox square, were far longer than they needed to be. (If you are wondering why I am referring to different tangles, see below.) Ultimately, I was happy with how it turned out, but I adjusted this when I drew hamadox on a regular tile. It's such a fun and beautiful tangle!

hamadox with auras, a hint of crescent moon,
 and a tier of pearl...set on a patina background
For those who don't know, "UMT" stands for "Use My Tangle" and it is a monthly feature on the Diva Challenge schedule—the first Monday of each month is a UMT week. It's a great way to build up your tangle library and insert a new tangle into your repertoire if you are not familiar with the chosen tangle, or to get reacquainted with it if it's one you already know. It is always a joy to see what tanglers around the world do to incorporate the same tangle into their art; there is always grand variety!

Hamadox is actually a "tango"—a lovely dance between two existing tangles that work exquisitely together. In this case, those two tangles are hamail and paradox (also known as Rick's paradox). Hamail was presented to the world by Swiss CZT Tina Hunziker; you can read about it's origins here.
Paradox is a Zentangle® tangle that looks incredibly complex, yet is extremely simple once you understand how to construct it. It's one of my favorites! A few years ago, Canadian CZT Margaret Bremner shared with the world a fantastic resource for exploring paradox, which I encourage you to check out by clicking this link.

Hamadox also reminds me of another luscious tangle, showgirl, by Vicki Bassett, CZT, and also of biscus,Vicki's more angular tangle of similar construction.

Thank you, Diana Schreur, if you are reading this! For those of you who are, like me, interested in the locations/nationalities of all the tanglers who influence our work, Diana lives in the Netherlands. Her blog is called "Didisch Website" and you can see more of her tangles here. Her blog is full of fabulous tangled art! Check it out!

That is all for now. I hope to get another post up soon, as I have so much more to share with you!

Comments are always cherished.
Happy tangling!
Amy