Facing Your Fears

Ok…so the original title of this post in my head from last weekend was “Big Scary Sewing Machine” (more about that in another post)…but then the Diva Challenge (#325) came out. Add tho this a trip where I ended up having to face a fear of heights whilst driving, and out came this topic.

First up…fear of heights. I have been working over the past several years to desensitize myself to a fear of heights that mostly manifests during freeway driving. You know…those huge stacked freeway interchanges we have in the United States? Well, I drive a fairly large SUV (Toyota FJ Cruiser) and since I am 5’4″, I cannot exactly see over the hood, and it sits up pretty high. So, I have some little anxiety/panic attacks about those interchanges, and will usually add a few minutes onto my routes to avoid them. Thank goodness for Google Maps, as I can see in the satellite views which ones I need to detour.

But, there are places where that just is not possible. Like traveling across bridges. Like the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the most beautiful places I know. And one of my happy places. I have not driven in the Bay Area in about 30 years. Mike does all the driving when we are up there, But today, I had to get myself to the airport and return the rental car so he could drive the Uhaul down. And you know what happened? Nothing. Not even a twinge of panic.

I was so emboldened by this that I took the Express Lanes all the way home from LAX and crossed over the new “big scary” at the State Route 91 – Interstate 15 connector. (The caveat here is that I was driving his car, a lot lower to the ground.) But I did it. No sweaty palms, nothing.

So, you ask, CharKat, what has this to do with the Diva Challenge this week? Jessica Davies, CZT is filling in for Laura again this week, and proposed the tangle Peanuckle. At TangleU 2016, this tangle was presented by Molly Hollibaugh herself, to a collective groan from the audience. It strikes unease in the hearts of many, even CZTs, as it is a particularly high focus tangle.

I can execute this tangle with a degree of technical proficiency, but I have yet to make friends with it enough to make it my own. It is not one I ever do on purpose, and I have yet to teach it. But, I thought I would give it another shot here. I took a 6″ Stonehenge piece with me that I had been playing with Tombow markers and water on, so I used that.

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I am not unhappy with the results, but I think it just fades into the background a bit. I may try it again more front and center, or just continue to hold it at arms length. Maybe I need to desensitize myself to that, too.


The August Schedule is posted! This month’s special – Summer Time Blues – An Opus Undertaking – will, in fact, take place on Saturday the 19th. We will play with shapes as reticula for tangles as strings, with a whole lot of blue pens. FUN! (Seating is limited to 12 for this class…do not miss out!)

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I am also going to be adding a FREE Bullet Journaling Support Group, but in August it may take place during Open Studio time on the 13th.

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And check out Open Studio – EVERY SUNDAY – in August. It is cool inside, and you can bring anything you want to work on. I have been working on a quilt.

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Oh, and not to be remiss in announcing…we have a Guest CZT at the shop in September. On Monday, September 11, Cris Letourneau will be teaching her class Renaissance Express at CharKat’s! I am very excited for this, and the techniques she will be teaching are amazing and fun. Cris has authored 2 books on Zentangle techniques that I refer to often – Made in the Shade and Pattern Play: A Zentangle Creativity Booster (with Sonya Yencer.) This is a limited seating class, so make sure you reserve your space early. (Did I mention that you even get that awesome mat in your class kit?)

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I have a few things to finish tonight, being out of town for a few days really puts you in a tight spot playing catch up. Sometimes it is a puzzle seeing where to fit things in!

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Make Stuff…You Will Feel Better!

Forgiveness

Forgive me tanglers, for I have sinned. It has been 3 weeks since my last blog post.

While I could offer a plethora of excuses (I have been pretty busy) this lapse has been brought to you by another bought of my self-doubt and a feeling of being overwhelmed.

I started to dive into the cause of this recently, so I can better understand it. I know there have been many books written on the subject, but from what I can tell, in me at least, is that I have too many projects. Too many kits. Too many things I started and then did not finish. But why? I am going to write about this more in-depth in the coming weeks, as I stretch my legs into new role. I have recently revamped my web site, and updated the online store (hit that Home button at the top when you are done here to see the fruits of my labor, and sign up for my newsletter.) I am working at being more productive, and I am going to take you all on the journey with me to share with  you what I find.

But for now, to prove I have not been slacking…let me take you through my past couple of weeks. I had to go to Santa Barbara on business. I decided to take the Amtrak up, so as to save driving hassles and perhaps tangle on the train. That turned out to be a no-go as the thing sways the whole time. I did get to read a lot, which was cool. And in my meetings, I finished this piece (mostly coloring, trying out some Polychromos for the first time.)

Celtic Hearts - Polychromos

I did not do the Diva Challenge #321. I could make a lot of excuses for that, but I just don’t like drawing with my non-dominant hand. I finished the shop model for the Tick-Tock Tangle Clock class from last Saturday instead.

And…if you would love to do this, a kit is available (in limited quantities!) Click on over to the store.

I took a book making class with the awesome Deborah Pace, CZT. We made hardcover books (a first for me) and I think I see a lot more of these in my future. I even set it up in my bag in bag so I could carry it around to work in (although it is still blank inside…) The cover is a piece of wallpaper from a sample book we have a the shop.

Then I jetted off to Austin/San Antonio for a few days to hang with the small human (we went to Schlitterbahn) and to see Iron Maiden.

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I did get Diva #322 done. I love AquaFleur (I think you may see this again later in the post.) I did this in my green Latka journal. The paper is REALLY rough and bumpy.

Diva #322

I started (or rather continued) an Opus tile for the August 19th class Summertime Blues – an Opus Undertaking. This is going to be grand fun, with a whole class dedicated to blue pens, tangling in tangles, and using shapes for strings.  You will not want to miss this one! I will have it up in the shop to reserve your spot sometime this week.

Summertime Blues WIP

I also folded up a cute tile frame set for my Celtic Knot Bijou tiles. This was fun. Try-piggy and Stone Bijou approve.

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I hung out at the shop on the 4th (nothing better to do, really, and I hate crowds…and it is pretty hot here right now.) Whilst demoing techniques to put raised gold on tiles, I popped out this little number for the Diva Challenge #323 – Home. Mixing pointed pen with regular Zentangle is pretty fun!

Diva #323

I have been using the new Pigma Micron PN (Plastic Nib) quite a bit lately, and I really like them. This is on an Apprentice tile, so it worked well for the pointed pen as well, but the little bit larger nib of the PN suits my tangle style. I have them available in singles (Black and several colors) and sets (6 and 8 pen multi colored) in the shop. And the red and gold? Those are FineTec Pearlescent watercolors, applied to a pointed pen. Next best thing since sliced bread. I have those in the shop as well. The new palettes with an updated gold arrangement, and these awesome 12 color sets, and 6 color iridescent sets.

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The iridescent even look cool on white paper, very subtle. (and shiny, even though that does not photo well.)

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I started this week spending my Open Studio time on Sunday sewing. Would love to have more people join me! Sew, tangle, journal, whatever you like to do. Come hang out.

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AND…not last…and certainly not least. This week’s Diva Challenge (#324) Hearts – with guest blogger Jessica Davies, CZT, from Maryland. The minute I saw this post, I knew it was time to finish that heart-shaped box I started at Tangle Island in 2015. It is VERY challenging to draw on a bumpy, curved, irregular surface, so I chickened out after I started the border around the lid and did not finish it. Until today. And I think I may tangle the bottom part of the box later.

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The San Diego (and SoCal) Zentangle Friendship Group met at the shop today, too, and we played with the FineTec, had a bit of show and share, and visited. We have such a great time. I really enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow CZTs (we occasionally have some of our students in the group as well, but not today.) And dear Denise brought me this cute little piggy note pad! A much better result to what started out as a rather awful Monday!

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And did I mention that my African violet finally bloomed? It has only been 6 years!

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I have a couple journal pages to get caught up on, so I better get to it.

Make stuff…it certainly made me feel better, and I know it will make you feel better, too!

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It Doesn’t Always Work…

Have you ever tried something and it didn’t exactly come out like it did in  your head? I do (sometimes n a pretty regular basis) and it can be really frustrating, whether it is in art or in life.

That’s about how this week’s Diva Challenge (#320) came about for me, to use Margaret Bremner, CZTs tangle Dansk. I had started something in my black Venice Journal whilst experimenting with white ink in my “FrankenPen” set up. It was clogging like crazy, the paper was too bumpy, and it just didn’t work. But it’s my Venice Journal (one of 2 small handmade books I purchased in Venice, hence the name) and I can’t just tear out the page and go to the next one. So it sat on my desk for a week or so, then I thought, I can just tangle around it and it will be ok.

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And now the page is rescued.

BTW…if you would like your own “FrankenPen” to experiment with, you can get it here. I include regular fountain pen ink with it, and it has a twist-type empty refillable cartridge in it as well. I do endorse the use of any non-clogging inks that will work in a fountain pen. Both the Bleed Proof White and Pen White clogged like crazy, so I don’t recommend those, but there are many other lovely colors on the market that work well. This is the last one I tried with Pen White before I basically ruined this nib:

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It was grand fun, and thankfully, the pens are not expensive. I really had an anger management moment with it.

On the nicer side of regular pointed pen tangling, I got these done this week, both before and in our class on Saturday. Feather QuillGold WreathWhite Heart & Flowers on Kraft Card

That last one has Relief Paint for the gold accents. It really does give it just a bit of dimension and is really easy to use. I have a few tubes of it in the shop, in 3 shades of gold, a copper, and a silver. I even tried it on a rock.

And I will have an “Intro to Golden Tangles” pointed pen kit up in the store early next week. I am writing up some pointers to get people going. You are going to LOVE tangling with this method, and the FineTec is so classy looking.

OK…my to-do list for this afternoon is REALLY long. But, on the brighter side of that, the new website and store may be up in the next week or so. Whew!

Make Stuff!

BE(ad) Courageous!

It is time for Diva’s annual Beads of Courage (#319) update. For those of you who do not follow, Beads of Courage is a program where children undergoing medical procedures, especially lengthy ones, are rewarded for their fortitude whilst undergoing things like tests, and blood draws, and all sorts of scary things. It also creates a way for kids to be able to tell their stories in a colorful and fun way, instead of making it always sad. You can read more about the program here.

In past years, I have done tiles involving beads in some way. I did one for my sister-in-law, Marie, who was battling breast cancer at the time. I did one that juxtaposed beauty and duty. And one that celebrated Pride.

I decided this year to go in a different direction. I decided o be courageous myself. I am often reticent to try tangles that “look hard” or seem “complicated. So I thought to myself…”Self, you are a CZT. You are an artist. Why would you think it is hard, when you know Zentangle is easy?” So I saw this pattern, My Swing by Simone Menzel, CZT, on one of the many FaceBook groups I belong to, and thought I should give it a try. And to make it more challenging, to do it small, on a 3Z tile (I had already done the circle bit in the center, for something else I wanted to try, so I used that as my “string.”)

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I think it came out pretty neat, and I felt really good when I was finished with it!


From the UFO (UnFinished Objects) pile, I have a tile that dates back to TangleU 2015 in Santa Fe, from Sharla Hicks’ Mooka Blues class.

TU 2015 Mooka Blues Purk

And I finally started working the page dividers in my Zen Journal (real name of notebook, I swear) that I keep my tangle step outs in.

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There is still time to get in on the fun in Saturday’s Pointed Pen class (Monthly and Seasonal Specials)! I worked up this lovely card that a CZT I know is going to get in the mail soon!

I think the part I like about these best is they are so pretty!

And last weeks quick trip up to San Francisco was fun, cold, and the Giants did not prevail. But, did I mention it was fun?

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Loads of work to do! Make Stuff!

 

Dip-WHAT?

Ok…so I glazed over this the first time I saw one, thinking it was a cute idea, but I like my tiles flat. But then I started thinking about it…when are my tiles ever ALL flat?

This week, Diva challenged us to do a Diptych (#318). In the traditional sense of the word, a diptych is:

a painting, especially an altarpiece, on how hinged wooden panels that may be closed like a book.

an ancient writing tablet consisting of two hinged leaves with waxed inner sides.

(Thank you Google!)

In the Zentangle world, it is a tile, folded in half, with some sort of representation of a hinge connecting the two, with the designs mirrored on each side. If you are on the Mosaic app, there is a video in the Kitchen Table Tangles of it.

It just so happened to coincide with me seeing a really cool ZenGem done in just white on a black tile, so I decided to use a black Zendala so I could try it out. I used only a white Gelly Roll, white Chalk Pencil, black 01 Micron, and some silver relief paint.

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I found it fun, but not sure if I could pull of an exact mirror. I will try that on another tile and report back.

I have been playing around a lot with the relief paint, so I could stock it in the shop.

Speaking of shopping at CharKat’s, it should not be too long now that you will be able to go directly to the products I use on this page to get them for yourself, and support an awesome small business! Plus, you have the added benefit of getting things that I have tried, and know to be effective.


I did one of those silly word quizzes on FaceBook today, where it analyzes the words most often used and it was pretty obvious that I put a lot of work into this website and my art…Screen Shot 2017-05-30 at 21.25.22.png

I kinda like it!


Because the web site is being worked on, I have been burning up a lot of creative energy lately finishing up things at the shop and at home in my “to-to” piles. We all have them, I am sure, but I always feel like mine are mountainous. It can be a little overwhelming to know you haven’t finished something you were really enjoying working on, or you get a block when it comes to working on it. Prime example is this mandala, that has been holding my easel hostage since August:

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The other day, I decided I was tired of it mocking me, and sat down and started coloring it (Derwent Inktense Pencils, blended with water.)

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And then at the end of that day:

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I have most of the outer edge colored now, too. I’ll get back on that this weekend. Then a little inking…a little embellishing…who knows. But at least I’ll get my easel back!


I also finished up the beauty. I am thinking of using it on my Christmas cards this year. Colored with Tombow Brush Markers.

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Some weeks are a lot more productive for me art-wise. This was one of those, I guess. I leave all the final pics on my desktop to use in the blog each week before filing them.

These were from TangleU, using Pan Pastels:

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Some tiles from my “started but not finished” pile. I sometimes start these to show someone a technique or a tangle, and toss them into the pile without completing them. I am trying to get better about it, as I don’t even remember when I started most of these.

Crazy Cadent Molygon

Tripoli Fassetts

Some more pointed pen practice:

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And there always seem to be rocks laying around…so they get tangled on too! Trying out a lot of things with that pointed pen.

And if that wasn’t enough to make your head spin a bit…This is for my friend Inga, for a screen she is putting together full of tangled pieces. It is actually 6 pieces, I taped them together in the back to start wand do the tangle Waybop to use as a string. I just tangled them without any real concern about matching them up. I think it came out pretty cool!

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Ok…Enough playtime for now. I have to get packed to head up to SF for a Giants game tomorrow. I hope they win!

Make Stuff!

My Life In Pictures

Had a great weekend in Riverside at the Norton-March Alumni Association Reunion, but that put me behind this week, so I am still trying to catch up!

Needless to say, I was not nearly as productive as usual, only just squeaked out this week’s Diva Challenge (#317). The assignment was to tangle around a picture (from a magazine) and we all know how well I follow directions! And…I am still on my pointed pen bender, so I just had to be different. I printed out a picture of my great-grandparents, mounted it on a background, and tangled them both with sepia and gold ink (in my trusty pointed pen.)

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Lizzie and Billy never looked so good! (I have the original of this picture, along with their marriage certificate, framed. They got married in Custer, South Dakota, in 1899.)

And I did get to finish my “FrankenPen” experiment with the Bleed Proof White in my fountain pen. It is a bit tricky getting the consistency right, and if you leave the pen sit, the ink does dry up. So this is a work in progress to make this a more “portable” art form for me. I think I may be relegated to “normal” colored inks in the pen. But that will work fine, as I just got some exciting new colors to try!

Red Scallop Heart

Still working on the new, improved web site. Bear with me, but in the meantime, you can check out the current class schedule for June here.

Make Stuff!

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!