Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Diva Challenge 237 - Charlotte Carpentier guest post

I was a bit wary when I read the Diva's challenge this week, although, it's a challenge from Charlotte really. At first, I wasn't quite sure if I could do it. Inks? Spray? Stencil? Very much a challenge!

But I'm game, if nothing else, so I scoured my shelves and discovered a bottle of Newton and Windsor ink that is 19 years old. Seriously, I remember buying it in El Corte Ingles - a Spanish department store - in Malaga, during the year that I spent on sabbatical with my now husband, Cesar, in 1996. I spent a lot of time doing calligraphy during my year away from work and recently, in a box long unopened from our more recent move to Spain, I rediscovered both my pens and this cute little bottle of ink.

Task one achieved. Now to find a stencil.

I searched high and low for something suitable and bingo! on my daughter's bookshelf, I found a little book that I'd bought her a few years ago, with a 'spirograph' (remember those?) pattern maker inside. It never worked as well as the real Spirograph did and it's a long time since it had been taken from the shelf. However, I found a stencil - mission accomplished! Well, the second part anyway. Final part - something to spray my ink with.

I eventually found an old spray bottle - actually one that had contained a natural flea repellent that I had bought when I was convinced my dog had fleas. It turns out he hadn't but something was biting me....I never found out what it was but at least the bites have stopped. You don't need to know this really, but when I say this was a challenge, you need to know that it really was!

A careful wash and rinse later, I prepared my ink mix and opened my sketch pad.

And sprayed....

Rather more ink came out than I'd expected.....and not exactly where I'd expected either.

But I had my stencil. I traced around a tile placed around the inked stencil. And then began my tangle. Phew!

And I enjoyed it - thank you Charlotte - in the end, I am pleased with my tile and pleased with the process that I went through to do it. During my challenge hunt, I found a box of old ink stamps - mostly quite dry and unusable, but I added a couple of 'stamps' to the final tile, to soften rather froggy green of my ink. Not very subtle, but I rather like it.

Tangles used include Flux, Rixty, Printemps (a single one) Meer, Shattuck, Banderola, Paradox, Bunzo, Betweed, Crescent Moon and Hamail. And a little bit of Tipple.

So once again, thanks for a great challenge, Laura and Charlotte. Check out the other entries here, which is exactly what I am going to do just now!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

It's a String Thing 111 - Hamail.

Adele Bruno's String Thing challenge this week was a little different. It's number 111 - and she suggested:

1 new tangle - the one by Tina-Akua, called Hamail.
1 string - make your own up
1 personal favourite tangle to complete the tile.

I had been playing around with Hamail as I thought it looked lovely. But I had a dilemma. When I followed Akua's step outs - here - I seemed to end up with a more constricted version of the tangle, than when I followed my own instinctive method. I just wondered whether anyone else had had the same issue.

Akua's step outs show an initial petal shape, then the next line starting at the middle, curving over the top, then stopping. The repeat process then begins again at the centre. Her directions are absolutely clear and I managed my first few attempts exactly as she showed us. Then I began to draw with that confidence that comes when you think you've 'got' it, and I was happy with the results - but I realised I was doing something different - so back I went. And yes - I was doing the pattern in a different way.

Here is a very rough diagram of the two versions as the pattern begins:
On the left, is the pattern as it progresses according to Tina. The final stroke I made is left open to begin the next one at the centre. The one on the right begins at the top of the 'petal' and curves down to the centre. The whole thing sort of 'slopes' in the opposite direction.

I was intrigued as to whether the overall effect would be different or similar. So I continued...

And yes, the sort of opposite 'slant' to each finished pattern is clear, even though the spiral goes in the same direction. What is obvious to me, though, is that I am neater in my instinctive tangle than in the version that Tina uses. I can control my penstrokes better.

However, I like to keep trying, and so in the tile that I've sent to Adele, I have used both methods...I wonder if you can tell which is which?

I didn't follow Adele's string thing suggestion though...too carried away by this lovely, lovely tangle. Which way do YOU do it? Please tell!!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Diva Challenge 236 - 'Tangle unexpected'......Pear pressure

I loved the idea that Laura had - inspired - this week. Tangle on something you don't usually tangle on...Her lovely tangle was on a map, which really is a great idea. The string is there for you, you can take any direction you want and always find your way back again!

I didn't want to copy. But I was tempted by the idea, I admit.

I didn't peak at what others were doing - not to start with - but then Laura posted on Facebook that people were having a great time and coming up with all sorts of incredible ideas - including tangling on cows, pottery, wood and goodness knows what else. I couldn't resist having a look and was blown away by the range of things people had done their tangles on!

But it left me stuck. I shouldn't have looked - I had been thinking about tangling on a piece of sheet music. I even started but it was definitely uninspired and I saw that it had been done already.
I was feeling the pressure.

I've already tangled on a T shirt; I've tangled on eggs, I've tangled on wood - love that - and my recent mandala obsession has been mostly on pebbles. I teach two little girls and I even tangle on them most weeks - 'tattoo' style...I don't have a cow, the dog wouldn't let me....so what on earth could I do that was different?

Last night, after doing all the usual evening chores, I went outside to my little pear tree, which this year has produced some wonderful eating pears - big, nice and firm, not mushy - absolutely delicious. I sat down with pen and paper to try and find inspiration.

It only took one bite....(and possibly the recollection of Jean Chaney's realistic photo tangle!)...

Trying out Akua's lovely new tangle 'Hamail' - and loving it! Also, Shattuck which you can see to the left. There's a bit of Tipple underneath but you can't actually see that!

Here you can see the inspiring bite - and where my pen didn't actually work quite as well - with another new tangle, only just visible on the top part - Kisses - by Adele Bruno. Underneath, believe me, are a couple of rows of Birds on a Wire.

Not the best picture, I agree. And I got some very funny looks - but tellingly, no comments - from the rest of the family.

As always, a big thanks to the Diva for such a fun challenge. I have now to see what else people have come up with. Thanks for looking.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Diva Challenge 235 - String Theory - Stripes!

I have been mainly doing Mandalas in recent weeks - and yes, to the exclusion of doing Zentangle! Verging on obsessive, really - which is not easy for me to acknowledge. I don't like being obsessive. It can lead to aiming for perfection....scary!

I have been following the challenges that I usually taken part in but unless I could somehow fit in a mandala, I haven't been inspired. Also scary...what has been happening to me?

This week's challenge from the Diva initially seemed a non-starter for me too...using stripes as a string. Although I love the idea, my first thought was - how can I fit a mandala into stripes?

Well, I tried it and I did it.

Some of my stripes include Zentangle patterns, like Ditto, Quandry (individual 'seeds, rather than the whole pattern). Wud, Fescu and Flux - and the others use typical mandala repeat patterns. It's quite detailed but it was such fun to do. Not going around and around in a circle suddenly felt very liberating!

I was then inspired to sit and do a purely Zentangle tile with stripes - very simple - and I think I might be getting back into the swing of it. Love, love and love Prestwood!! Put my chop upside down though....obviously due to lack of practice. An excellent antidote to mandala addiction and proof to myself that I can go in straight lines and still feel very satisfied at the end of it.

So thank you, Laura. Inspiration when I needed it and a jolt out of a rut. There are definitely worse places to be than in a mandala rut but nice to look up and see the bigger picture from time to time. I bet there are going to be some wonderful entries this week and I look forward to drawing more inspiration from them too.

Thanks for popping by!