Zentangle Class Time for August

Black, tan and white sample tiles

Black, tan and white sample tiles

I have scheduled five Zentangle classes for Thursday and Friday, August 20 – 21. An “Introduction to Zentangle” class for kids 6-12 years will be offered Thursday morning, 10:00 – 11:30 am in downtown Orofino at The Wild Hare. Additional “Introduction to Zentangle” classes will be also be offered Thursday for teens or adults, from 1:00 am – 3:30 pm and 6:00 – 8:30.

Students in the Introductory classes will be introduced to the Zentangle drawing method and the steps for creating original Zentangle artworks. No artistic experience is necessary and students are provided with clear, simple instruction in a safe, judgement free environment.  The number of students in each class will be limited to 12. Supplies are included in the class fee.

Two new classes are being offered on Friday, August 21 for individuals who have previously taken an introductory Zentangle class. Susan will introduce students in the “Introduction to Zentangle Renaissance” class to drawing on toned paper utilizing brown, black and white pens on tan tiles. They will learn to create shadows and highlights with graphite and white charcoal pencils and other media. Students should plan to bring their pens and pencils from previous Zentangle classes.

In the “Introduction to Black Tiles” class, students will use the the Zentangle Method with black tiles, white Gelly Roll® pens, and white Zenstone Chalk. Susan will also introduce other options for shading and adding color to the black tiles.

Pre-registration is required for all classes. To pre-register, stop in at the The Wild Hare, 208-476-3358, downtown Orofino. Please contact me for more information, to inquire about arranging classes in other settings or at different times, or to arrange for private lessons.

Zentangle is a fun and easy to learn method for creating beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Learning to create through the Zentangle method can improve focus, stimulate creativity, increase confidence, and improve fine motor skills.

Zentangle Each Day

In a previous post, I mentioned that I like to start each day by drawing in my Tangle-a-day Calendar book. The coil-bound calendars are created by Carol Ohl, another Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT). They are portable at 8″ x 5″ and are made of sturdy, smooth paper stock that is really nice to draw on. I can use a variety of pens, pencils or slightly wet media to change up my pages.

Spiral bound, the book pages have the numerical date and boxes for up to three days on a page. At the beginning and end of the month, Carol has included tangles, step-outs, and Zentangle inspired drawings called ZIA’s. Sure, you could create your own book, divide up the pages or not, and do some daily drawings – but I know I wouldn’t. For some reason, I have not yet been able to sustain a daily sketchbook habit. Usually, I am able to keep up with the Tangle-a-day calendar. I currently have two books going – one for 2014 and the current one for 2015.

Image of 2 Tangeladay calendars.

Carol Ohl’s Tangle*a*day Calendar Books

I fell behind several times in 2014 so I’m still playing catch up. That’s what the orange tabs are in the photo above. I’m down to about 30 days to finish my first book and it has turned into a priceless personal source of ideas for future projects. It also makes me realize that I should get on with a daily sketch habit that isn’t Zentangle inspired.

What daily art habits do you follow?

Are you signing each of your art pieces? Even though you know you did them, who will know who created them years down the road. Will your distant relatives know?

If you keep a sketchbook of any kind, have you added your name and contact information in case it gets misplaced?

Creative Days

Someone told me recently that they thought I was like a little bird with my art and craft activities, suggesting that I “flitted” from one to another. I couldn’t figure out if it was a compliment or not. At 5′ 10″ tall, it’s hard to picture myself flitting about.

I do know that I sometimes have trouble getting started on a particular project when I have many on my mind, in the works, have new-to-me things to try, or want to revisit a favorite medium and technique. Sometimes though, I just like moving various projects along a few at a time.

Take this last week or two for example, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve participated in an online webinar for lampwork glass, watched DVD’s about oil and acrylic painting and gourd painting, helped my friend Sheila get started with needle felting,

Sheila's needle felted bird in progress

Sheila’s needle felted bird in progress

created at least one small Zentangle related drawing each day in my Tangle-a-day calendar book,

One page from Zentangle-a-day calendar

One page from Tangle-a-day calendar

created at least one small daily painting almost every day,

A daily painting.

A daily painting.

taught wet and needle felting to a small group of friends,

Crafty Chicks Saturday Felting

Crafty Chicks Saturday Felting

worked on samples for an online felting class with Fiona Duthie,

Felting Surface Design class samples

Felting Surface Design class samples

and continued work on a hooked rug pillow that I’ve designed around a theme of water.

Rug Hooked Pillow top-to-be
This list doesn’t include the time I’ve spent reading and studying artists and art books. And now it will include getting two blogs posts out before March 1.

I still don’t know if it’s flitting, lack of focus, or just a crazy, strong desire to create. I do know that I love the learning and accomplishing of my creative days. Whatever you want to call it, I appreciate that I have the capacity and time for it. Do you create with single minded focus or do you like to have several projects in the works at a time?

ATC’s and Mini-Quilt is published!

It’s finally out! I am pleased and honored to share that I have written an article about my Zentangle inspired, stamped and stitched ATC’s and miniquilt for the current December/January issue of Quilting Arts Magazine. Check out the cover and Table of Contents page here – http://www.quiltingdaily.com/blogs/quiltingarts/archive/2014/11/13/quilting-arts-magazine-dec-2014-jan-2015.aspx .

Zentangle class of new recruits

I taught a fun, relaxed Zentangle class last Saturday with a great group of gals. I changed up some of the tangles used from the usual beginner tangles. To decide which tangles, I look for those that are examples of things I like beginners to learn. I’m always surprised at how time flies and how much more I want to share.

This is my demo tile on 12″ x 12″ scrapbook card stock. On the left is where I stopped after demonstrating the process. On the right is my final after looking at it the next morning. I’m still really tempted to put an aura on the purk. 

image of zentangle tiles

 These are the student tiles. I love how they turn out so uniquely.

image of student zentangle tiles

Zentangle® Inspired Artist Trading Cards

I’ve recently completed my artist trading cards for the Certified Zentangle Teachers 52 Card Deck Swap. Artist Trading Cards (ATC) are 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches and are swapped or exchanged for the pure fun of sharing the artwork. For this swap, any type of media was allowed as long as it involved Zentangle®.

Warning – I love process and the figuring out of it. This could get long but I do have photographs!

I started my ATC’s by mapping out a 2.5” by 3.5” grid in pencil on an 18” by 24” 90 lb. cold press watercolor paper. I’m a creature of habit and one of my habits from my weaving background is to create samples before totally committing to a process. I laid in a colorful watercolor wash background and then began to draw. Two or three cards later I decided I wasn’t inspired to continue this way.

artist trading card sample

So what about free motion stitching tangles on a watercolor washed fabric? I thought I could do that. Time for another test. I pulled out some very pale, plain cotton cloth in assorted colors and used Setacolor Pebeo fabric paints in a thin watery wash. After heat setting two sample fabrics, I fused a different stabilizer to the back of each and mapped out the 2.5” by 3.5” grid lightly in pencil.

I used Superior Threads variegated thread to stitch this test and really liked the resulting color play. I decided to see if I could boost the color next to the stitching to enhance the tangles so I experimented with my Prismacolor pencils. This really helped bring the surface to life.

From this test, I learned that I tended to want to stitch inside the grid instead of ignoring it and it was slow going to think up every tangle as I went. I also re-learned (been here once before) that when you do a lot of stitching in a small area you shrink up the fabric. My pre-drawn grid had shrunk to less than 2.5” by 3.5” and I couldn’t erase the pencil. Watercolor pencil might be something to consider for the future.

free motion stitched fabric


free motion stitched fabric

I thought,  “I can do this”.

Next, how would I stiffen the cards so I could put information on the back? Use fusible web and watercolor paper. Yes, I decided to forgo the visibility of the stitching on the reverse so I could sign them and apply labels. Yes, I tested this too using 90 lb. watercolor paper and then cut my first samples out. More proof that I should always test things and firm up the process before I go too far.


Here’s what I learned. I preferred the slightly puffy fusible interfacing as it made the cards more quilt like and interesting.  I also found that I preferred to use the color pencils before fusing the interfacing. The little glue dots on the interfacing created a bit of a pattern on the fabric that I didn’t like and even extra heat didn’t make them melt away before adding color pencil.

Around this time, I came a cross an image of fabric on which someone had stamped and stitched. Hmmm… time for another experiment. I pulled out some small stamps created for a previous project. I applied the stamps in clusters, let the fabric dry, heat set it again, and stitched around the patterns with my variegated thread. I decided to add another layer of thin interfacing to the backside to enhance the stitch quality. Pretty enjoyable.

stitched fabric and artist trading card samples


stamped and stitched fabric test

Next, how do I make it more Zentangle like and pick up the pace? Well, maybe I could make a repeating string (Zentangle term) based pattern and stencils to stamp through. What? First, I decided on a string in a roughly 8 x 8 inch square, avoided the edges, and turned it into a repeating pattern. From that I created a stencil (5 layers) that I could stamp the tangles/patterns through.

pattern for stencil

After testing the stencil layers using the original small stamps, I realized it would be more than tedious to use the individual small stamps in each stencil opening. Why not carve stamps that covered each of the entire stencil openings? Using the original stamps and soft rubber carving material I created 10 large stamps. By now, “I know I can do this.”

I had my process, tools, fabrics and a plan. It was still slow going but I enjoyed barely blending the fabric paint colors on plates, using my carved stamps and watching the patterns develop.

frabric with very wet wash of colors
Fabric with very wet wash of colors.
large carved stamps
My carved stamps.

 One layer of the stencil is visible in the picture below.

clear stencil on top of fabric


stamped fabric


stamped fabric

Once the fabric was all stamped and heat set with an iron, I boosted the color in some places with my pencils, fused the interfacing to the back, and added another layer of thin, non-fusible interfacing to the backside. I used a variety of Superior Threads variegated threads to free-motion stitch with.

stamped fabric


stamped and stitched fabric


stamped and stitched fabric


backside of stitched fabric
backside of stitched fabric

With stitching completed, I used Heat ‘n Bond to fuse large pieces of 140 lb. watercolor paper to the quilted fabric. For each piece of fabric, I measured the stitched and stamped area and used an online site to calculate the most efficient ATC sized cutting layout for the fabric. (The site seems to have gone offline now but I found something similar for use on an iPad called Paper Layout). I drew the cutting layout lightly in pencil on the paper and fused it to the backside of the stitched fabric. Next, I cut the cards on the grid and pressed them with a hot iron a second time to be sure the fuse was complete.

How to finish the edges? I made several tests and quickly dismissed the idea of stitching. I did not like the perforations on the paper or the way the stitched edge looked.  Instead I decided to use the side of a small brush and craft paint to seal and finish the edges.

Final steps – create labels to include date, swap title, and contact information. The next to last step was to sign my cards. Finally, and this should have been done before finishing the edges, I checked them all to be sure they would fit in trading card sleeves. Of course, some did not so I trimmed and repainted them.

artist trading card


artist trading cards

With my cards complete and in the mail, I created a small quilted piece for myself. It meets the criteria for another challenge project involving quotes and artwork. After binding the roughly 10” x 10” quiltlet, I free motion stitched my favorite mantra on the binding.

I think I can.  I think I can.  I know I can.  I did it!

small quilt


Zentangle Class Success

Well, my first Zentangle® class went well. There were seven students and it was great fun to see how they embraced the method. Like student Marilyn said, they all received the same instructions yet each tile is unique to the artist.

Zentangle tile drawings
Student work Introduction to Zentangle

I’ve scheduled two more classes for next week. First a shout out and thank you for my friend Laura who put the word out to her large mailing list and to our local newspaper – The Clearwater Tribune.

Here’s what I’ve written for our local newspaper about the upcoming classes –

Due to the success of the first Zentangle® drawing class offered, artist Susan White, a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), has scheduled two additional classes in November. Zentangle is a fun and easy to learn method for creating beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It can be a technique for promoting a relaxed and focused state of mind whenever or wherever it is needed. Susan is one of only three CZTs in Idaho.

Two questions are commonly asked about the Zentangle method. The first is often “Isn’t that just doodling?” Susan explains that “doodling” is one of many approaches to drawing, the Zentangle method increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. Artwork completed through the Zentangle approach is often revered and shared while doodles are often lost or discarded. For certain, there is no shortage of opinion on the answer to this question.

The second question is often “Why should I take a class from a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT)?” Susan explains “A CZT has taken the training to learn the Zentangle method and approach. It’s true that there are books and information on the internet that people can go to. However, a book will never convey the same sense of approach and application that a trained instructor will. In many of the online videos, it’s clear that the non-CZT presenters have missed some of the core values of the Zentangle artform. Also, we often make more progress by setting aside the class time for ourselves.”

Introduction to Zentangle Part 1 class will be offered Tuesday, November 19 at The Wild Hare from 1:30-3:30 pm. Students will be introduced to the Zentangle drawing method and the steps for creating original Zentangle artworks at 3.5” by 3.5”. No artistic experience is necessary. Each student will produce unique artworks that develop as each new stroke is added.

Introduction to Zentangle Part 2 class will be held Tuesday, November 19 at the Wild Hare from 6:00-8:00 pm. Students will learn additional tangles and techniques for creating their artworks and should bring supplies from the first class with them.

The recommended age for attendees at these two classes is teen through adult. The number of students will be limited to 12. Supplies are included in the class fee. Students are provided with clear, simple instruction in a safe, judgement free environment.

Pre-registration is required for all classes. Please contact Susan for more information, to inquire about arranging classes in other settings, or to arrange for private lessons. Stop in at the The Wild Hare downtown Orofino to pre-register.

Short Notice, First Zentangle® Class Offering

Short notice… My first Zentangle® class will be offered Thursday, November 7 at The Wild Hare from 6-8 pm. I will introduce participants to the Zentangle drawing method and the steps for creating original Zentangle artworks at 3.5” by 3.5”. No artistic experience is necessary. Each person will produce unique artworks that develop as each new stroke is added.

The recommended age for attendees at this class is teen through adult. It is a great way to get started and the number of students will be limited to 10. Supplies are included in the class fee.

Pre-registration is required. Please contact me for more information or to inquire about arranging classes in other settings. Stop in at the The Wild Hare downtown Orofino to pre-register.

Here is the rest of the story…. In September I flew to Berkeley, CA and took the train up to Sacramento to meet with textile artist Merle Axelrad. I had two special hours with her in her studio and plied her with questions about her work. http://www.axelradart.com/

I traveled back to Berkeley, CA to work with Mona Brookes for 6 days of certification training in her EduArts teaching methods. Mona is the author of 3 books about drawing as an important learning tool. Her methods for teaching drawing were the basis for much of what I taught as a volunteer art teacher when our kids were in grade school and for everything since then. http://monart.com/about/mona-brookes/

In October I traveled to Providence, RI where I took the certification training for Zentangle® with Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. There are very similar parallels between both methods. http://www.zentangle.com/

Mona’s emphasis is on drawing realistically while the Zentangle method focuses on relaxed and focused drawing using structured patterns. Either way – it’s all very teachable and learn-able in a safe, non-competitive and non-judgmental environment. I’ve taught kindergarteners through senior citizens and have yet to find someone who isn’t able to draw. It’s such an easy way to promote eye hand coordination and enhance the usual methods of education for kids. It’s also a powerful personal boost to learn that you really can draw!

Drop me a line or give me a call if you’re interested in setting up a class or series of classes. I’m currently working with Tina Harper at the Wild Hare to get a few sessions started.