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.

Diva #320

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.)

Diva #317

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.

Diva #315-Shaded

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!

Golden Molygons

I have a confession to make. Since TangleU, I have become a bit obsessed with pointed pen tangling. To the point (pun intended) where I have been trying to make it more portable (per a suggestion from Cherryl Moote) by converting a fountain pen. So far, I am still experimenting with this, as I’m not completely happy with how runny the ink seems, so I will be trying different things here until I like it. (Regular fountain pen ink tends to bloop up and if I am not watching it carefully, said bloop ends up on my paper…)

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But, when I switched back to my regular dip pen with gouache, it seemed much better.

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I am finding the Zentangle tiles a bit tricky, as they seem pretty rough and fibrous. Smoother papers work better for this. So that led me to try some Kuretake Gold Sumi Ink I had on black Artist Tile paper that I cut to a Zendala size. And what better way to practice than on this week’s Diva Challenge (#315) for a foray into Molygon. Molygon was featured on Kitchen Table Tangles with Rick & Maria on the Zentangle Mosaic App this week, and after watching the video, I thought I would give it a shot with my golden ink.

Diva #315

I figured to not do any shading on that, but I may go back later and try it with a gold Pan Pastel and see how that works.


I have been VERY  productive busy bee this week. Not only did I get a good portion of my office cleaned up, sorted, and filed, but I finished a few things.

First up, another book from Cherryl Moote’s class at TangleU. The closure is a wooden dolphin that Elaine gave us on the last day as a reminder of the event, so I drilled some holes in him and used some muted turquoise ink to distress him a bit. IMG_4971

I also finished my Visigothic Versals project from the workshop we had with Risa Gettler. I think we may hold it again in the fall, so don’t feel left out.

The World VV Project

It is a pretty big piece, so  you would have to see it in person.

And today, we had a great meet up with the San Diego Tanglers Friendship group at the Bernardo Winery. Nancy Robinson, CZT, gave us a great tutorial on Zen Gems, and I made this turquoise lovely.

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If you would like to see some great examples of how to draw and color these, check out this free download of Tim McCreight’s Practical Jewelry Rendering. Not only does it cover stones like this, but also cut gems, gold, silver, and pearls. And did I mention that it is free?

I did a few more in my journal as well..

And I think I really like the new Dingbatz. So much that I managed to make a giant one on a journal page I was working on in an art journal.

Dingbatz Bridge

And in addition to all that, I drafted a new logo for the web page, but you will have to wait to see that.

Gotta get to making dinner now!

Return to…Normal?

Whew. Whenever I travel, I love where I go and what I do, and by the end of my journey, I am always glad to be home. When I travel for TangleU (Continuing Education-thype event for Certified Zentangle Teachers) there is also a euphoria of spending an amount of time with my tribe and kindred spirits. But there is also a Post Conference-Funk that Cherryl Moore so eloquently wrote about here.

I am going through the post-euphoria phase, trying to finish quite a number of unfinished projects, but also pleasantly surprised with that I accomplished. We had so many great classes this year, it was an amazing learning experience, and really pushed my boundaries into a few things I had a previous fear of…like using a pointed dip pen for about anything, much less tangling. But that turned out to be something I really took to!

That was so much fun! Another one was the Pan Pastels. I purchased them quite some time back, and never really quite “got the hang of” working with them. I have a few more pieces to finish of this, but you get the idea.

TU Pan Pastel Hibiscus Tag

And I would be remiss if I didn’t again evoke the name of Cherryl Moore, because I spent not one, but 2 classes with her. So far, I have finished one of my journals from her Thursday class.

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Leather cover, Arches Text Wove interior. I have one more like that to fold and finish tonite, and then to figure out my finishing for a cute Coptic stitch book with 32 lb bond and a watercolor cover (yes…I will share that when I finish it!)

Nysha Nelson also had a very interesting class, where I actually completed tiles. We looked at different color combinations and shading techniques. It was quite nice to see what differences there were in everyones tiles from the same set of instructions.

Needless to say, I had a great time, and got to share space with some amazing people!

I also got all my Diva Challenges done while I was gone, but didn’t get them posted. So starting with #312 – Coffee, Tea or Me? I spilled out the last drop of wine from my glass and let the tile dry. I tangled it with a purple Pigma Micron PN and shaded with a purple chalk pastel.

Diva #312

And then there was #313 – Earth (Amanda) Day. I have to confess that I took this with me on the trip to work on, and finished it just as that day was announced. The background is Art Graf water soluble pigment/graphite. I used the sepia colored one and water to cover the page, then erased through several different stencils to get the shapes. Tangled with a Pigma Micron PN in sepia and then “colored” with Peerless Watercolors.

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It reminds me of the U.S. Forest Servies’ commercials with Woodsy Owl. I think they were in the 1970’s. Woodsy Owl says Give a Hoot…Don’t Pollute!

And finally, this week, #314 – Use My Tangle – Scallamps by Sarah Uram, CZT. I thought this tangle had a lot of potential, so I decided to pair it with some corner Dingbatz that were featured in Kitchen Table Tangles recently.

Diva #314

And I know you want to know about that cute book! That brings me to the 2nd week of my recent trip, after TangleU we headed to Austin, Texas, to spend time with the most adorable G(r)ay Batman on the plant. (He can’t say his “R”s well yet…)

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We did lots of fun things; went to Natural Bridges Wildlife Ranch, where we were nearly eaten by an ostrich poking his head in the car, explored a cave at Natural Bridges Caverns, and spent a lot of time in the pool.

But, I also had a side trip to collect on my birthday present. Most of you know that I am rather obsessed with handmade books, so when I saw a segment on Iona Handcrafted Books that someone shared on FaceBook, I knew that was a place I needed to be. Be sure to check out the video on their website, so you can see why I was jazzed!

It smells so good there. I purchased a photo album gift for someone…and 2 books for myself. The smaller one is a “Cub 25” that they do not have listed on the website. It has bamboo paper, and I am finding that it really likes just about any pen I have put to it. And it has enough tooth to shade well, and enough thickness to tangle (or write) on both sides of the paper. It is tangle sized too…which is a fun, but the thicker pages are a bit of a chore to hold open in the smaller format. (read, I will tangle in this every night till I fill it up!)

The smaller book was to hold me over until my big one was finished and I picked it up on the way to the airport (really close by if you are in Austin.) This one is 7.5 x 7.5 inches, has yummy butterscotch leather, a dark brown lace, and a a vintage rosette/back plate from an old door knob on the front flap that has Celtic knots on it. 100 pages of watercolor paper. I can’t wait to take this on our Australia/New Zealand trip this year!

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I cannot say enough nice things about these books. All their paper is meant to be used on both sides, so no bleed through even with a fountain pen. I am thrilled!


On the note of what is going on with the shop/website. I am taking some time this month to do a complete reset on both. There is a very limited class schedule this month, and I will post a couple of Open Studio times when I get a minute. The website is in process, and I hope to be live with a whole new and very unique shopping experience for the Zentangle® enthusiast. Bear with me…

Make Stuff…You Will Feel Better!

 

Square Pegs in Round Holes

What? I know what you are saying….Char…what happened to the new web site? I can tell you that it is currently under construction, so I will have to blog here for at least the next couple weeks. I probably won’t be making lots of updates to this page, except some final clean ups, but the new site, I am hoping, will be live on May 1. I promise, it will be worth the wait! And a whole NEW shopping experience to boot.

This week’s Diva Challenge (#311) is Circle Square String Theory. Use at least one circle and one square as your string. Cool. So I chose another one of my prided Zendalas, this one a pretty marbled looking one in blue and pink. and traced a Bijou tile, and made a few circles with my trusty Helix Circle Maker (and did the outer ring with it too.) You may have noticed that I am using Celtic knots a lot, as I am further exploring the techniques I teach in Ready or Knot (my Celtic knot kit, available in the store after TangleU.) I also used my Tangle Dice to help me select tangles for the rest of the spaces, as I am getting a bit stuck in a rut of using the same old same old all the time. That was a lot of fun (and another cool thing that will be available in the store after TangleU!)

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I think I made my Arc Flower too small, so it was a bit dicey to shade. But a bun organic looking tangle nonetheless.

Diva #311


We had a lovely weekend workshop with Risa Gettler on Dancing Spanish Letters (formerly titled Visigothic Versals.) I am still in progress with my piece, I need to add the art to it, but here is a preview:

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I have to say I am really enjoying the creativity of this hand above the others I have learned. I am already plotting out text for an artwork I started 2 years ago and shelved for lack of ability to write words on a page.


We also had a fun meeting of the San Diego Zentangle Friendship Group, where we had some lessons on backgrounds grids and tangles. I whipped out one of my watercolor tiles that had a paint blot on it and did the background in Fife. Good Stuff!

Backgrounds with Watercolor

It is smaller than a regular tile, and on watercolor paper. Tangles in Sepia with a sepia Conte Crayon for the border.


ok…back to work for me…have to finish the laundry so I can pack. We are taking off for Florida on Saturday! yay! Next week, I will post from there!

Changes…and Noom

CharKat’s Creative Insanity is about to undergo a drastic reset! I can tell you this will benefit all those of you who wish  you could come take classes with me, but live far away…but that’s all I am going to tease!


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I attended the Path to Profit Creative Business Summit last weekend, and after almost 2 years in, I finally have a clearer view of what I should be doing for YOU! I highly recommend any creative entrepreneur attend this workshop (there is another one coming up in September!) You really will be doing yourself, and your business, a favor. Minette really knows her stuff, and knows how to find the best business you that will make your business shine and be profitable. And…you get to color and play and be around other creative people…even other Certified Zentangle Teachers!

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CZTs From Left to Right: Jean Mackie, Me, Minette Riordan, Ph.D., and Annette Carlo


I may or may not have gotten a little carried away with the tangle Noom this week. Diva Challenge #309 had us using it, and boy did I!

The first example is this lovely Renaissance Tan Zendala that is part of another journal page I am working on. It makes a lovely border, and I honestly was not trying to make my Mooka into an octopus, but it just happened!

Diva #309 OTL Zendala

Then, while I was finishing up my tiles for the TangleU swap, it worked it’s way in again!

Diva #309 TU Swap

I am really enjoying this tangle. It is so simple, but looks so awesome!


I had a few more cool tiles I did for my journal page I am working on, that I wanted to share too. Mono-tangles (just one tangle on the page) can be very striking, and a great way to practice tangles you are not sure about. And Bijou tiles are an excellent way to carry them off. Even an ATC (Artist Trading Card) size can be less intimidating than doing a whole time sometimes.


Lots to do today! Tangle On!

 

Mac-n-Cheese, Please!

Ok…this week is a little light, for a couple reasons. First off, I had to spend a lot of time with this handsome little devil last week:

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(The boy, not the guy in the dog suit.) I learned the capacity of a 4-1/2 year old at Disneyland almost out-lasts the adults. (We got there just after 8 a.m. and left as the park was closing at 11 p.m., shopped at the outside store and got in the car at nearly midnight.) “Can we go on one more ride Gammy?” – Sure…the tram to the parking lot…hahaha

Add to that, I was a little under the weather all week. Today is the first day I am feeling marginally human again, can speak above a whisper, and do not appear to be dying. But, I can still  hold a pen!

So this week’s Diva Challenge (#308) prompted us to use our “mac-n-cheese” tangle. That is that tangle you got down, that you use in pinches, that is “your thing.” For me, this rotates on occasion. Usually, it is Fengle, Printemps, and Tipple. But this week, I revisited one that I really, really like, and for me, is more meditative than most. That tangle is Bloom, by Helen Williams. Like I did here, I mostly use the random version, rather than the dot grid. because it is just fun to see where it will go.

Diva #308

I went with the shaving foam marbled tile again, because I feel like I wanted another crack at picking the right pen. The Micron wasn’t working so well on it, nor did any other fiber-tipped pen I tried. I could have used a Gelly Roll, but when I reached in my pen bag, out popped my trusty medium nib fountain pen loaded with a Carbon Ink cartridge. And boy, did that do the trick! (Caveat, these tiles are a bit larger than typical Zentangle tiles, so the fatter lines were good, and hey, that’s my style anyway!) I filled in my aura with a gold Metallic Gelly Roll, and then did some rounding in the sharp corners. I do love this tangle. Do pop on over to her website and check it out!


While I still do not have the April schedule up, I want to give you aheads up (again) about a great weekend workshop happening at CharKat’s. Risa Gettler is going to be teaching Visigothic Versals on April 8 & 9. But, you say, I am not a calligrapher (yet!) It is OK! This is a graphic intense hand, laid out on graph paper first, and then transferred to your final project, making it appropriate for all levels of artists.

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If you LOVE Zentangle, you will adore this! There is a supply list, although 90% of it will be available for purchase if you do not already have the items in your arsenal. Lunch is included, both days (catered daily by Which Wich, and can meet any dietary need!) The price for this intensive workshop is $120 per person.

If you are from out of the area, never fear, there are accommodations available right across the street, and I am willing to help you get situated, make arrangements, and keep the studio open after class hours for those that want to continue working on their projects.

Space is limited for this workshop…sign up now!


And mark your calendars for May 12 & 26 (in the evening), as I will be finally (yay) teaching a Book Making Workshop. In this 2 part workshop, we will design our books, paint the wooden covers and spine pieces in the first session, and then in the second session, we will assemble (sew!) our books and create our colophons. This is a preliminary example of what we will be doing:

Class will be 2 Fridays, from 6:30-9:00. All the book materials will be provided, but you can bring paints, stencils, or anything else you would like to use. I highly recommend Milk Paint or Chalk Paint (I will have some, but colors are limited to, well, that graphite gray.) $75 per person (bring wine! its Friday nite!)


That’s all for this week. I am off this weekend to a business seminar to learn more about how to entice you to come take classes a the honeycomb hideout so we can stay open!

Make Stuff, You Will Feel Better!