Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Awesome Art of Aura

In the Zentangle® Method, aura is one of the most fascinating tangle enhancers.  It transforms a pattern and morphs the space around it into something unexpectedly beautiful.

In Rick Robert's and Maria Thomas' latest book, The Zentangle® Primer Vol. 1, they describe aura as: "A line drawn equidistant next to another line or tangle, that follows the shape of the existing line or tangle - like a halo or a ripple in a pond." (p.143)

Aura usually follows in an equidistant manner to existing lines, but as with all things in the Zentangle Method, there is encouragement for creativity and exploration.

Most of us were introduced to the concept of aura in association with Crescent Moon.  In my example below, Crescent Moon is aura-ed as the definition above describes:

Notice that each aura is drawn at about the same distance from an existing line.

Side notes:  When using aura, as with all tangles, keep in mind that the whole is very much the sum of its parts.  Focus on the outcome, not on one particular line that may not have - at first - gone in the manner you intended.
When I teach this concept, I always interject that I am a "reformed perfectionist."  In the past, a line that may have strayed a bit, become wobbly, or fallen short of the intended mark, would have unsettled me, perhaps even driven me to begin again (gasp).  That there are "no mistakes", only creative opportunities, that there is no backspace button when tangling, and that the idea (a great metaphor for life) is to always move forward, has released me of those tendencies to strive for perfection.
Only God is perfect, so the pressure is off the rest of us!

Now, taking the same Crescent Moon example, I'll add aura again, but this time use one continuous line as I work toward the center:
The look is similar, yet has its own nuances .

Let's explore one more option using Crescent Moon.  After the initial aura, I'll add subsequent aura and each time return to the points of the first aura line:
Again, similar strokes, yet the look is much different from the first.

Here they are side-by-side for easier comparison:

This leads me to one more type of aura that has fascinated me from the time I learned of it through Yamit Fridman's Z-Trick pattern.  In her step out, Yamit adds inner aura to Z-Trick's triangles by beginning and ending at the same point.

I often refer to this technique as "Z-Trick" aura.
Let's do a little experiment by adding aura to triangles in three different ways:  
     *equidistant and individual aura
     * equidistant and single line aura, and
     *in Z-Trick fashion ~

Ahh, the endless possibilities of tangling...

The continuous move of the pen that Yamit used in Z-Trick inspired two of my patterns: Pauline's Pigtail and Uncorked.  Both of these tangles begin and end at the same point and include that pleasing, continuous movement.

Here is a monotangle that features Pauline's Pigtail ~
Paulines' Pigtail Tile by Adele Bruno, CZT

And here is a Zendala that features Uncorked in the center ~

Zendala by Adele Bruno, CZT
Uncorked, Cat-Kin, Zinger, and Ahh

I hope this inspires you to explore even more aura in your tangling.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

Unable are the loved to die
For love is immortality...  
~ Emily Dickinson

IAST #154 by Adele Bruno, CZT ...for Laura

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

"It's a String Thing" #155

It's Tuesday, your good news day!

We are just one week away from our third birthday celebration and the beginning of year four.  Let's get ready, limber up our fingers, uncap our Microns, and warm up with this last challenge of year three...

We begin with this straight lined string inspired by CZT Margaret Bremner's St. John's Cross (used in IAST #154) ~

IAST #155  String by Adele Bruno, CZT

The tangles we will use include ~

Cadent and

Bales by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts, Zentangle® founders
Click here and here to view my past posts on Bales.

Z-Trik by Yamit Fridman

All three tangles are grid based, so this should be a wonderful exercise.  Keep in mind that even though the lines of the string are straight, the tangle grids do not have to be.

Simply pencil the string line onto your tile and tangle away! 

Here are the (Not so) Official Guidelines: 
* Challenges are posted on Tuesdays.
*Use the string posted for the week and patterns that begin or contain the letter(s) indicated
* Submit a photo of your tile saved as jpg or scan your tile (300 dpi or higher) and save as a jpg
*Email your jpg file as an attachment to -
*Entries are to be submitted by Saturday evenings.
*Photos and 'Best of Show' are posted on Mondays. 

Send in your photos - you will encourage and inspire fellow Zentangle® enthusiasts all over the world.  WHEN YOU SIGN YOUR NAME, PLEASE INCLUDE WHERE YOU LIVE.  

PLEASE NOTE: It is not necessary for you to have a blog or website to participate. 
In order to eligible for the drawing, you must send in your completed tile.

If you do have a blog or website, I will add a link upon request. 
Please include the site specific URL. 

I look forward to your emails.

"It's a String Thing" #154 Tiles

This week we used a string with two loops and four unique patterns.  While we are quite used to diversity in each of the tiles, wait until you see these...

Vacationing tanglers sent tiles from the Isle of Skye and the Black Forest, while another, just home from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Game Reserve between South Africa and Botswana, caught up with past challenges.
We also welcome three new tanglers - two from Florida and one from Spain.  In all, eleven countries from around the world are represented below.
"Where else is there such a place?", I ask with awe.  The community we have here is wondrously unique, thank you for being an invaluable part of it.

The first tile arrived from Karin (Germany) ~
Today is scheduled to be the hottest day of the year so I decided not to go to the fitness center but rather spend my time tangling in a cool room
I only used three of the four proposed patterns and this week I am more satisfied with my result again.
Now I am waiting for the thunderstorm to come… it´s already grumbling.
Have a nice and sunny week!
Greetings from Germany!
 Tangled Tidbits -
*Cat-kin lined strings
*St. John's Cross in both a square and diamond grid

From Rebecca I (Stamfrod, CT) ~
I'm loving the string for this week, but at first I'm looking at the tangles and I'm thinking, no way, there is no way this tile is going to turn out pleasant in any way shape or form. They all looked pretty challenging, especially Zen Bud! But once I started, I was just amazed at how the tile was coming together. That's one of the many things I love about Zentangle - when a tile turns out so unexpectedly pleasant. Thanks for introducing me to these great new tangles! (Esp. Cat-kin, which I really loved.)
Tangled Tidbits -
Don't you just love when that happens?!
*Zen Bud filled string loops
*Leaflet lines parallel St. John's Cross

From Jean Beckstrom (Alabama) ~
...Thank you for the fun tangle today. I was just familiar with these, but had never used them in a tile. So here is my offering for today...
Tangled Tidbits -
*St. John's Cross filled with smaller ones
*lovely Zen Buds and shading

A very warm welcome to Lynn Gotham (Palm Coast, Florida) ~

Tangled Tidbits -
*St. John's Cross grid lines flow from the string's curves
*single Leaflets accent Zen Bud

From smgg (Taiwan) and on her Istagram ~
Have a nice day!!!

Tangled Tidbits -
*Zen Bud fill string loops
*pretty contrast between St. John's Cross and Leaflet - straight and curved

From Ragged Ray (United Kingdom) ~
A delightful selection of tangles this week which seemed to fall into place naturally with the loopy string. I simplified Leaflet - finding that less detail lines kept it neater to my eye. And I exaggerated the cornering in St John's Cross. With a couple of contained sections of Cat-kin I think the overall tile has a very calming and zen look about it.
Already looking forward to your challenge birthday!

Tangled Tidbits -
*dramatic variation of Leaflet
*detail lines for St. John's Cross
*Cat-Kin inspired string line

From Hilary Merola (Chicago, Illinois) ~
This one was fun! I was strongly tempted to color this in purple and orange because it reminds me of wallpaper from the 1970's.
Tangled Tidbits -
*alternating Leaflet and Cat-kin - fabulous look
*St. John's Cross back drop for an elegantly shaded Zen Bud

A very warm welcome to Montse Martin (Madrid, Spain) ~
Here's my tile for string thing 154. I enjoyed playing with colors...

Tangled Tidbits -
*trellis-like St. John's Cross
*wispy vines of Cat-Kin, dotted to keep the flow

From Sarah (Michigan) ~
I call this 'the great divide'. It warped my poor brain. My knees have been causing me great discomfort as I heal from 'the fall'. Ha ha. Just glad to be sitting up in a chair tangling today.
Tangled Tidbits -
Best wishes for continued healing, Sarah.
*single, large Zen Bud
*St. John's Cross fills one string loop, leaving a balance of white space

From Anna Houston, CZT (Armstrong, British Columbia, Cananda) ~
...I didn't like it somehow and nearly trashed it at one point but put it aside and came back to it a couple of days later. After I finished it I don't mind it so much anymore. I couldn't resist adding a bit of color.
Tangled Tidbits -
Tiles always look better with time and this one is beautiful.
*cluster of colorful Zen Bud
*weighted line aura for Cat-Kin
*detailed shading

From Annie Taylor (Spain) ~
Feels like a long time since I took part in IAST, but it's good to be back, though a tad rusty. And glad you mentioned the special celebration coming up. Count me in!
This week's challenge was a good reintroduction for me. Two new tangles to try. I think I still need to practice Zen Bud and I'm going to be studying the entries this week. St. John's Cross was more my thing, so glad to try it out here.
Thank you and hugs from a rather hot Andalusia.
Tangled Tidbits -
*simply beautiful shading
*Leaflet rimmed Zen Bud
*flowing Leaflet along curved lines

From Val Steele (Johannesburg, South Africa) ~
This was done in quite a hurry, as I need to submit before going to meet cousins for lunch.
Cat-Kin, St John's Cross and Zen Bud.

Tangled Tidbits - 
*pops of Zen Bud in St. John's Cross
*rounded Cat-Kin on thin string line

From Jutta Gladnigg (Germany) ~
Is it a space shuttle with a zen bud fin breaking through the stratosphere...?
... or a flower in a cat-kin vase on chequered ground...?

Tangled Tidbits - 
Either way, it works!
*one string loop filled with Zen Bud, one edged with Cat-Kin
*thick grid lines of St. John's Cross
*multiple lines for Leaflet

From Sabine (Germany) and here on her blog ~
here is my contribution for this week. Zen Bud was new to me and first I thought "Oh no, can't draw it, it's to difficult!". But Zentangle is Zentangle and ... step by step it's possible to draw.
Greetings from Germany

Tangled Tidbits -
*St. John's Cross grid follows the string loop curves
*rounded edges in alternating spaces of Leaflet
*shaded border lines

From Kate (United Kingdom) ~
I've missed the last three or four of your weekly challenges so to make
up for lost time I'm sending two contributions this week - two summer
Tangled Tidbits -
*narrowing grid of St. John's Cross becomes Zen Bud stems
*Leaflet lines taper to single leaves

Tangled Tidbits - 
*Cat-Kin stems flow from Leaflet lines
*super shading

From Simone (Germany)
Thank you for that wonderful challenge, the tangles which you chose this week are beautiful!
And thank you again for your beautiful, inspiring blog which I follow regularly.
I send you this tile from my summer holidays which I spend on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
This is such a beautiful, peaceful area, it is my paradise!
As the weather here is not perfect any time I have some time for tangling, which makes me very happy!
Incidentally, the inspiration for CZT Margaret Bremner's new tangle Skye came from the cover of a game named Isle of Skye.
Tangled Tidbits - 
*parallel curves for three tangles - must be the inspiration from the ocean breezes :)
*Zen Bud filled string loops

From Anja, CZT (East Frisia, Germany) and here on her blog ~
Thanks for the great Challenge!
Many Greetings from Germany!
Tangled Tidbits - 
*Cat-Kin framed Zen Bud
*Leaflet lines curve toward the edges giving a more rounded look
*signed with a lovely mark

From Sra (India) ~
I liked my idea well enough but felt my Cat-Kin could have been bigger to show off the shading. I tried shading the squares as per your recent Wednesday Wisdom post on quilts but couldn't achieve the same raised effect. I liked all the tangles this time as they came easily to me. :)
Tangled Tidbits - 
*touch of Cat-Kin in each St. John's Cross square
*Cat-Kin weaves through St. John's Cross
*Leaflet side borders

From Ingird (The Netherlands) ~
Whoot whoot, this was so much fun to do. Nice string, nice tangles. I saw no other possibility than to combine Leaflet with St. John's Cross. The outcome is very surprising I think.

Tangled Tidbits - 
*Leaflet combined with St. John's Cross along the upper and lower border - wonderful edge with the small black triangles
*pretty shading and detail added to Zen Bud

From Jessie Plouffe (Connecticut) ~
I'm back!! The last several weeks have been busy, and every time I sit
down to do an IAST tile, it's too late! Anyway, here is my tile for
this week. I am pleasantly surprised about how much I like each of
these tangles, and how they fit together.
Tangled Tidbits - 
*wonderful rounded lines of Leaflet
*aura-ed Cat-Kin
*shading adds dimension 

From Allison Durno (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada) ~
Some fun tangles this week! Really liked the 3-D effect of St. John's Cross and Zen Bud was a fun and easy way to make roses. I didn't quite get Leaflet into this tangle, but I added a few leaves to my Zen Buds to give a nod to leafy goodness, anyway. Have a good week!
Tangled Tidbits -
*St. John's Cross shaded to the left and top of the initial doubled grid lines adds great dimension
*St. John's Cross grid lines loop creating a scalloped edge
*Cat-Kin suggests the string's loops

From Beth Gaughan (North Carolina) ~
These four tangles are new to me, and I don't think I did justice to them. I do plan to try them again, and I look forward to seeing the tiles created by others.
Tangled Tidbits -
*Cat-Kin stems for Zen Bud
*aura and shading layer the foreground to the St. John's Cross background

A very warm welcome to Amy Barnickel (Florida) who just took her first Zentangle class with me earlier in the same day that she sent this in ~  (I couldn't be prouder.)

Tangled Tidbits -
*clusters of Cat-Kin fill a lovely shaded center
*St. John's Cross shaded in the doubled grid

From Becky Welty (North Carolina) ~

Tangled Tidbits -
*Leaflet border, weighted lines, shaded white space
*St. John's Cross trellis with Zen Bud and Cat-Kin weaving throughout

From Aloyna Pakhomova (Toronto, Canada) ~
Tangled Tidbits -
*fanned grid for St. John's Cross, shaded to add roundness
*lovely Leaflet leaves
*very nice grid of St. John's Cross and single Zen Bud
*softly shaded string line, Leaflet lines filled with other tangles, and bold St. John's Cross

From Jenny Hopkins (Australia) ~
These were four new tangles for me this week so thank you once again for extending me. I enjoyed them all in different ways. I am constantly amazed by how many talented people there are designing and using different tangles - and constantly grateful to you for helping us to grow and share in the precious art of Zentangle.

Tangled Tidbits -
*larger corner triangles of St. John's Cross create a Knightsbridge look
*Zen Bud blooms from Cat-Kin
*center swatch of Leaflet

From Susan Theron (Velddrif, South Africa) ~
Thanks for another challenge although I found this one difficult deciding where to put the tangles.

Tangled Tidbits -
*Cat-Kin string line separates the tangles
*billowy Leaflet
*white space in the strings loops accents the pretty shading

From Felicity Strohfeldt (South Africa) and here on her blog ~
What to do with this jolly medley of tangles? I’ve used St John’s Cross morphed with Leaflet as a lattice for my climbing Zen Buds, Catkins as rose buds(fab). Was worried how this would work, but I am chuffed with the result. Thanks to you for the String and to Helen Williams, Mimi Lempart, Margaret Bremner and Danni O’ Brien for their lovely tangles.
Tangled Tidbits -
*ditto to all Felicity said in her delightful description, with compliments to her shading

Unable to participate in the last few weeks, Felicity also sent tiles from past challenges.  She is just home from a family vacation in Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Game Reserve between South Africa and Botswana.  She wrote:
...  Lions by day at close quarters and roaring males at night at the waterhole right next to the rest camp where we had set up our camp. Sighted a mother Cheetah and her five cubs on a high ridge also close by. What a privilege. On returning there were so many things to attend to that tangle time went out the window.

Anyway I have made up all the challenges that I missed. Hope you don’t mind me including them. Starting with Tile 151, the tile celebrating the 4thof July, Independence Day; also Hubby and my 49 Wedding Anniversary! I enjoyed Floatfest and Ahh and added some jewels too.
Tile 152, I couldn’t resist adding your O to the mix. Lenche and Kitle worked great with your string about Summer. Mexican feel to this tile. Tile 153 a monotangle with variations of Crescent Moon – great!

Absolutely beautiful tiles, one more fascinating than the next.  Thank you, Felicity.

From Elsabé Visagie (South Africa) ~
Thank you for your inspiration and encouragement every week.
Tangled Tidbits -
*one large Zen Bud loop, one filled with multiple Zen Buds
*Leaflet accents the large Zen Bud
*splendid detail throughout

From Michele Wynne (California) ~
Thanks for another fun challenge. I started this on an extra watercolor tile I'd made several weeks ago for a swap. The Zen Bud wanted to go in the lighter area and the rest just followed. It was a fun tile to create.
Thank you for all you do.

Tangled Tidbits -
*Zen Bud blossoms from Leaflet
*curved grid of St. John's Cross add feel of height
*white highlights glow

From Sharyn Penna (Massachusetts) ~
Squeezing this tile in following a short-lived and cherished family gathering last week. Still thinking family, Zen Bud repeats six times to represent siblings and myself. A nice way to end a moving week.
Cheers to family!
Tangled Tidbits -
*Zen Bud and Cat-Kin flow from lines and grids of Leaflet and St. John's Cross
*weighted lines of Leaflet
*straight and rounded corners of St. John's Cross

And now...
the tile for honors this week...
was sent in by...
From Gesine (Germany) ~
greetings from the Black Forrest where I spend three weeks with my family during summer holidays.

Tangled Tidbits - 
*alternating black and brown tangles
*white highlights, shading, and bold black spaces make the tangles shine
*layered Zen Bud and Cat-Kin add more sense of depth

Congratulations, Gesine!
I have a little some thing coming in the mail for you.

Thank you to all of our participants this week.  We appreciate being able to learn from you and are inspired by your beautiful work.

Many thanks to the creative minds behind the tangles used with my string:

Leaflet by Helen Williams

Cat-kin by Mimi Lempart, CZT

St. John's Cross by Margaret Bremner, CZT

Zen Bud by Danni O'Brien, CZT

Please feel free to leave a comment, a tangled tidbit or two :)

Check back Tuesday afternoon for "It's a String Thing" #155!

We are just one challenge away from our third birthday celebration - #IAST156.  Let's all plan to join in the celebration.