New tangle: mmmForesty

When looking at this pattern I can only think in the language of Pee-Wee Herman, mmmmmm foresty. Perhaps it's because while prepping some of the art for this post I watched the Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas special. On a side note my childhood came into clarity and I never realized how much Pee-Wee influenced my life! So in honor of the remastered DVD release I'm calling this mmmForesty.

Using different pen sizes allows the pattern to recede into the foreground.

Using different pen sizes allows the pattern to recede into the foreground.

This pattern follows a very basic stacking structure and can be used many ways in your Zentangle art. My most identifiable inspiration for creating this is the traditional Japanese pattern of Seigaiha. MmmForesty is a pointed version of that structure. Because the basis for its structure already exists in our world I've just documented here its construction for use in Zentangle. 

Some other tangles that have a similar visual look are; Bandola, Candle Glow, Feathers, and Flukes. Some of them derive their final state from very different construction such as All About V.

I first created this pattern in 2013 when I printed some gift bags using my Print Goco. 

I first created this pattern in 2013 when I printed some gift bags using my Print Goco. 

You've also seen mmmForesty here on the blog in use on my most recent Christmas cards. I'd really wanted to share the instructions before the holidays but ran out of time. Luckily it's still winter with many opportunities in the near future to cozy up with some tea and zentangle.

I used white colored pencil to add an icy feel to this tile.

I used white colored pencil to add an icy feel to this tile.

If you come across other uses of this pattern structure out in the world please share with me!

And if you're wondering what Zentangle is I've got you covered here.

 

Tenugui gift wrapping

This past weekend Heath Ceramics in San Francisco had a lovely exhibit; Akio Nukaga and friends which included several events. One of the friends events I saw on the calendar was a Japanese gift wrapping demo. So you know I had to be there!

As part of the festivities the Japanese textile company Kamawanu brought their beautiful Tenugui cloths. What is Tenugui? As it says on their promotional materials:

"Tenugui, a piece of dyed cotton cloth, has always been an essential tool for the Japanese. Not only was it used as a wiping tool such as a towel or handkerchief, it was also used as a bandage and a headwear in the old days. On the other hand, since it was possible to dye various graphic designs on the Tenugui, it also came to be used in the place of a greeting card or a business card."

Gift wrapping is a newer use that Kamawanu is promoting for the Tenugui. You may have seen Japanese gift wrapping with cloth before. The other variety is Furoshiki which uses a square cloth for gift wrapping but it is an entirely different tradition. Wrapping with Tenugui employs similar concepts but is different because the cloth is a long rectangular shape.

Megumi Inouye was the demonstrator and came up with many ways to show us how to wrap with the Tenegui. I'll admit with all my wrapping love I have been a little hesitant to dive into wrapping with cloth. Megumi made it look approachable. Watching her manipulate the cloth you can easily see the benefits of wrapping with Tenegui.

With just a few concepts in mind you can wrap many things.

— Laying your object at an angle to the cloth allows you to cover your object completely. 
— Alternatively if you have a larger object don't stress about covering it completely. Partially wrapping it with the cloth will still make it special.
— Round objects can be rolled at an angle in the cloth.
— And while you're at it use that same idea with boxes. Throw out the western idea of positioning objects at 90 degree angles.
— Twist the cloth to wrap around a wine bottle neck. Or twist the cloth to hold an object inside.
— Knot the cloth. Optionally tuck the exposed ends of your cloth into the knot for a different look.
— Work with the shape of your object not against it. 
— It's ok to get an assist from a simple modern tool like the rubber band! But for this lets definitely say no to tape.

An example of not needing to hide the wrapped object. The ends of the knot are tucked inside the knot to create the clean look.

An example of not needing to hide the wrapped object. The ends of the knot are tucked inside the knot to create the clean look.

Examples of twisting. There are 3 apples wrapped in the left with a twist between each one. Reminds me of how a balloon animal is created.

Examples of twisting. There are 3 apples wrapped in the left with a twist between each one. Reminds me of how a balloon animal is created.

Magumi took inspiration from the shape of the candle holder by tucking the fabric into it's cavity and creating a flower with the ends. This is a great example of letting the object dictate how the fabric forms around it. Maybe this will work for wrapping a small cup too!

Magumi took inspiration from the shape of the candle holder by tucking the fabric into it's cavity and creating a flower with the ends. This is a great example of letting the object dictate how the fabric forms around it. Maybe this will work for wrapping a small cup too!

The wrapping on the far right uses a rubber band as an aid. Instead of twisting the excess fabric a rubber band is secured around it and the fabric is tucked under.

The wrapping on the far right uses a rubber band as an aid. Instead of twisting the excess fabric a rubber band is secured around it and the fabric is tucked under.

The top view of the rubber band aided wrap.

The top view of the rubber band aided wrap.

Megumi and I actually have an interesting connection even though we've just met. In different years we've both participated in the Scotch most gifted wrapper contest. Megumi was runner up the year she participated. So this was a treat to connect with her and chat about wrap.

One of the important things she emphasized is that the Tenegui can elevate simple items for gift giving. This technique doesn't need to be reserved for wrapping only precious ceramics. That's one of the principals I think is so important about gift wrapping whichever kind you do. The act of taking the time to wrap something imposes a significant to the act of gifting however big or small either physically or monetarily the item is.

Impromptu wrapping using twisting and knotting. This might be sturdy enough to carry a smaller object. Perhaps a special way to present a garden clipping.

Impromptu wrapping using twisting and knotting. This might be sturdy enough to carry a smaller object. Perhaps a special way to present a garden clipping.

During Q&A someone asked how Magumi would wrap a plant. She took the challenge and quickly came up with the above idea. I think for a moment she felt like she was back in the wrapping contest.

The twisting method would be a perfect way to wrap eggs. And how perfect to wrap them in this egg patterned Tenegui. If I had chickens I would definitely be using Tenegui to deliver the eggs as gifts to friends.

The twisting method would be a perfect way to wrap eggs. And how perfect to wrap them in this egg patterned Tenegui. If I had chickens I would definitely be using Tenegui to deliver the eggs as gifts to friends.

Some other facts about Tenegui.

Tenegui comes in many patterns which are often chosen by the gift giver to fit the interests of the receiver. The patterns are made by creating paper templates that the dye is pushed through. The Tenegui cloth is cut from a continuous roll so each individual cloth has two cut edges and two salvage edges. (I'm not sure if there is a different terminology for salvage when it comes to this particular cloth). To dye the cloth it is starched. Brand new Tenegui cloths have a crisp feel to them. As they're used and washed they become soft.

You can read about the history of Tenegui on Kamawanu's website. 

I know that there isn't a full demo here but I encourage you to get any bit of fabric that is not very thick and just play around with melding it to the form of objects. The wonderful thing about fabric is you can re-wrap as many times as needed without damaging your material. That's much harder to do with crisp paper. Megumi has a couple Furoshiki classes up on Creativebug that could give you a start.

If you're in San Francisco head over to the Heath Ceramics tile factory to snap up some of the remaining Tenegui still in the store. I'm not sure if it will be a regular item that they'll retail but I hope so.

If you have any additional info to share about wrapping with Tenegui or cloth please share in the comments!

In case it's not obvious all wrappings are done by Megumi Inouye.

New Zentangle pattern: Onion Drops

One of the things I love most about Zentangle is that it's a great go-to creative outlet when creating birthday notes and wrappings. Hand drawing something is an automatic way to make something unique and special for someone.

Are you thinking Zentangle what? Here's an introduction I wrote a couple months ago.

Today I'm sharing my first Zentangle pattern. I developed this because while Zentangle is about being slow and thoughtful I wanted something that would flow from the pen a little quicker than some of my other favorite patterns. Something I could easily incorporate into those unique special somethings I was just mentioning. Searching the hashtag #oniondrops on my Instagram you can see many cards I've crafted with this pattern.

Without further a-du, here is the video and illustrated step-out for creating the Onion Drops pattern.

Why call it Onion Drops? I'm not a big fan of onions but those little purple ones are the first thing I thought of when I looked at this pattern. So Onion Drops it is.

For the Zentangle familiar you'll notice that I'm filling in some of the empty spaces with Tipple.

I haven't seen this pattern in Zentangle land but there are a few patterns I've come across that feel like they're part of the same family tree. Links to those patterns: Echoism (also one of my favorites), Inapod, Kandy Ribnz, Leaflet, Pais, Puffle, Tipz, Undling, Cruffle, and Worms.

I'd love to see how you interpret Onion Drops. Please send me images of your creations or tag them on social media!

Black and white patterned bedroom

Reading nook with newly sewn curtains and a newly hung lamp. Art in photo by  Alex Shepard

Reading nook with newly sewn curtains and a newly hung lamp. Art in photo by Alex Shepard

Recently I had the opportunity to move all my creative supplies out of my bedroom into a dedicated workshpace. Things were becoming so cramped it was becoming harder to work on creative projects. Once everything was moved the walls in my now emptied room looked worse for wear. Last week I mentioned I'd be sharing some bedroom projects. While my mom was brightening up my dining room chairs my dad and I were giving my room a fresh coat of white paint. I've never actually painted a whole room. It's a lot of work! We put two coats of paint on and in some areas three.

White walls aren't too exciting to photograph so I thought I'd share the black and white patterns I've been adding to my bedroom over the last few years.

 

LDpatterns_1424.jpg
Before/After

Before/After

The before cushions are not in bad shape but they had that vintage musty smell. Dry cleaning could take care of it but orange isn't really the right color for my room. For cushions I covered two Ikea pillows with handmade cases. The seat is a square pillow and the back is actually a standard sleeping pillow.

 

This box is perfect for smooshing a down throw for storage. There is no nice way to fold those. My striped blanket is actually a pancho I got in mexico.

This box is perfect for smooshing a down throw for storage. There is no nice way to fold those. My striped blanket is actually a pancho I got in mexico.

My bedside tables are waiting for some project love. I'd like to paint the tops of them yellow. Art in photo by  Courtney Cerruti.

My bedside tables are waiting for some project love. I'd like to paint the tops of them yellow. Art in photo by Courtney Cerruti.

LDpatterns_1496.jpg

My bedroom curtains were another parent/daughter project from several years back. They started the black and white movement in my room. 

A fresh coat of paint for my kitchen stool with the extra paint from the bedroom walls.

A fresh coat of paint for my kitchen stool with the extra paint from the bedroom walls.

Now that my walls are painted and the millions of pin holes have been filled in I'm reluctant to put anything on the walls. I will put stuff up eventually after much planning and consideration. Right now I'm enjoying my slightly empty room. It feels fresh and I'm repressing my urge to fill it up again.