Zentangle Your Jewels

Necklace and Bracelet Set
by Kristal Wick, Author, Designer and Instructor, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

Zentangle has been sweeping the world as one of the new art movements. When you try your hand at it, it's obvious why it's caught on like it has. It feels good! Google Zentangle or look on Pinterest and you'll find all kinds of blogs, examples and information on this addictive form of doodling. Basically, you draw abstract "tangles" using repetitive patterns with a very thin-pointed felt tip pen on "tiles" that are coaster-type white 3.5x3.5-inch paper squares. Nadia Russ started the art form in 1989 and called it "NeoPopRealism." Around 2004, Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas invented the name, Zentangle, marketing it as a meditative process and offering books and other products on the subject. They even offer a Certified Zentangle Teacher Training Seminar.

Get Your Tangle On

I was mesmerized by the "tangles" I saw other folks make and longed to create some of my own, yet truth be told, I can't draw very well. Give me a blank piece of paper and I'll doodle spirals and flowers ... that's about it. After running into a few Zentangle book authors I realized resistance is futile, so I gave it a go. I could swear I heard sighs and tiny sad moans coming from my untouched-dust-gathering seed bead tubes as those little creatures watched me cave in to my new obsession. I just couldn't stop for weeks. The end results looked like I could actually draw well! Who-da-thought-it? It's really easy to learn and has taken the world by storm. Everyone of all ages can do it; it's relatively inexpensive and very portable. When you Zentangle (I enjoy using it as a verb), you not only create a sweet piece of art, you increase your focus and creativity. It's similar to the zone we beaders go into when blissfully beading away the hours and everything seems to stop while we get lost in the delightfully relaxing creativity process. It doesn't matter whether they're seed beads or crystals; gemstones or pearls; metal or porcelain--we just love those little buggers don't we?

That's why it was so difficult to tear myself away from them long enough to try a Zentangle or two. Why, I wondered, would I spend my valuable time doodling just to feel good when I could be beading? I mean, it's not like I can wear scribbles around my neck like I can with my beaded jewelry ... or could I? So I went on a quest to see what you could actually do with these finished little beauties. Turns out you can do a lot with a Zentangle and I've included a necklace and bracelet design to inspire you.

I love Julie Eakes book, ''Clay Classics: Inspired by Zentangle®, Drawing, Incising, Canework''. She shows you some fun tangles and how to do them on polymer clay to make jewelry pieces, beads and boxes. She also shows you how to make Zentangle canework that is really fun for you polymer pals.

Wooden You Like These?

How about tangling on wood beads for a customized look? Here are some great shapes to tangle onto and turn into jewelry. Be sure to coat your finished pieces with a sealant such as Mod Podge®. How about a bracelet made out of these white wood beads, or these light green flat rectangles that come in a great variety of colors. Here's a fun flat round purple bead. Natural-colored beads are perfect for drawing on such as this flat rectangle bead, this flat oval bead or this rondelle. And this mixture of round go-gos would be a dream to Zentangle onto!

Try a more natural material like coconut shell beads or horn beads to draw your Zentangles directly onto. Any open bezel can be filled with resin, as in my designs, to showcase your Zentangle beauties such as these oval shapes, or any of these bracelet settings. There are some very clever items all over Pinterest if you search on Zentangle. So get out your black pen and get your tangle on!

Design with ... Resources ...