Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tangles® to Die-Cut For

I have been crafting since I could smear glue on paper and scribble across a page with my favorite crayons. My parents were both great at producing hand-made items and it came naturally to me with such wonderful role-models. Many of our clothes growing up were hand-made by my mother and then by myself. As I've added to my repertoire of arts/crafts over the years, some have blended into the others, both enhancing one another and jostling for my time and space in the studio. Some have stayed, and some went the way of the extra drawer space in the attic.
I made baskets for years, learning first from my mother, an award-winning basketmaker, and from other teachers from the North Carolina Basketweaver's Association. I still have more baskets of mine and others than I have room or need for, but the weaving itself has been left. Weaving traditional basket materials is rough on one's hands, especially the nails, so I tend now to just admire
what other crafters do. I still love the twill patterns, though and have been working on breaking them down into tangles.
A few years ago, I took up scrapbooking. It is more challenging than it looks, coordinating patterns in paper, colors and borders, not to mention making sure these added embellishments enhance rather than distract from cherished photos. The cutting tools that are used in this craft are fascinating to me, especially the die-cut machines.
One of the new tools I have come across is the round border punch system by Martha Stewart. A starter set is needed, but is used for all circle border punches. These make beautiful mandala-like circles. I've been combining them with the four-in-one and now the eight-in-one mandala stencil sets from Ann Grasso. I'm showing three here that I'm working on. Why three at once, instead of one at a time?
I find that if I work on an area of a mandala and put it down to dry, my results are better. I tend to work on one area at a time for one mandala and then switch to another. It doesn't break my focus, just switches it for a few minutes.
I will be posting the hummingbird die-cut again later as well. I'm not sure that I want all of the videos taking up space on the blog again, so I may give it it's own page and just post the code to view them on Vimeo.
There are other patterns available through the Cricut Design Space library which I subscribe to. A lot of the flower patterns are very mandala-ish and other embellishments would make lovely stencils for tiles or mandalas.
The Cricut is capable of cutting thin paper to basswood, so I will have artist papers that can be cut and shaped. Some of the beautiful gray Stonehenge papers that came with my eight-in-one package from Ann may be next.
Please give feedback or chime in if you have used die-cuts as part of your Zentangle® ZIA's®. I'd love to see what you're working on.