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Saturday, March 16, 2013

French Ivory

Rick has given me quite a few pieces of "French Ivory" (a celluloid material popular in the early 1900s) that belonged to his aunts and grandparents. There are boxes, trays, brushes, frames, combs, shoe horns, little dust pans, manicure tools, and a bevy of other decorative "accoutrements."

If you aren't familiar with French Ivory, you can read about it here and see some examples here.

The piece I want to tell you about is a hand mirror that has been shuffled from one place to another, never finding a proper home. It somehow landed on the kitchen table (lately my office during this cold weather) and at around 3 am on a recent morning, I began tangling it. I used a Sakura® IDenti™-pen. It glides so smoothly and has a similar shine like the "ivory" I was tangling on . . . like liquid scrimshaw.


How fun.

Whilst in the mood, I went hunting in our house for more pieces and . . . .




So, fellow tangles, keep a look-out for some "French Ivory" pieces at your local antique shops, second hand stores, or in your parent's attic. It is not terribly expensive (I saw mirrors like this priced from $10 - $22 online; our local antique store has combs and shoehorns for less than $5). However, it will become a valued treasure after your tangles appear!

Now . . . where was that comb?


And here's a piece I have done for you, dear Tanglers.



We'll pick a name from the comments section (please make sure we can contact you somehow!) or else we have to choose another name.

- maria

Rick adds:
Pencils work just fine for drawing strings. Maria also discovered that our Tsukineko® Fabrico™ gray marker is great for shading as is a white Sakura GellyRoll™ for adding highlights:


This shoehorn was engraved with a monogram, so that's why bronx cheer is where it is!


Click images for larger views.

59 comments:

Vicki said...

These are so beautiful, thanks for the chance to win!

Webster said...

Maria, you must have had a lot of fun doing these. One day, when I finally get my Jazzy electric w/c, if it comes with the grey seat as is shown on the ads, I hope to tangle it for pizazz!
Thanks for an opportunity to win!

Webster@harbornet.com

Ellen said...

They look amazing. Do you put something on it to prevent is from getting scratched?

Francie said...

Wow! I want to find a piece of French Ivory to tangle on! I hope i'm the winner. Thanks!
fsriley@gmail.com

LyndaKay said...

Luverly! Thanks for suggesting which Sakura pen to use on this vintage material.

Sue Jacobs CZT said...

Oh wow - I've got to hit up my local antique shops!

Barbara said...

I am new to Zentangle and never imagined the types of things one can "tangle" on!!

katydidsworld said...

What a great idea! I think I have an antique button hook that has a handle made of this material. I'm going to have to hunt it down. One more thing to tangle!

Lisa Heron said...

Maria, these are truly beautiful, especially the shading and highlighting! Love how you are always pushing the limits and giving us such amazing inspiration. Lisa Heron CZT10

Ginny Stiles said...

Wow amazingly beautiful. Thank you Maria for your inspiration and I love the idea of how to shade with the gray pen.
ginny.stiles@gmail.com

Karin R. said...

The French ivory with the tangle looks like they were made for each other!! Fantastic!!

JillO said...

The french ivory is beautiful and the tangling gives it an art nouveau look.

Marcia said...

What wonderful treasures! Just when you think you've thought of about everything to tangle on, here comes something even more fun than the last thing. Just lovely and inspiring Maria, marciacpa77 (at) comcast (dot) net.

huntla1 said...

All of these pieces are just lovely! Thanks for the opportunity to win! huntla1 (at) mac (dot) com

Ginny said...

Yea, something else to look for. I use the Fabrico pen for shading, still looking for something that would work well on a tile (the bathroom kind). No surface is safe!

Lois Stokes said...

Liquid scrimshaw ~ I love it

Linda said...

These are beautiful on such unique antiques!!!

Lorelei said...

What beautiful gifts these would make to a new bride!!! Beautiful. Do you ever make mistakes? I can't ever spy one. Lorelei

loreleicampbell54@yahoo.com

Jennifer Hanselman said...

Gorgeous! I'm drooling! Thanks for sharing!

keithnjenh@sbcglobal.net

Ann said...

Lovely tangles as always. I hope you are aware that the celluloid or French Ivory can give off dangerous fumes and is also very flammable. look at http://antiques.about.com/od/learningaboutantiques/a/Collecting-Celluloid090612.htm for the article: "What You Need to Know About Collecting Celluloid
Is It Really Flammable and What Is Celluloid Disease?"
You need to be careful of how the pieces are stored.

Wendy Long said...

Beautiful work.

Carpsmarsh said...

Love the idea of using something old rather than something new. This gives me courage; I'm always so afraid of "wrecking things."

Debra Castaldi said...

I love how nothing is out of bounds for tangling on! I see a wonderful antique hunt and some beautiful gifts in the future! Thank you so much for sharing.

BarbaraW said...

You make lovely into gorgeous. Nothing is safe from tangling. Isn't that wonderful!
barbarawshngtn (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

Your creativity amazes me. Not only in your beautiful designs, but also the many ways you use Zentangle beyond the tiles. Thank you for sharing with us!

Sue Clark said...

Gorgeous work, Maria! Another surface to be on the look out for.

Anonymous said...

Now I know what to do with the mirror my mother had! Thanks for another lovely example of how zentagle can transform the basic to the outstanding!
Kate Ahrens CZT IX

Anonymous said...

I love your work...thanks for sharing. kayred at cox dot net

herkimer said...

oh my, how lovely. what a great idea. i have some of these boxes that i don't use any more. i was going to donate them....now i shall donate them to ME!! i love you artwork so much and thank you for the opportunity to win a piece. donna lacey czt6

cctangles said...

Lovely work. Very inspirational! Thank you.

kindredspirit said...

You learn something everyday... I didn't know celluloid was called French Ivory... a much lovelier name! I already have some pieces I was considering selling in a garage sale. Not anymore! I especially appreciated the information on the pens you used. The liquid scrimshaw is beautiful!

Zentangle said...



You can remove the pen work with windex. But it will not come off with water or mere rubbing. THis may give some of you the confidence to try this!
Have fun. . .no fear. . . .it will be beautiful. I did not put anything to seal this. I think it is fine as it is. But some of you may want to. your choice. maria

Emily Classon said...

STUNNING! These pieces are absolutely beautiful. It must have been a real thrill to play with a new surface. I hope I win. :-) Emily CZT IX momzenartist(at)gmail(dot)com

Dennie said...

Beautiful work! You always inspire! Thank you!
dmyork (at) comcast (dot) net.

Anita Morrison said...

How inspiring! A new excuse to go antiquing. Also happy to learn I'm not the only nocturnal tangler! Anita
(Skyehyker@aol.com)

Peg Farmer said...

These are bust exquisite! I love the dreamy, creamy look they have. Thank you so much for sharing with us. You are always inspirational...and I agree with Anita Morrison: a new excuse to go antiquing!!! Hugs to all of you in Zentangle Headquarters....:)

Anonyvox said...

Spectacular! I love that hand mirror.

iamanonyvox at gmail dot com

Peg Farmer said...

Well, actually, I meant "just exquisite!" Can't spell this morning...

Zentangle said...



Peg, I think the "auto-spelling correction thingy" on these computers makes us all appear like we can't spell!!! Since they started this option, I have seen sooooo many spelling errors, it can't be a sudden disease of the brain!

maria

Lisa Hoesing said...

Maria, I am always floored by how marvwlous your tangles are. Thanks!

Lisa
lhoesing@earthlink.net

Earl Stokes said...

I just think it is amazing. So beautiful

Anonymous said...

I am constantly amazed by your beautiful work -- such creativity! What a lovely giveaway.

Renata
(renata.lessismore@gmail.com)

Rosemary said...

Amazing examples on a new medium...who knew French Ivory could be enhanced with such beauty.

Anonymous said...

Oh what courage, to tangle on an antique! Maria you are inspirational! Hugs - Mickey

Jane Monk said...

Just stunningly beautiful work ... as usual :)

Cheryl said...

I used to prowl the antique shops for black sterling silver and restore it. Thanks for re-awakening that love of antique hunting. These pieces are beautiful.

cryshpan @ gmail dot com

DonnaMarie said...

Oh, these are awesome! I have some celluloid items around; I may get up the courage to try.

Joy Dolan said...

Maria, your work never fails to take my breath away! Thanks to you and Rick for creating this incredible art form. Joy

(Joyceadolan@gmail.com)

Daniele OBrien Design, CZT said...

Oh good, one more thing to tangle on. I love these French Ivory pieces. What a wonderful way to enhance Rick's family pieces and the memories!

Sharon McKenney said...

Maria- You are an inspiration to me! You're awesome. Your creations is always stunning!! My jaw never stopped dropping!! (no, I am not exaggerating!) Neat idea for the step and the French Ivory. It has me looking forward to garage sale.
I feel fortunate to have added Zentangle to my life and being able to share this with my deaf peers. More important Zentangle has given me self-worth. And Rick- I have not forgotten you! Every day I look forward to several sessions of mindfulness through Zentangle. Bless you both!!
aslabcslm@gmail.com

Cathy said...

How beautiful! I would love to win. cathy from penstrokes.blogspot.com

Judy Holzschuh said...

I am a shoehorn USER! I have them all over the house, stashed in my shoes, ready for use. But this is THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SHOEHORN! You are a magician, Maria, at transforming objects - and people!
Judy Holzschuh, CZT 9

tangledbirdie said...

Absolutely gorgeous as always! Now I'm gonna have to hit the antique shops to see what I can tangle up! Two of my favorite things, antiques and tangling! Can't beat that. ;)

Nen said...

I love what you have done with these pieces......remarkable!
I admire your talent.

Estelle said...

These are absolutely beautiful. Is it necessary at all to seal it, or is the pens that you used permanent?

Anonymous said...

Maria, Just when I think you can't surprise me...BAM!! You come up with another beautiful inspiring concept. I have been wanting to write for awhile...I discovered this wonderful artform about a year ago. I love to give away my little creations! Most recently I tangled on my flights to Michigan to visit my dad who had a severe stroke; it was very calming and rewarding. I had sent him a Zantangle pen set, tiles and book for Christmas...alas he won't be able to use them. I will continue to tangle in his honor...teaching any who are interested. I have taught this as mindfullness therapy to our mentally ill seniors...returning their creations back to them matted and framed! Thanks Maria and Rick for all the joy and inspiration...I hope to meet the two of you some day! ~Kim VanZyll Carson City,NV
gkzvanzyll@hotmail.com

Rebecca in Portland said...

All the pieces are marvelous! French Ivory was obviously made to be tangled on.

Janie said...

I am a 3 am tangler myself. I have wanted to attend one of your classes for so long but have either lived too far away making it too expensive or had ill health. I love this art form so much! Thank you for sharing the photos with us. moonmother13 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Pamela Scott said...

I almost picked up a frech ivory box at a flea market but put it back once I realized they were finding a small burnt spot with a price tag. Knew I should of got it, hadn't thought of tangling on it will have to see if they have it next it. You do such lovely work! Makes me want to try doing larger peicse myself!