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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

William Morris (1834 - 1896)

Maria writes:

I have had a fascination with William Morris for many years, admiring his brilliant sense of design (and his business skills!). He made his art available to many through his tapestries, books, fabric and wallpapers - all with his wonderfully recognizable compositions.

I had the great good fortune to visit The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, where there was an exhibit (a few rooms full) of nothing but his work! Beds and linens, upholstered chairs, so many combinations of complementary wallpapers, some even on the ceilings! Tapestries and rugs were everywhere, books with his illuminated letters and carved furniture . . . if I didn't like the guy so much, it would have definitely been Wm Morris overload! . . . (think MacKenzie-Childs on steroids).

But I digress . . . Rick and I do happen to live in a circa 1875 Victorian, decorated in his signature color palette, (my favorite teals, salmons, greens, golds... tapestries and papers).

So, this blog is dedicated to my old friend "Will" who I know would have embraced Zentangle's approach. I've always been "drawn" to the very subtle images in the backgrounds of many of his designs. Behind the graceful images of flowers, fruit, animals and maidens . . . there in the darkness, hidden almost from sight were faint patterns that completely and elegantly filled the spaces. On a very dark background, he might have painted green leaves or fern-shaped tangles that softened the contrast to create a more pleasing image. You can see examples of this master's work all over the web. Here's an example from a placemat we have.

So, how did this transform itself into Zentangle.? Well, I did a few of my usual Zentangles, but  then I colored in the background completely in rich black. Then I went in with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen in Medium White. On one tile, I tangled tipple's deliberate orbs with highlights.

On another tile I tangled inner auras, mimicking the negative (black) spaces.

On another . . .  repeating linear tangles that I then went over with a back pen.

This was FUN!

Here's one I left unfinished to show the difference with and without the white perfs added in the background.

Before posting this blog entry, I checked with the folks at Sakura to make sure their white ink was as good as their black Pigma Microns. I learned that they use titanium dioxide in the ink and it is light-fast, water-proof when used on paper and has the same archival qualities as the Microns. I was very glad about that because I liked the look it created.

Have fun with this William Morris inspired zenhancement!

So, who or what influences your tangles? Let us hear about it.

Rick writes:

This zenhancement fits wonderfully with Zentangle's approach. When you make those interstices black, you get a wonderful contrast. Those interstices (or "space between" - I love that word!) also create a Pre-Strung Tile within a tile with their contrasting areas ready for tangling in white.

We think this is a pretty significant blog "meal" so we're going to give you a couple days to digest and comment.

This also works well for us as our next couple days are quite full.

Click images for larger views.


Carole Ohl said...

Ok, just when I think it just can't get any more fun than it already is, you go and make it more fun. This process opens up a whole new way of looking at the spaces between (interstices). Thank you thank you!

Unknown said...

I'm with Carole. This is a new window on my Zentangle world. You've "turned my tile!"

Heather Victoria Held said...

Hi Maria,

Thank you for this wonderful posts. I get lost in the charm of William Morris as well. I see his influence everywhere and find a warmth and comfort in his work. You are definitely passing on the spirit of his work and passion in finding so many outlets for your own visionary work. Thank you for all of your inspiration.

Lois Heinani Stokes said...

Aloha Maria,
I find that black space is a part of almost everything that I create lately. I do so love the contrast and balance of black and white. Thanks for adding another zenhancement for me to try. As for my favorite artists ~ Andy Goldsworthy and Guillaume Azoulay top my list.

Zentangle said...

Lois, I checked these guys out and they are fabulous. Thanks for telling me about them! Everyone should take a look! Maria

Shelly Beauch said...

Oh goodness, the concentration. Coming from another angle, I have borrowed a book from my grandaughter called 'The Wychwood Fairies' by Faye Durston. It is full of magical swirling tangle ideas!

Jaye said...

Just beautiful..you all have created a monster in me!! I am a confirmed doodler who has taken the whole process to a new lever thanks to you!! I love the whole concept!!

Jaye said...

I mean new level!!!!

Diane Lachance said...

These are fantastic - and such a simple technique. Thanks Maria, the fun truly never ends....

Amy Broady said...

I like Jay's Freudian slip: "a new lever"! The work that Zentangle does is in some ways like a lever.
Ah--William Morris! I will forever be enamored with the William Morris pattern that features orchids and birds on a rich periwinkle tone-on-tone background. The combination of colors and patterns is visual paradise in my mind. I have fine china that features it (just salad or dessert plates and rim soups), and one year found a tie for my husand featuring it--a perfect anniversary gift.
Maria, your tiles are stunning as always. Thanks for sharing your inspiration!
Amy in TN
CZT #4

Anonymous said...

Marie, these are absolutely stunning! You amazed me every time I look! Will would have loved having you in his workshop!

kateri said...

These are exquisite. I live in the village where the arts & crafts movement was born in the US. I used to work at an old inn called The Roycroft, maybe you have heard of it. Many of the textiles are inspired by Morris, even some of the stained glass work. In fact, we have a room there called The Morris Room. I never realized how Zentangle is so similar to some of his work. Thanks for the inspiration! Beautiful :)

Zentangle said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I really feel this is an exciting direction to go with Zentangle. The possibilities are endless! Molly just came over for tea with new samples she created using this technique and a few she threw in! I can't wait to see examples all our tanglers create with these suggestions. Please tell us your "discoveries" when trying these out. Maria (and Rick)