North Redwoods Book Arts Guild

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

October 2015 NORBAG workshop - Zentangle

Judy Rishel lead us in the exploration of Zentangle. Judy's first exposure to Zentangle was at a 2013 NORBAG Zentangle workshop by Peggy Marrs. Later, Judy saw a Zentangle event at a conference she attended and was so interested that she took several classes. She feels it is "an art form that has exploded because you don't have to be an artist to do it! And there are no mistakes when doing Zentangle." No erasers, no rulers. Just a pen, a small 3.5-inch square of paper and and a pencil for shading.

Zentangle is different from doodling. Doodling is random. It can be almost anything. Zentangle is abstract and uses repetitive patterns made up of one or more of the following strokes: a circle, a curved line (like a C), a reversed curse (like an S) a straight line or a dot. A pattern is formed and then repeated. The object is to lose yourself in the drawing (Zen) without concern for the outcome.

Judy provided us with a delightful materials kit. We had an instruction sheet with patterns to use, white and black tiles to draw on, pre-drawn shapes to fill in with Zentangle patterns and even a template for a box that we could decorate and use to store our tiles.

For reference, Judy brought commercial instruction books, and a number of her own notebooks demonstrating ways to keep your own finished pieces, works in progress and pattern samples and practice.

Judy started the day with a white board. She drew three wavy lines (called a string) that we used to divide the Zentangle tile. Then she suggested four different patterns to use within those lines.

 And look at the variety of tiles that resulted.

Color, black and white and pencil. And each one is unique. 

 Judy's last words to us: "Remember, there are no mistakes, and don't forget to breathe." And then we did what we always do. We laughed and played and made tiles.

Black paper using white jelly roll pen

Using a pre-drawn shape

Using one of the commercial Zentangle books as inspiration
Using a gold metallic gel pen on both white and black surfaces

Creating letters with one of the commercial books as inspiration

Our October Book Exchange theme was "Falling Leaves" or "Autumn Colors." You can tap the Flickr Photos button on the left to see them in color.

Watch for the next workshop that will be shown here around the beginning of the month.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


What happened when two former local NORBAG members discovered that they moved to the same county in Washington State?  First they met for a play date, and later found a couple more like-minded book artists and voila, NORBAG NORTH was born.

Robyn Teske joined NORBAG in 1997 and Bonnie Julien in 2004. During a class taught by Randi Parkhurst at Focus On Book Arts in 2013, Bonnie met Carol Stallard who, like Randi, lived in the Puget Sound area (coincidentally, some years earlier, Carol had even taken some of Shereen LaPlantz’s book art classes in Humboldt County). Carol and Randi joined NORBAG and they discovered that they all lived about 45 minutes from each other and would like to get together for periodic play dates. Randi’s mother, Nikki, is an artist who also dabbles in book arts so she often joins them. The group also has an honorary member, Vivienne Bruce, who lives in Victoria, B.C. While Vivienne does not join the group for play dates, she does participate in spirit and with ideas.

The group does not have a set schedule for their get-togethers, but tend to meet every couple of months. Usually one person will plan a project to work on. Sometimes they’ve even done the same workshop as the main NORBAG group. They’ve greatly benefited from Randi’s expertise in making boxes and beads. One project planned by Carol was for each person to use the same size and style of boards to make their own book. She provided the boards and gave several months to complete the project that culminated with a book reveal and clam feed at her home.

The following photos are from some of the NORBAG NORTH play dates. 

Nikki, Carol, Randi, Bonnie

Nikki, Carol, Randi, Robyn

Boxes taught by Randi

We made birthday books similar to the main NORBAG group

Carol's project with the original prototype on the far left

Books were made by Robyn, Bonnie, Dolores (guest participant), Carol & Vivienne

Randi makes paper beads...lots of beads

Play date beads by Randi, Carol & Bonnie

If you are one of the many NORBAG out-of-town members and are looking for ways to set up a similar play date group here are some suggestions on how to meet people in your area:
  • See if your local library has a secure display case and would be interested in having you put up a display of your books. Add bookmarks with your email address and NORBAG's website and blog address for people to take and have a way to contact you.
  • Look for book art classes that might be taught in your area...sometimes colleges have extension or other adult classes where you could either take or teach a class. A wonderful example of this is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Humboldt State University ( Several NORBAG members have taught classes there.
  • Ask at art stores, galleries, libraries or museums to see if they would let you teach a beginning book art class.