Friday, 8 August 2014

Zentangle Teabag Art–Two Thank You Cards

Now updated with video.

I have a lot to be thankful for, especially all those lovely people who have sent me cards and emails and gifts since my heart attack. Thank you, everyone, who has sent such lovely messages, by email or blog comment, or by phone or card. Today was the first day I managed to get into my ARTHaven and do anything creative for some time. I am still trying to catch up with everything that got neglected while I was in hospital and then resting at home, and as always, my art gets shoved to the bottom of the list! I want to make some cards to send to those who have been especially kind with their gifts, and an invitation out to lunch.

I am still obviously not myself because I had a field day with my video camera today – it was on standby when it should have been recording, and recording nothing when it should have been on standby! I still have to check the clips and edit them, and it may be that there is no useful footage. Also, working on such a small scale, I realised after recording the first one that it might not have been zoomed in enough to see, so I zoomed in good and proper for the second one and then discovered that I hadn’t been recording… Duh.

I also forgot to photograph the original teabag stains that I chose for the backgrounds of the two cards, so if the videos are any use, I may be able to take some stills from them.

Anyway… I do have some photos of the two finished cards. Both were based on the stains left by round teabags this time – I have not worked on these before, and I love the soft outlines. For the first one, I wanted to achieve a more pictorial and representative effect than my usual abstract designs – this card was for someone we visited the other day for lunch, and after being cooped up for so long, I really appreciated an outing, and our drive took us through the beautiful lush green Devon countryside with its gently rolling hills, and this is what I wanted to depict in miniature scale.

Zentangle Teabag Stain Thank You Card Devon Hills

The sentiment on this first card was stamped using Tea Dye Distress Ink (which was also used to distress the background card which was a bit too yellow). I have had the stamp for ages and cannot tell you what it is, I am afraid.

Zentangle Teabag Stain Thank You Card Devon Hills Detail

I cut out the completed art work and mounted it on a piece of recycled packaging which had attractive striations. Originally I was going to use some torn corrugated cardboard but this was much too heavy and dominated the design.

The second one was more abstract. For the base card I used white card instead of the yellow-ish cream of the first one, and muted it down with Tea Dye Distress Ink, applied with an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

Zentangle Teabag Stain Thank You Card 2

Instead of photographing this one on one of my pieces of scratch paper that I clean my brushes on, I decided to lay it on a diamond pattern sheet of teabag stains. The sentiment on this one was hand-written.

Zentangle Teabag Stain Thank You Card 2 Detail

In both designs, I outlined much of the staining detail left by the drying teabag on the watercolour paper, and then added a few patterns, trying to leave a little white space. To do the drawing I used a Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen (super fine) in sepia, which is my preferred pen for Zentangle teabag art. These pens are archival, water- and light-fast, and lovely to work with. I also tried using my ancient pastel pencils for shading, which was a first. It didn’t require much, and then I smudged it with a paper stump. Before I did the shading I thought the designs looked very flat and the patterns were not differentiated sufficiently from one another. In the Devon Hills one, I also added a touch of blue, and a touch of teal, to indicate the sky and the sea and river. Finally, I gave both designs a light spray with fixative. I hope I have achieved a good representation of our beautiful local countryside with all its variety, not to mention the changeable weather!

I have several more to do, and to prepare for a bit of a production line, I designed a back piece with Serif PagePlus, my desktop publishing software, giving details of how the technique was done, and a short explanation of Zentangle. This was printed on the left half of a landscape piece of A5 card, which was then folded in readiness for the front embellishment.

Teabag Art Back of Card

Watch this space – if I haven’t made a complete pig’s dinner of the videos, I’ll upload them in due course!


  1. Hullo Shoshi,
    I am really sorry to hear of your heart attack but glad you are on the mend..

    And, wow love these cards .. you really do a great job of them well done, indeedy!!
    Shaz in Oz.x

  2. Hi Shoshi,
    I'm sorry to read you've had a heart attack! Hope the cardiac rehab goes well for you, especially in the context of your continuing problems. Warmest wishes for full recovery.
    BTW, I'm not ailing but have a) lost the creative energy lately, and b) needed a break, but I still keep an eye on my fave folks.
    Love the tea bag art; lovely to share, and inspiring as well.
    Take care, and smiles for progress,

  3. Hi Shoshi,
    I was so sorry to read you've had heart problems - I am glad you are on the mend now and had such good treatment at the hospital - it must have been a scary experience for you. It looks like you are having fun with your recorder - I often turn ours sideways as if it's a camera (it feels instinctive to do that) so I'm discouraged from using it at family events and a more responsible adult does it!! I just love your zentangle cards - you've made the teabag stains into beautiful works of art, and the sepia pen gives a lovely tone to them - just that bit softer than black - it looks perfect. I hope you soon feel back to your old self and as they say 'keep taking the tablets'!

  4. I do hope you get to the exhibition Shoshi, I'm sure you'll enjoy it immensely. The American museum itself had a wonderful collection of old original patchwork quilts which were beautiful, if not a little drab comapared to the vivid colours of Kaffe Fassett we had just been looking at!

  5. Hi Shoshi, I was so sorry to read about your heart problems, but thankful you are home safe, if not completely well.
    Always love your work, don't always manage to stop and comment but glad you're back in your art room and your tea bag zentangles are fab!
    Debs x


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