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Tangled Gourd Art

As I began getting better at wood burning I wondered if I could combine my tangle drawings with my gourd art. When I tried it I found that some of my favorite tangles didn't burn very well. And I had great difficulty adding shading to my patterns. Eventually I developed my own patterns using a grid and published them in my book, Doodling Borders. The book started me on a new adventure of teaching and attending festivals where I shared my patterns and enjoyment of tangling.

I soon found others interested in tangling. The patterns are easy enough for anyone to learn. Most avoid circles which is the hardest to burn you are using a skew to cut your line into the gourd. But the patterns remained flat and any shading has to be done with the color media used.

About a year ago, I decided to explore other options for creating shading. I began looking at artists burning on wood and noticed they were using the writing tip and the ball tip pen. So I bought one of each and began practicing and found a way to shade my patterns with these two tips. My work is now changing. The soft shading with my surface burning technique is allowing my work to have a more traditional feeling. The colors are more natural using the tones of the gourd to give the patterns depth. So I am exploring different dyes, markers and pigments that might enhance the work rather than overwhelm it.

Teaching this new tangle burning technique has allowed me to teach drawing again. Drawing and painting were the major areas I taught as an educator. My adult students are amazed at the success they can have after just a few hours practicing shading with a pencils, then moving the same process to the wood burning pen. It is far more relaxing than trying to cut a precise line with a skew. You will notice on the class page there are several classes listed that involve learning this technique. As I explore more complicated tangles and develop ways to shade them with my technique, I hope to combine them for a gourd design that students can add to any size of gourd. To be a part of this change, I would like to invite you to join my Facebook page designed for gourd artists interested in tangling on gourds. Here You can share your work and question on this topic and I can encourage you with ideas, examples of my current work and products that I find that add to our approach. Just search for Bettie's Tangled Gourd Jewelry.

This page is where I will share my tangled gourd items. Both shaded and those done using my book patterns. If you have a chance to join one of my classes, please do.