Thursday, June 14, 2018

Zenbuttons (and Spundalaz)

Cute as a button, and a delightful way to go around in circles and create a type of mandala!

I first saw this type of idea from Chris Titus, a CZT in the United States and major organizer of the Square One groups on Facebook. Her idea involved using a paint-spinner gadget to create concentric color streaks that could be developed into tangled mandalas. She calls them spundalaz. More on that in a future post.

Marguerite Samama, a CZT in the Netherlands, has a zenbuttons tutorial on, here. As I don't have a paint-spinner gadget, Marguerite's tutorial inspired me to try the zenbuttons.

Zendala tiles seemed like the right thing to use. Here's my first try:
Tangles: All Boxed Up, Lanie variations, Puff, Tipple, Tripoli, Well 
I'm not very happy with it as the white highlights don't show up well. I think my black ink was still a bit damp and the white pencil smeared it slightly, leaving gray instead of white.

The second try turned out better. There's a little more dimension to the rings but still not enough for my liking.
Tangles: Boucle, Jalousie, Lanie variations
I came across a pre-strung zendala tile I'd begun a long time ago. It hadn't held my interest, but I didn't throw it out. I wondered if I could adapt it into a zenbutton so I divided it into concentric circles and completed the tangling. Here it is the way I'd left it, and with my ink drawing done.
Tangle: Ginili adaptation
I altered the color of the perimeter ring as it was too bright. There's much more satisfactory dimension in this one. I'm improving!

I had a wonderful eco-dyed tile, a gift from Chris Titus some time ago. The rusty circle was so lovely as-is I didn't know what I could add to improve it. Aha! Zenbutton! Here's the tile, with the concentric rings I drew to begin.
And here's the result:
I'm pretty happy with it, although sufficient dimensionality is still an issue I think.


  1. Wow - these are all so beautiful! I love how you have ‘buttoned over’ your existing tiles - great results!

  2. Lovely to see your first tentative steps into the Zenbutton / Spundalaz scene. All lovely especially the last dark and rusty one which really appeals to me. From my limited experience you can risk putting a lot more graphite or dark coloured pencil into the sunken areas. And white charcoal (I used General's) worked better for the highlights than white coloured pencil which gets muddy!

    1. Thanks for the advice. I was surprised by how much color (or graphite) I needed to add to the ‘grooves’. The only thing I don’t like about the white charcoal is that it tends to brush off.

    2. True - charcoal does move about quite a bit, but I've found that the General's brand sticks more than others I've tried. Sort of smoothing it in with a stump helps a bit too. It's a trial and error thing. And of course then taking a decent photo is tricky too - the dimension easily gets lost in the flat image!

    3. Great! I'll give it a try because I DO like the effect. Thanks.

  3. All beautiful, but the one from Chris Titus is fanatastic! I don't know if you will ever read this, but I have tried watercolor paper, mixed media paper and even deli paper on a spinnable cake pedestal (can't think what they are called) and dripped acrylic paints (even the cheap ones) in circles, then spin slowly with one hand and drag a paint brush around and around in circles until you have a nice rainbow mandala looking design. They come out great. I have done many, but have not gone beyond that, never heard of zen buttons or spundalaz. Thought designs and/or words around the spirals would be cool. May have used a lightweight double stick tape here and there, can't remember. Seems it stayed in place well as not going too fast.

    1. Susan, that's a great idea. I'm thinking a lazy susan could work too.