Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Got my goat...

Oh, has our beloved Diva presented an interesting challenge this week.

Feb 19 is the Chinese New Year, and it will be the Year of the Goat. As soon as I read the challenge, I went to the internet to find out more.

At   Chinese Fortune Calendar  there is more information  than I ever imagined could be found, all about Chinese astrology, and the elements, yin/yang, branches, stems, I Ching...SO. MUCH. INFORMATION.

Turns out, this is the year of the Goat/Sheep and it is green, and it is yin wood.  I started getting ideas: hmmm, curlicue tangles would be good for the wool, hmmm, leafy and twiggy patterns would be good because that's what Goats and Sheep eat (and it's wood). Should use some green in there. Hmm.

Then I clicked on this page where the seed of an idea was planted.  It has to do with the Chinese written symbol for Sheep, which is very interesting, the history of Chinese pictographic writing.

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Chinese for Sheep.
 After practicing in my sketchbook with my brush pen (which didn't turn out as cool looking as the character as written with Chinese calligraphy brushes. I love how the lines are weighted naturally, because the Chinese brushes tend to be thick.)

Et Voila! I have my idea.
I started with a string
 Cool, eh?

Now, how to fill it? A tangle in each "arm"? one tangle for the character, with other tangles around it? hmm. Then, thinking about the research I had done, I remembered that this year's Goat is Wood, and it is Green. How to start fell into my mind. The tangle Wud, right?

I also used some Diva Dance along the left lower arm, because I thought the wud needed knots. Ha!

Got out my dark green .05 micron pen for the other tangles I wanted to add. I still wanted curlicue stuff, for the wool, so I did some spirally stuff along the left side, in trios. I aura'ed around them, using Dave Hunter's Linkum tangle, and along the base, and up the right edge, a little bit of fescu. Shading on the character was in  green pencil, and I added the shadow beneath the character in No. 2 pencil, then blended with a stump.

the color doesn't show up well at all in these pictures, but it is very pretty in person. If you click on one of these pictures, it will take you to a place where you can see the string and the finished tile, right next to each other. I REALLY like that. Amazing what shading can do.

I am taking this tile to work with me and putting it up on my cubicle wall. Year of the Goat, 2015.

Thank you Laura, for a fascinating challenge, and the ensuing journey to which you pointed me.

And a hearty thank you to all who comment here. It is very cool to see what people think of the stuff I post.


  1. I love your tile!
    It looks stunning!

  2. It looks really wonderful. Very nice combination of the patterns with the chinese string :-)

  3. Love it! Great choice to use Wud and Diva Dance together.

  4. Wonderful way to go with this challenge. Fabulous results!

  5. That's fantastic-funny, I had a very similar idea. I Googled the character symbol this morning and have been practicing it in my sketchbook.

  6. Love your Post, HeidiSue. Well written background on this weeks challenge. Your use of the Chinese symbol for Goat is inspired, and you designed such a wonderful string. Great use of patterns in your design. Great Job, young lady.

  7. So much for thinking that I was the only person who would be interested in finding the Chinese character for goat/sheep...... I wish I had thought of using it as a string instead of trying to draw a goat---or, actually, a third of a goat. You're right about the shading, it really brings it up off the page. I like it a lot and wish I could have seen the color.

  8. Really great tile. And so much research!

  9. I love the research you have done here and what a fantastic string the symbol has made! Great work. Axxx

  10. Great!!! I love the sign and the tangles you used. Fun: I also looked the sign up at internet and got a quite different one :-)

  11. Such in depth research and thought. Love the resulting tile.

  12. Cool tile---I love your approach to this

  13. Wonderful tile and a great idea!

  14. I relly love the shading on this one and all the research you did. Your work is always different and interesting because you put so much of your wonderfully creative self into it. Great tile!

  15. Love that inspiration HeidiSue! Your tile turned out super....looks lucky to me!

  16. What a great post! I love how you used the Chinese symbol (I was chicken to do that), and your tile is beautiful!

  17. Beautiful design Heidi! I love reading your blog because you give us so much detailed background information. I must admit that I looked at a few before I did my tile, but then went to Google and started looking up Chinese calligraphy and zodiac symbols. Thank you for all of your inspiration!

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