About me


Real Name: Neil Burley
Based in: Leicester, UK
Description: Mixed Media Artist/Designer/Maker/Tutor

Greetings! I enjoyed my first career as a doctor, specialising in psychiatry. Unfortunately, I needed to retire on the grounds of ill-health in January 2010 after a long period of sick leave.

I am now developing my second career – as a freelance mixed media artist/designer/maker/tutor. I have had a long time interest in artistic/creative pursuits but previously did not have enough time to develop them, and I hope this blog showcases my creative development. I studied at Leicester College on their BTEC Extended Diploma Art & Design course, between 2011 and 2013, qualifying with distinction in July 2013.

I now run small group teaching sessions in my purpose-built studio, as well as developing my new found skills into a personal style. Current interests include zentangle inspired art, art journaling, altered art, quilting and playing with mixed media techniques.

I was part of the WOW! Embossing Powders Design Team for two years, 2012-2013, demonstrating and teaching at the NEC Hobbycraft exhibitions as well as publishing monthly projects to their blog. A gallery of all my embossed projects can be found here. I worked with with Creative Expressions on their Design Team from October 2013-14, with some of my projects already featured on Create & Craft TV. I was invited to join Craftwork Cards Design Team in January 2014, and many of my samples have appeared on their shows on Create & Craft TV – I continued to work with them until March 2016 making samples with their new collections, and regularly featured on their blog. I had a short, well received, guest presenter role at Hochanda in June 2016.

I’m very happy to be approached with commissions – more details here.

[last updated: 18-JUL-16]

18 thoughts on “About me

  1. ‘Probably Everything There Is To Do With Distress Inks’ has me intriqued… If I ever make it to England (wish, hope, fingers crossed) I will drop in, say hi and take your class. I live in Australia

  2. Hi Neil: I’ve just discovered your site and I am sooooo impressed with your zentangle art. The tangles are very distinct and they speak of your great creative genius. Thanks for sharing your fantastic art adventures with us.

  3. Just started tangling and stumbled upon your site. The zentangle patterns are absolutely beautifl! Thank you so much for sharing. If you find yourself doing some workshops in Wales, let me know!!!!!!

    Forever Tangles

  4. I like your versatility. Your work is beautiful. I was a teacher, but became disabled, so I am trying new crafts and hobbies like zentangle. I subscribed to your blog and look forward to seeing your new work.

  5. LOVED art all my life. Just recently discovered tangle art, it definitely fits with my creative style, in that I just go with the flow, little or no planning! Seems to be quite new to UK, am I right? I was actually one day googling for Tangles, the stop smoking twisty toy thing! It found all these gorgeous ideas and patterns which seem to be endless and made me go, Oooh!…nice…
    Wish there were classes near where I live, (Notts) Ive put forward the idea to local college but not holding my breath. Anyway, all the best, Jan B

  6. Hi Neil I am new to zen tangles . I am wanting to recreate some patterns of your web site please advise whT basic materials I need and where to purchase them

    Thanks Jane

    • Hi Jane
      All you need is a pen and paper – ‘official’ zentangle products really aren’t required for my patterns. You may find it helpful to use a smooth paper, and a permanent smudge proof pen. I’d advise just getting a few fine tip pens and trying them out on different papers until you find a combination that works for you.

  7. Hi Neil,

    Do you publish a list of your forthcoming courses- not sure what you are teaching at the moment?.

    Best wishes,


    • Hi Jenny 🙂

      My list of courses is always available here on the blog – click on the ‘workshops’ tag at the top, or on my Studio page on Facebook under ‘Events’.

  8. I kept hearing your name cropping up on various design teams, sorry, but the male names always stand out in this predominantly female crafting world. I then found your blog by chance when looking for some Graphic 45 inspiration and I’ve had a lovely afternoon looking through your online pages thank you. I too had to be medically retired after contracting ME and various depression issues when I was a fairly senior civil servant. Doing my craft work, although very amateur, has given me the interest I needed to forget about myself for a while and I’m sure it has helped me to achieve a reasonable level of health thus far. I will never return to the craziness of the Civil Service but I now help out in a local charity shop and that, together with my crafting has given me so much more satisfaction than I ever got in a ‘proper’ job. I’ve just bought your tangling book, something I’ve only dabbled with before now and I can see that your designs are really inspirational…..as is the rest of your art. Congratulations on your achievements after leaving the teaching world, may you continue to be the inspiration that many others of us need in this mad world!! I hope to follow your work and see what else I can learn from it, thanks for sharing your skills, it is so appreciated.
    All the very best, Judy

  9. Merry Christmas!!!! Just found your wonderful blog!!!
    I enjoy Zentangle Art, and now have just started creating Zentangle Patterns on wood, wth Wood Burning as the medium. So, I am still learning how to use the tool.
    Thanks for sharing & please keep creating & sharing. God has given you a wonderful talent!
    To God be The Glory!
    Donna Miller

    • Thanks Donna! I’m hoping to be doing some pyrography after Christmas too- the last time i did some was while i was still at school…

  10. I am amazed at the number of tangle patterns you created. I keep saying to myself over and over, “I like that one.”
    Have a blessed day everyday.

    Pat Wade of Texas, USA
    ps. I wish I lived closer so I could attend your workshops. I will search for a source for your books.

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