Friday, 14 February 2020

a whole lotta love

For the past two weeks my tangling has been wholly heart-shaped as I've been joining in with Margurite Samama's ValenTangle – now in its fifth year. I took part for the first time last year in an effort to overcome my aversion to heart-based tangles. It worked – as I can now see them as just another geometric shape, ripe and ready for tangling.

ValenTangle 2020 - pencil and paper and ink and love

Last year I worked in blue, this year I decided to warm things up, but just a little. I'm still enjoying working on grey tiles, so as well as grey papers I coloured some of my own tiles using a simple watercolour technique. Take a grey water-based marker (I used Tombow on these), scribble it on to a plastic sheet, spritz with water and plonk your tile onto it. A little trial and error to find the right amount of water, but when you do it works a treat, and the tiles almost look like marble.

As well as black ink and graphite I chose a Signo metallic gel pen in bronze and a
Derwent Metallic pencil in Copper. I have no idea why I didn't buy a matching
bronze pencil – but there you go, and I think the mismatch actually works quite well!

I shared my tiles each day in the dedicated Facebook group, but for those of you who weren't there, or would like to see all my tiles in one place, let me lead you by the hand through a fortnight of love.

Day 1 - playing with V & A, a new border tangle by Marguerite

Day 2 - Trinity variation with hearty versions of Beadline and Sandswirl

Day 3 - Exploring Minstrels (a variation of Demi)

Day 4 - exploring Marguerite's DoubleHeartZ fragment

Day 5 - having fun with Starsky, hidden in a Phroz-type
framework! With added Tipple, hearts and black ribbons.

Day 6 - Marguerite offered a mosaic-friendly string
and invited us to explore it on Bijou tiles. 

Day 7 - the suggested tangle was Jackstripes - which I used as a
frameworkto fill with lots of organic tangles.

Day 8 - one idea for today was to adapt existing tangles in a hearty
way - I chose to do that with my Divi tangle and Marguerite's Madama

Day 9 - playing with the tangles of Tomàs Padrós in a hearty way.
I used BlindMembranart, B-Leaf and Fortuna.

Day 10 - tangle the 4 corners of your tile and enjoy the space.
Trenthwith hearts joined by Melting Mooka.

Day 11 - organic tangles and the contrast between a dark pen and a light.
Marasu frames and then lots of pale grey botanical tangles.

Day 12 - tangle a Khala knot (I used a pencil, I admit it!) and then
glorify with hearts.  Arukas hearts made another appearance!

Day 13 - revisit the ValenTangle string but on in a larger space. 
This is 4 inches and mostly filled with a Bunzo variation and Heartline.

Day 14 - Marguerite asked us to decorate an envelope and write
a note to ourselves to put inside.
A hearty Zenith, Cubine and embellishments on my black envelope.

I've mentioned before that committing to a tangling event that invites daily pieces (not insists of course, but it was hard to resist such good prompts!) takes time, energy and commitment. It's not something I do often, but sometimes it's worth that extra push. I like to see a cohesive collection at the end of the journey. I like the days where I'm in my comfort zone - Days 1 and 10. The days I struggle with are quickly left behind - Day 3! And I especially like the days that take me by surprise, when I initially feel uninspired by the prompt or tangle, but then find the process and my result one of the most satisfying - Days 5, 6, 7 and 8.

It's been a journey taking in bends and dips and corners, a steady stroll about the perimetre of a heart. Now we've reached the end I feel gently warmed and not just by the copper and bronze.


  1. Beautiful work, Jem. You’re right, the heart is just another shape to tangle with, and I really enjoyed the explorations you made with each day’s theme - which incidentally include hearts, but they don’t dominate your work. A lovely, cohesive and connected body of work on those lovely homemade grey marble tiles �� It’s been a joy to follow your ValenTangle contributions, thank you for sharing ��

    1. Thank you Yvette. I'm so lucky to have you encouraging me all the way.

      There is something so satisfying about seeing that heap of cohesive pieces and knowing I did them all in just two weeks.

      I haven't had as much time to peruse others tiles, but now the actual tangling is done I'm looking forward to strolling through the albums at leisure! I'll look forward to seeing yours on the way!

  2. As always, a beautiful collection! I love your take on all the prompts. You’re always so creative and bold to try out new things. I haven’t been able to do much tangling and seeing these makes me feel a slight tinge of guilt hahaha... I’ll zip it up here and go away lol xx

    1. Thank you Debbie! I've enjoyed my ValenTangle adventures, but keen now to explore other areas in a less concentrated way.

      No need for guilt about tangling - surely that's at least one area of life we don't need to beat ourselves up about!