Friday, 23 November 2018

something frosted this way comes

Strolling back through my blog archives shows significant differences in my tangling practice through the years.  In my second year of tangling, 2014, I blogged 66 times in a year - that's more than once a week!  In my two quietest years I posted only 19 times in each.  This year looks set to be somewhere in the middle.  But when I look more closely at the posts I realise they have changed a lot.  Back then I often posted a single tile, with just a paragraph of text to accompany it.  Now I tend to write longer posts, I give greater thought to what I'm trying to say through this blog, and I include multiple images.  And that's just the blogging.

Old news - three tiles from the archives - Diva Challenge responses from 2014

My tiles have changed too.  They are far more complex these days, even the minimal ones, and they take much longer to tangle.  Which is not to say they are necessarily better, nor is blogging less inherently worse.  It's just different.  This is where I am right now, in my tangling and my blogging.  But comparisons are interesting and useful as we can see where we were, how far we've come, and know that even when we feel like we are stuck in one place, we're actually always moving.

Finding our own way on and through sometimes involves finding new ways to work with old tangles.  Sometimes to be inventive, sometimes just to get on better with a tangle we struggle with.  Laura notes this in her Diva Challenge posting for this week - she says she feels better about Pokeroot when she draws it larger.  I used to feel the same way, and then I preferred it with lots of rounding, but lately I've liked drawing a stripped back version, with lots of tiny Pokeroots along simple black-line branches.  Which is what I did this week, weaving in and around a slender shiny Fengle, with more Pokeroot in the border.

Winter approaches - first frost on Pokeroot

One more tile to share today - I started this last Friday afternoon, and finishes shading it today.  I tangled as the light steadily left the room, the day and the working week.  Minute after minute it became harder and harder to see what I was tangling.  My tangles pulled closer and closer to each other, leaving just that space of brightness in the middle.  I need to accept that it gets dark early.  I need to move my tangle time to earlier in the day.  I need to embrace the way the year changes everything, the trees, the light, my tangling and me. 

My kind of twilight - a tight cluster of lots of different tangles

Thursday, 15 November 2018

four quarters of an overcast Thursday

I've always found wisdom in unexpected places.  Fiction guides me more than faith, poetry soothes more than prayer.  And when I'm tangling and truly absorbed in the process so many little lessons slip out from between those seemingly meaningless lines of black ink.  I don't need to hang on every word of the gospel according to Rick and Maria, as eloquent and entertaining as they often are.  I just need to embrace this thing they created and within it I might find whatever I need at that moment.

Tangles used - Flux, Ynix, Opus and Mooka

I haven't tangled much of late.  I'm stuck in one of the gristly bits of life, and it's taking most of my time and energy and focus to chew my way through.  I'll get there, but not just yet.  My tangle-hand feels rusty, my lines are a little more wobbly than usual.  I'm a bit jittery, distracted.  But a window of time opened today and I wanted to make the most of it.  Rather than getting lost in the choice of which project to resume I reached for this week's Diva Challenge - where she invites us to make a mosaic from 4 tiles.  I knew I wouldn't have time to make 4 full sized tiles, so I reach for Bijous.  I then (somewhat stupidly) decided it would be easier to cut my tiles and switch parts, rather than drawing strings.  The resulting pieces didn't fit together that well, the sections didn't line up smoothly and I didn't feel that hopeful.   I almost abandoned it altogether.

I added a black border at the scanning / adjustment stage
to hide the ragged edges, I may be the Ragged Ray but there are limits!

But then I started tangling... adding just 4 original tangles, some perfs, ink, graphite and white pencil.  The imperfections slowly started to fade (they're still there, but only if you choose to notice them).  Each tile has its own personality, its tangle, its quirks.  Each little tile looks good on its own, but stands stronger as part of the whole.  With patience, effort and compromise something apparently hopeless stands a chance.  All of which is true for life, as it is for my tiles.  Wisdom enough for one week I think!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

fitting it all together

I'll start with a confession.  I rarely buy books, lessons, or kits relating to Zentangle.  In part this is because I have a relatively limited budget, and also a desire not to accumulate more stuff than I need, and also to avoid shipping too much of said stuff half way round our planet and back.  But it's also because I sometimes feel like I don't really want or need the kit, because I can pretty much see what I need to do (roughly speaking) to get the desired result or look.  I don't mean that to sound as smug as it probably does.

I consider buying some lessons and kits and when weighing up my choices I try to pick ones that I know will give me the most value.  Not just in their immediate content, but in how I might use what I learn from them in my ongoing Zentangle practice.  I want the teaching to be adaptable and open to my own interpretation.  I want to be able to expand beyond the basics.  I want to be able to put my own stamp on the results.

Having had a taster of the scope of the kits designed by Marguerite Samama thanks to working with her Zen Buttons early this year, I knew I would find all of the the things I was looking for in her latest Persian Mosaic™ kit.  The kit is available to buy from Etsy via this link.  If you are in Europe you might prefer to buy directly from Marguerite - who you can contact through Facebook.

Toward the end of September my kit arrived and I dived in.  The instructions guide you skillfully through a number of projects to help you understand and appreciate the concept.  An invaluable component of the kit is a special stencil that divides up a 3Z tile.  You then fill the 3 sections with tangles of your choice.  A Cobalt colour pen is also included and further feeds into the Persian design scheme. 

This was the first one I drew, on tan paper I cut myself.

Attractive enough in itself, but the magic starts to happen when you draw more and lay them alongside each other.  

Next up Marguerite invites us to work with the Cobalt pen alone, and also add coloured shading using an included matching watercolour pencil.  I love the fact that each tile looks good alone, but bought together a new level of wonder appears!

As if that wasn't enough fun Marguerite adds bonus projects using a Zentangle Fragment she calls Shiraz.  Here it is repeated 3 times on a 3Z tile.

And here it's used to form a hexagon.  Both example use the Cobalt pen, alongside my own Sanguine pen.

This gives a taste of the basic projects included in the kit.  I followed the instructions closely, allowing myself only the occasional irresistible deviation!  I've been thrilled with the results, which I've shared in a small but thoroughly supportive and inspiring private Facebook group.  But the real excitement for me is seeing where I go next.  Because this kit isn't done and dusted for me now that I've got the hang of it.  What unexplored Persian pathways await me?  What shining cobalt treasures can I find there?  I think it's fair to say that this post is to be continued...

Thursday, 1 November 2018

knowing when to stop

I spent much of September weaving this way and that over whether I might join in with Inktober this year.  One day I thought I would, the next not.  October began and I still thought I might.  Then decided against it.  I had a fair few tangling balls in the air, and couldn't really manage another comfortably.  But then... it was so tempting to want to join in.  And so I started to... but then I stopped.

And then I realised something.  I realised that I really love Ginilli (the tangle chosen by Stephanie Jennifer for October 3rd).  And I'm also quite taken with the Easy Mooka that a few people were using.  And so that's as far as my Inktober got.  But I loved every minute of it, and poured every drop of my ink-sodden heart into these four tiles.

An autumnal window - done using fountain pens and Diamine ink

Black pen, grey pen - and a Mooka stem for Ginilli to bloom on

A tissue-dyed tile - Ginilli in a spiral with added Easy Mooka tufts

Getting experimental - angular Ginilli and straight Mooka - with silver borders

Maybe next year I'll join in properly, maybe I'll even get beyond the first three prompts.  And maybe I won't, and that's fine too!