Friday, 15 February 2019

debriefing the heart

I wasn't the sort of teenage girl to draw hearts on my pencil case. I've had a fair unease about that shape for most of my life. Mostly because it seems like a rubber-stamped cliche of love - far from what love really means to me. Love doesn't look the same for everyone, so how can we all use the same symbol to represent it?

But I decided to tackle my reluctance head-on, and join in with this years ValenTangle fortnight. I'll share my results in a moment - but first a tile for this weeks appropriately hearty Diva Challenge. I actually started this tile for Day 11 of ValenTangle - but it drifted some way from the prompt, and then it went a bit wrong, and then I tried to correct it by throwing a colour wash over it, and then some TranZending. And then I thought it looked a mess so I put it to one side and made a new tile for Day 11. But I've resurrected it today, tinkered and shaded and I'm willing to call it done.

This started as a band of Marguerite Samama's Love Fragment -
which has been featured throughout ValenTangle

And so to my experience of ValenTangle. I reflected often as I worked on each daily prompt, and I've come to a number of conclusions. Firstly that I love working regularly and intensely on a theme - I feel proud of the body of work that has resulted. Once I decided my limited colours and materials (I stuck with a cool blue as my only colour to keep in mind with my Winter Inklings project) I could let go of planning and expectation. I could immerse myself in Marguerite's profoundly inspiring prompts - each satisfying enough to get your teeth into, but with plenty of opportunity to flavour as you see fit. But at the same time I felt the downsides of working this way. I rarely join in anything with a regular commitment, and whilst I could have dipped in and out, once I'd made my commitment I stuck to it. Much like love, I'm faithful once I decide to take part. And there were times when I found the need to produce a tile every day a little draining, and there were times I craved creation unrelated to hearts. But darkness makes us appreciate light, lack of love makes us appreciate its presence. I'm now relishing the thought of being utterly directionless in my tangling - who knows where I'll go next.

A whole lotta love

I've shared these tiles in the ValenTangle Facebook group - but repeat them here as I know some of my readers don't do Facebook, and also it's nice to see them all grouped together.

Day 1 - exploring the Love Fragment.

Day 2 - Hearty Ratoon
Day 3 - a little tangling, a lot of space

Day 4 - make a 3Z mosaic

Day 5 - tangle an object

Day 6 - hearty Wholly Hollibaugh

Day 7 - the Love fragment in a hexagon

Day 8 - tangle the initials of your loved one/s

Day 9 - hearty Star-Ing

Day 10 - tangle your corners

Day 11 - tangled borders

Day 12 - hearty Yuma
Day 13 - Bijou in a grid tangle

Day 14 - tangle a puffy heart pillow

Over the course of 14 days I came to realise that the heart shape is just a shape, no more no less than any other – it has points, recesses and curves. It can behave in all manner of different ways and if you tangle it enough times all meaning, both good and bad, begins to recede. I don't think I'll be drawing hearts on my pencil case any day soon, but I definitely don't feel quite as allergic as I did, and I can imagine that by this time next year I might get the urge to join in with the next ValenTangle.

Friday, 8 February 2019

full to the brim

This week I've been talking to my blog friend Sarn about the benefits of looking back at our early tiles, to see what's changed, and to notice how far we've come. As I prepared this weeks blog post, in which I'm going to share my most recent sketchbook pages with you, I thought I'd glance back at my old sketchbooks too. And I was quite stunned by what I found.

I knew that I filled books far less rapidly than I used to - I've been working in my current book since 2016 - whereas I used to fill about one a year. Look at a snapshot - five pages taken from the start of the years I've been tangling. Look at how spaced out, small and tentative my tangling was where in those early days. On one hand my pages look cluttered and messy now, but also far more sure of themselves. In the early days I was trying as carefully as I could to copy down tangles exactly as the rules defined them. Every tangle I used I practised first. Now my sketchbook is a place to try out things I want to explore further, it's experimental.  I note down tangles as I discover or rediscover them, as I know it's impossible to try and hold them in mind alone now that I'm familiar with so many. My sketchbook becomes a prompt and inspiration in itself - I can open a page and find an idea to play with. Start with a blank tile and any random page and use only the tangles on it and suddenly another layer of decision-making has been removed. The evolution in my pages is startlingly apparent - I wonder how they'll change in another five years time?

Five pages from the start of my tangling years - 2014 through to 2018.
Ability to see close up detail doesn't matter here - the point is look at how my pages have changed!

I haven't shared recent sketchbook pages with you since last August, a time which seems a distant memory now. We were locked in the grip of a heatwave, whereas today every window is wearing thousands of raindrops.

Points of interest - revisiting Static and loving it.
A trio of treats from Helen Williams.
And noting down a couple of ingenious variations of my Kitl tangle
spotted on a recent IAST challenge.

Points of interest - the organic delight of Easy Mooka and Iza
Playing with Molygon and loving it more each time.
Sharp pleasures from Shiraz and A-Frame.

Points of interest - playing with my initial as a fragment.
XLNT makes a really exciting centrepiece.
IAST#269 introduced the idea of filling a field with diminishing tangles.
To play with at greater length - F2F.

Points of interest - new tricky official tangle, Ratoon.
A couple of Tomas Padros quirky treasures - Love Handles and Helix.
The delightful Sistar and Q-Mi deserve much more of my time.

I'm heading back now to the wonderful world of ValenTangle, where am finding myself less resistant to hearts with every passing day!  I'll share the results of my adventures in my next post!