Thursday, 21 March 2019

the rise and fall

Last week I said that I'd been making lots of backgrounds.  I said some had turned out very bright, others rather pale.  This week I decided to work on a couple of the pale ones.  I had no particular plans as to what to do on them, but some plans found me, and they turned out to be a rather good fit.

As well as creating a technicolour wonderland of inspiration on her blog, Alice Hendon runs the Tangle All Around Facebook group, which provides weekly prompts and a place to share our works.  At various times I've joined in with some of Alice's previous ventures, such as stacked tangling, and a summer of sketchbook tangling.  But these days I mostly lurk or pass through just to see what's happening.  I did that this week and saw that one of the weekly tangles to try was Sassanian by Neil Burley.  As soon as I saw it I thought it would look great on one of my pale tiles.

A touch of Art Nouveau - Sassanian with Msst

The tiles were coloured using blended Distress Inks in a couple of colours - I forget which (must remember to write these things down!).  I then applied an additional helix of colour through a stencil - this almost disappears once the tile is tangled but you can see bits here and there.  I tangled in black ink and with a Wine coloured Copic Multiliner. I put a few extra details in but didn't want to detract from the shapes the tangle forms - that wonderful sense of looking through the mist and rain to the soft spring days just ahead of us.

I dawdled a bit about what to do with the matching tile.  Then I noticed Hanny Nura's Full Moon Mosaic and knew that would be perfect.  Hanny devises Moon based prompts that she introduces on her Instagram account every month.  I'm not on Instagram - but that doesn't stop me looking and admiring her work and the responses of those who join her.  This month she gave us a string, asked us to use Irka by Alena Light, and only botanical tangles.

Pale moon rising - with A-Dalfa, Irka and Flux, Fescu

I found myself unconsciously choosing tangles that mirrored that teardrop shape that Irka begins with.  I used a strange variation of an auraed Flux in the central V, with feathery Fescu poking through.  And while I'm not sure my A-Dalfa border is strictly botanical, I couldn't resist it. The resulting tile looks like it honours the sun as much as the moon, and could be an autumnal scene as much as one from spring.  But at the end of the day, those are the just names and words we apply to things that existed long before the words did.  The important thing is to focus on how they look, how they feel and the fact that they keep going, age after age after age!

Thursday, 14 March 2019

no sign of the three bears

This week I've found myself in a Goldilocks mood.  Nothing is quite right.  I've been preparing lots of backgrounds for the spring tangling ahead of me.  Inevitably this has meant using colours outside of my comfortable range - lots of yellow, pink and bright green.  I've been using different techniques to get the colour onto the tiles - a bit of hefty hack, some masking fluid, some stencilling.  Some of the tiles came out too pale, some horrifically bright.  Explosion in an 80's legwarmer warehouse bright!  I also worked on some dubious coloured paper and found it too smooth when using my pen, too rough when shading.  Whatever I tried I felt dissatisfied.

And then I heard myself advising a fellow tangler to work with what they'd got, learn to know and cherish their limitations and let go of the things that they found too difficult.  Time to apply the same to myself!  So later in the week, once dry, I cut up my newly coloured tiles - and they started to not look quite so bad.  You'll be seeing them here over the coming weeks!  And I continued working on the dubious paper.

This week's tangling was largely a matter of fortune and misfortune and the blurred line between the two.  I recently discovered that the usual album I store my finished tiles in has been discontinued.

My album of choice - I've filled two of these since I start tangling -
that's 576 tiles!

After endless research I discovered some sleeves that hold 3.5 inch tiles and have some ready to go into a large ring binder.  Seeing as I would be building my own album I thought it would be a good oppurtunity to source some sleeves to store my Zendala tiles - currently I just keep them in the tin.  I'm usually very precise when it comes to measurements, but I was so thrilled when I thought I'd found the perfect sleeves that I forgot to double check the size of the Zendala tile. When the sleeves arrived the tiles wouldn't fit! The openings are 4x4 inches and the Zendala a little larger. I then successfully bought some sleeves meant storing CDs which are perfect for my Zendala.
A happy home for my Zendala tiles -
these are the first three I ever tangled!

But I didn't want to waste the other sleeves as I loved the fact that they held two 4x4 spaces and four 2x2 spaces.

What fun, to have different sizes on the same page!
Around the same time I was clearing out some old paper scraps from when my only creative outlet was occasional card making. I found a virtually unused pack of textured card stock in a wild array of colours. One side was far too textured to tangle on, but the reverse look viable. I cut tiles to size in my current spring colours.

UK tangler Lucy Farran has created her own prompts for the month of March. Called Botani-tangles, she's focusing on broadening her use of organic tangles.  Her list is well chosen, with familiar and unfamiliar tangles, and a good variety of types of tangle, all still within the organic theme.
March prompts chosen by Lucy Farran - aka The Lucky Tangler

I set to work tangling on the two larger tiles, and then the little row of Bijou's down the side.

Not so mellow yellow - Hollyhock,
Sanibelle and new favourite Loblolly
The pen moved quickly across the paper, meaning I felt less control than I usually have. On the plus side the black stayed really intense. Shading was also challenging as the paper is both smooth but with a residual texture from the other side.

In the pink - with Icantoo, Eddyper (which never comes
out as I want it to) and the dark and desirable Dayzee-Mae

All in all it was a different experience than my usual familiar papers. But there's a lot to like about it. As a whole page spread it feels like a sampler of organic tangles. I've always toyed with the idea of building my own tangle directory, but always find the thought quite tedious. But I can imagine having pages like this where I would browse the way tangles interact with each other. A great way to choose tangles I might have forgotten, but also more pleasurable to tangle in the first place.  I've used most of the tangles for the first 15 days of Lucy's prompts, but not necessarily in the order she suggested.  But that's the beauty of tangling - we can do whatever we fancy with it, and if we get lucky we might even find a bowl of porridge that suits out tastes!

Friday, 8 March 2019

say hello, wave goodbye

Last week I said goodbye to the winter instalment of my seasonal Inklings project. When I started this I knew it would be challenging - while I have very few concerns with managing the colours of winter and autumn, spring and summer are not my natural palettes. To me spring is the time when colours return - tentatively, just a touch here and there, pale suggestions of colour slowly intensifying as the months creep by.  Tender greens and warmer blues, but especially yellows and pinks - my least comfortable colours. But what's the point in challenging yourself if you only stick with what is comfortable?!

The following three tiles allowed me to dip my toe into spring. Each has one foot still in winter, but a burst of colour breaking through.

My fellow tanglers inspire me each and every day, in small, large and sometimes unexpected ways. My first tile is testament to that. Among her many delights, Anica has recently been sharing some tiles where she mounts a Bijou of one colour in the middle of another coloured regular sized tile. She then tangles, seamlessly blending the two together. I wanted to give this a try. Elsewhere, in a conversation with Alice, mistress of colour, we were talking about whether yellow tissue paper is more reluctant to give up its colour, when used in the tissue dying technique. I did a couple of tests on scraps of watercolour paper and found by luck more than skill that it worked! A two inch square tinted yellow and pink just begged to be used in an an Anica style tile.  It's actually mounted on a white tile which I then mostly coloured grey, the same grey I used on my winter tiles. I don't think my integration of the two parts is even close to seamless, but the process was great fun and one I'll revisit.

A window onto spring -
Nik in the corners, and Krokus in the middle

Back in January I broke the rules when joining in with Annette's first invitation to enjoy a Zendala Moment.  A few weeks ago she shared a second installment and this time I transferred the string faithfully to a Zentangle original round tile.  As soon as I saw those squares with their petal shapes I knew I wanted them be cut through to show what lies beneath. Again a tile started to come together that showed the cusp where one season slides into the next. Seeing as I'd already started with yellow and pink I continued, with coloured pencil on my ribbons.  The thing I love most about tangling Zendalas is that glorious repetition, moving from one section to the next, little adjustments to one part repeated in the others.  This piece started very pale, wispy almost - I liked its delicacy but it began to feel uncharacteristic of my style.  I went back and darkened some of the auras, and suddenly I could recognise myself again.

Pretty in pink and yellow -
mostly just Baton, with a few Fescu

My last tile began in the dark depths of December. I was playing around with F2F (short for Fringe 2 Fringe) - a tangle unleashed from the brilliant mind and hand of Tomàs Padrós.  I had an idea of using F2F to form a kind of snowflake.  I confess that I started out with quite a few pencil lines to divide my space evenly.  And then I sort of stopped, put the barely started tile to one side and mostly forgot about it. Occasionally I picked it up and wondered whether to start it again. And then this week I did. I completed the middle section which now looks more like a papery spinner than a snowflake. I added some pink and yellow watercolour in the corners, and once dry added a little Printemps. It's a strange tile, but I've always liked strange things!

Ready for takeoff -

Last week I said I was a little wary about reconnecting with colour, but having spent the week dabbling with my two most feared colours I feel a little braver about the weeks and months ahead.

Friday, 1 March 2019

farewell, my frosty friend

At the start of this year I set myself the challenge of tangling in line with the changing seasons - picking appropriate colours and tangles and styles - and working only with those. I defined winter as December, January and February. On this, the first day of March, I therefore declare winter over!

The only colour I've picked up in the last two months is a couple of cool blue pens, which mostly featured in my ValenTangle adventure. However I haven't missed colour in the least, and in fact I'm a little wary about having to reconnect with it again. My last tiles for my Winter Inklings theme really stripped back to the basics. Black and white and graphite, and a little grey watercolour on one or two.

Giving a PersianMosaic the winter treatment -
straight Shattuck over grey and white coloured 3Z tiles

Baton and 4Fun with holes cut out -
a sense of winter breaking up ready to melt
The recent Square One focus tangle was Ipso -
here getting a winter fix with Cat-Kin and more Baton
I end close to where I began the year -
strong diagonals of Diva Dance, Basketweave
over deep grey, and Edie with fragments of Baton

I love living in a country with changing seasons, it feels natural and right to me. Each season has its own character and things to love about it - but usually by the end of winter I'm willing to let it go. But this year I'm letting it go with a little more sadness than usual. I might just miss those bare branches and frosty mornings, that cool blue ink and grey watercolour. It might take me a week or two to get used to the idea of spring.