Friday, 31 January 2020

Gallery #1

In my last post I talked about changing things a little on my blog.  As well as posts where I explore a theme or style or technique I want to have posts where I simply share the pieces I've worked on recently, with minimal commentary (by my standards)!  A guided tour through my tangle gallery if you like - and this is the first of those posts.

I'm in an opinionated mood today, so bear with me, and just enjoy the pictures if you don't like what I have to say.

Time to say goodbye -
(Arukas, Mooka and Fescu )
Pigment ink and graphite on a Distress Ink coloured and stenciled tile

I tangled this tile today - the day that the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. This is not something I wanted, not something I voted for. But I understand, with a heavy-heart, that I have to accept the workings of democracy, and the so-called 'will of the people' - even when I think their choice is short-sighted and will leave our country poorer in so many, many ways. I feel sad today, and scared about what lies ahead. I want to reach out to my European tangle friends and tell them I'm not letting go.

I'd rarely choose to work on a such a bright blue tile and with yellow stars too - but sometimes how things look isn't as important as what they represent!

AusTangles Part I
(S-Vine, Veezy, Gottago, Leaflet, Remo, Sevy)
Pigment ink and graphite on a watercoloured postcard - 6x4 inches

Over the past 2 weeks I've joined in with Austangles, hosted on Facebook by Yvette Campbell. She picked a daily tangle by an Australian tangler and invited us to join in however we wanted to. It was great to work with some new and old tangles and I had fun weaving them all together on a pair of postcards - one to represent the warmth and richness of Australia's natural habitat and culture, the other for the cooling waters that surround it.

AusTangles Part II
(Trimonds, Appease, Mak-Rah-Mee, Swimz, Oddballz, Brax)
Pigment ink and graphite on a watercoloured postcard - 6x4 inches

Australia has been suffering in recent months with devastating wildfires causing significant death and destruction. It's hard to know how to help when you're many miles away. I don't personally believe in prayers for rain, but I do believe in what we can do as individuals. I can donate to charities that are helping those affected. I can read to stay informed and educate myself about what's happening and why - which is undeniably related to the worsening state of our climate. I can make sensible and necessary lifestyle choices that might limit my negative impact on our climate. And I can vote for those who properly respect our world and are willing to do what needs to be done.  I can also spend time reflecting on these things as I tangle using along with others all around the world, and hope that a little connection can go a long, long way.

Lastly and with no agenda whatsoever -
these are the next 3 tiles for my Zen-untangled tin (a project to explore the full set of Zentangle official tangles).
On the first - Molygon, Nipa and Bumper
On the second - Verdigogh, Locar and Pepper
On the third - just Ellish

I'm about to dive into this year's ValenTangle - a two week celebration of connection and love, carefully designed and hosted by Marguerite Samama.  I had a wonderful time last year, and came a long way towards conquering my dislike of drawing hearts.  Join us if you'd like to, and I'll be back in a couple of weeks to share my results.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

getting to grips with a new year

At the start of a new year I like to take a little time to reflect on where I've been in the past year, to better know where I might want to go this year. In terms of tangling I like to look through the tiles I created and pick out some of my favourites.

Last year I worked on a year long project to tangle according to the seasons. At times it felt challenging, but I feel a great sense of satisfaction having done it and it's wonderful to flick through my album and see the colours fading through the spectrum in tune with the seasons.

12 of the best from 2019
Admittedly my favourite pieces come from a fairly limited part of the year's palette!

This year I want to do things differently - I want more freedom. I have a long list of things I want to do. Some are new things I've never tried, techniques I've read about but put aside for the time being. I have e-books (speaking of which) I want to work through, devoting the time and focus they deserve. I also have a long list of things I want to revisit - things I enjoyed but want to spend more time with, to dig deeper thereby getting more from them. I also want to linger over the things I love doing often and regularly. I want to strengthen my weaknesses and have wild times with the things I feel I'm good at.

I want to spend more time doing and less time reading and thinking and talking about Zentangle. I blogged 42 times last year. I might blog less this year, or the same, probably not more. But the style of my posts might change a little. There will still be themed posts where I share a cohesive body of pieces and talks about the techniques I used. But there might also be simpler gallery type posts where I share a snapshot of the things I've been working on, without as much wordy padding! Hopefully my blog will still remain interesting and attractive!


To start this year I've joined in with Zen-untangled which is the latest collaborative project from Alice Hendon. She talks about it on her blog as well as uniting many fellow tanglers who are doing it on her Facebook group Tangle All Around. Simply put, Alice is inviting us to get to know the 170 Zentangle core tangles. She encourages participants to create a book, including step-outs and examples, which will become a wonderful offline resource for your own tangling and to pass on to others.

I was taken by the idea as soon as I heard about it, mostly because I love the official tangles - well, most of them anyway! But it's important to know and acknowledge what will work for you. And what won't!  I knew I wouldn't like doing Zen-untangled in the exact way Alice suggests. I don't like working in books on a regular basis and I knew I wouldn't enjoy drawing step-outs for every tangle either.  I'd rapidly fall behind and abandon the whole thing.  Thankfully Alice encourages us to join in whatever way we prefer.

At the moment I'm storing black cards and finished cards in the tin -
but I when I finish I think the stack of tiles will probably be too big,
so I might clip them together with a binder ring unless I have a better idea!

A bit of pondering and a dose of luck and I've struck on a way that works for me. My partner gave me this little tin for Christmas, and it's a perfect fit for ATCs, which is a tile shape I'm liking a lot these days. So I'm doing my Zen-untangled on ATCs.

On the left - Eye-Wa and Florz
On the right - Dex and Hurry

On the left - IX
On the right - Avreal, Ahh, Snail, Therefore and Tipple

On the left - Centipede, Ynix and Frondous
On the right - Echoism

On the left - Cubine and Ixorus
On the right - Flux and Hollibaugh

As you can see, on some days there's just one tangle on the tile, some days 2, other days more. I like the way I get to see how the tangles play together, I get to draw a simple version and some variations if I want to. I get to use colour in large or small amounts or just celebrate the beauty of black and white. And when it's finished I'll have a lovely deck of cards to shuffle through for pure Zentangle inspiration.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

shimmering beginnings

A new year of a new decade and what better way to kick off 2020 on The Ragged Ray than with a new tangle!

The fruits of my recent tanglings
The origins of this tangle go back many years – it started as one of the many scrappy ideas I play with but set to one side. In December I saw a piece by German CZT Stephanie Kiefhaber which really caught my eye. She'd used a repeating shape and acknowledged that she didn't think it was any named tangle. I told her that I'd played with an idea for something similar many years back but hadn't worked further with the tangle, drawn a step-out or named it. I showed Stephanie my scrappy notes and she encouraged me to develop my idea – and so I did. It's my pleasure to introduce you to Quin!

A small stash of tiles to play with
Quin clearly shares tangle DNA with official tangles Tagh and Centipede as well as with Adele Bruno's C-Perfs. But I think it has enough of its own character to merit its own name – do you agree? It's a tangle that asks you to draw slowly, and shade carefully, but it's rhythmic and mesmerising to use. Resembling scales or petals it adds texture and depth to any tile. I named it Quin for its resemblance to a string of sequins - and while I mostly tangle it without an the extra dot and dash, if you're in a representational mood they can be a fun addition too! If you find any weird angles or wobbles that you don't like when tangling Quin, simply darken them with your pen and you'll find they add character.

Before the festive break I cut and coloured some bright white Clairefontaine papers - one smooth and the other with some texture. I added a touch of colour using two Finetec watercolours (Blue Silver and Lavender) that my dear friends Debbie and Stephanie (a different one!) in Singapore sent me last year. It's hard to capture the beauty of these mica-rich pigment paints, which offer one colour when viewed straight on but another shade of shimmering magic when tilted to catch the light (you can catch a glimpse of what I mean in the photo at the top of this post). They bring a subtle but welcome shot of colour which plays so well with the white tile, black ink and grey shading.

And so, to the tiles -

Quin was too shy to appear on this first tile - but
Nvelope, Printemps and Mooka had fun among themselves!

I started this tile with Ixorus, and added a sunken section of
Quin, and some little Fescu-type tufts.

Two sections of Quin with Fescu formed a central space that I
started to fill with Bales, but which rapidly morphed into Puf.

Quin defined a strange shape and space on this tile, room
for a little Hollibaugh in the middle and more Fescu!

Lastly an arcing band of Panepinto (with Jetties) formed a space which
I filled with Sistar. A handful of Flux and Perf-topped tufts, and a single
line of Quin showing its resemblance to a string of sequins.

That's all for now. I hope your year is getting off to a good start. And I hope you enjoy getting to know Quin – please do let me know if you use my tangle and how you find it.

[As always, if this tangle appears to be too similar to any others in name or style, please let me know.]