Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Tangle exercises – creating a visual encyclopædia

I realised—belatedly—that what I was in fact doing with my tangle exercises, was creating my own visual encyclopædia. I already have my sketchbook with drawings of step-outs, and my spreadsheet of tangle names with their location in my sketchbook and some hints at what they are, but these exercises seem to be a more immediately accessible means of viewing the tangles. Realising this, I then had to go back through the exercises and name all the tangles. They are a bit like the zentangle spinner—which I still intend to make one day—in offering a method of choosing what to play with in a tangling session.
Exercise 6 – ribbons
Exercise 7 – ribbons

I now have 13 exercises which include a visual reference to all 470 of the tangles that I have learned so far. It has been an interesting journey. I have discovered forgotten tangles. I have developed an appreciation for tangles that made no impression on me when I first encountered them, or did not appeal to me. I have recognised that some tangles I will possibly never draw again because they do not draw me in (if you’ll excuse the pun).
Exercise 8 – grid tangle fragments
Exercise 8 will be ongoing as I learn new grid patterns. Currently it is 2½ pages, two of which are shown above.
Creating the encyclopædic pages has changed my relationship with tangling. My drawing has become slower and more meditative. Through drawing so many tangles one after another, I have noticed patterns of similarity, clever techniques used in different ways, and many other insights. I have developed a confidence that allows me to be more playful in combining tangles, or developing them through experimentation. I am grateful to the many tanglers who have taught me so much.

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