Once again, Rick and I found ourselves wandering the great halls of a delight-filled museum, this time, the Victoria & Albert Museum in the Knightsbridge* section of London.
We had just enjoyed an amazing few days just outside London, at the wedding celebration of the son of my dear friend, Andrea. This special friend and I have been "pen pals" for over 50 years. (50 years!!!)
My heartfelt thanks to Andrea for always writing back.
Ok, then. Back to The Victoria and Albert Museum.
Rick and I had been there before, but not for the "hunting and gathering of tangles" as we call it. We were there waiting when the doors opened in the morning. . . pretty much alone for about the first hour, wandering these amazing rooms filled to the brim with the most spectacular "stuff" imaginable.
Even while waiting, we found tangle inspiring details such as in the sign frame and border in the above image, or, in this window treatment:
We began by working together: he, manned with his camera fantastica and I, with my journal and Zentangle tools. We would slowly move from place to place, only to move back again, to retrieve a missed pattern one or the other of us would point out. It was exciting to capture the images in such an inspiring atmosphere. One could only create here.
My impressions of the V&A are so different now that I am vibrantly aware of patterns. I felt like I was walking through an entirely new museum! Each glance, each piece, offered a feast of potential and familiar tangles:
The spirits of artists, both famous and nameless, called to us to capture this one or that, guiding our hands as though they were their own.
We worked until we could not hold our hands up any longer, then ended up having tea and ( the most unbelievable) sultana scones with clotted cream and jam. If I close my eyes, I can still taste them, along with tea, so elegantly served in a proper pot, and proper crockery! Imagine, no plastic spoons or paper cups, or bags of sugar. "I'll have another lump of brown sugar, if you please!" And the café was totally decorated by my "old buddy" William Morris:
And always remember to look down . . . here's the floor of that "tea room":
For those of you who do not know William Morris, he was a most distinguished designer of patterns from the last half of the 19th century, truly one of my favorite artists.
So there we are, sipping tea, eating scones and taking in the images of a master tangler! Just how cool is that. . . . So, ok, I digress. . . . Rick guided me along as I was totally oblivious to which way was which, I could only see what was in front of me. I drew until I could not. When I could find a bench to sit, I did so only to get a better, steadier line from my pens.
Then off we were, once again. The Egyptian room, Middle Eastern room, Renaissance room . . . it did not seem to matter where we were; it was all spectacular.
Every artist in every culture seemed to draw in patterns. They were everywhere, there just for us to absorb and appreciate. Our angels were right there with us, pointing out things we certainly would have missed – a smidgen of background in an otherwise enormous tapestry, the engravings in suits of armor, fabric-covered furniture, inlaid wood and ivory, frames and mountings, swashes of tassels, tiles, and more tiles.
Then, of course, back to the William Morris room for more tea, just to make sure we didn't just imagine it the first time.
Here you see snippets of tangles, tangles of snippets . . . begging to be released to passionate tanglers worldwide, for them to use in their daily practice, drawing them into the world they wish to be in . . .
When I wasn't photographing potential tangles, I was photographing Maria tangling . . .
Here are some images of the many pages she filled in her current field notes book . . .
. . . and a larger tile she created, many tangles inspired by our trip to the lush V&A.
* Yes, that was our inspiration for the tangle name knightsbridge. On many streets in the Knightsbridge section of London, each townhouse entrance sports this dynamic pattern:
Dear Tanglers, be inspired . . . admire, learn, draw, then admire again. Realize you need only draw a tiny portion of an inspiration, the whole thing. Go deep . . . into a corner or a crease . . . find the core of the pattern . . . can it be tangled? Tangle, then repeat, one stroke at a time. Put it with other inspirations. Maybe at a later time, explore where else you will let it take you.
We will choose at random from the commentators, and send a little something sweet!
If you wish to be considered, please leave a way we can contact you.