stories and names

I had to review the step-out instructions on how to draw the tangle called fengle this week for the diva’s challenge, and was reminded of another reason that Zentangle is so appealing. It’s the stories!

Not just the stories behind the tangle names, even though those are great, but stories about discovering Zentangle, and learning from it. Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas share their stories in the same way they talk about their family (and often their family is included in the tale, as with fengle). It enriches the experience. It gives you a sense of belonging. It builds meaning. And, as with fengle, it’s nonchalant, just a simple part of the larger story.

I was delighted to teach Zentangle to people from two families last night. I always come away from beginning classes with a sense of wonder. Just sharing a few ideas about why the process is so inspiring, and then teaching the basic elements of drawing a tile always seems to affect people deeply.

I know that people who “don’t draw” are amazed at their own inherent ability, but there’s something more to it. Maybe it’s the simplicity (something we all need more of, these days). Maybe it’s because they now can bring the Zentangle story (and experience, and language, and community) into their own lives and families, and create new stories of their own. And of course, create beautiful images.

Here are the tiles that the students did last night. I won’t tell you who did which, but they were done by a mom, a dad, and their two teenaged daughters, and a dad and his young son (about 10 years old). I don’t have words. Okay, one word: incredible.


As for me, I worked on the diva’s challenge this week. We learned both fengle and quandary at the 10th CZT seminar in September of 2012. I adore quandary! Maybe because it was newly released to us (they always have a special tangle, shared with seminar attendees first) at the time, but I think because it is visually complex and full of possibility. I am still warming up to fengle. I struggle with it. It feels clunky and weird under my pen. But, I will keep trying it, because it’s one of those tangles that gets under your skin.

And that’s my story.















weaving with a tangle

I got a chance to play with one of the 8s tangles created by Jane Eileen, thanks to the diva’s challenge this week. They are all drawn onto a unique 8-dot grid; this particular one (used in both tiles below) is 8s parte dos.

Like mi2, huggins, and w2, the 8s result in a woven look. They’re challenging to work out, but once you know where the curves go and how they relate, there are a lot of opportunities for exploration. I’ll definitely use this one again!


8s parte dos with auras.


8s parte dos with hollibaugh, vega, and xyp.

If you’re interested in learning 8s parte dos, wander over to this post by Jane Eileen. You’ll also find 8s, 8s parte tres, 8s parte quattro, and a host of great tangellations of them all on her blog.