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.















8 thoughts on “stories and names

  1. I like your Quandry variations in the second tile particularly. I remember doing both of these at training also. was a little surprised how I caught on to Quandry as I struggled a little with Tripoli.

    • Thank you Donald. I think Rick teaching about ‘mirroring’ a shape was what made quandary, even tripoli, much easier to accomplish… and a lot easier to teach. Remember when he talked about the “mortar” between the tripoli triangles? I keep looking for words like that to describe concepts.

  2. Both are great; you did a great job and so did your students. I’m also a person that ‘can’t draw’ and still wonder how it’s possible that I make such wonderful things.

    • I like to say that we can draw beautiful things because of opposable thumbs and our creative human brains. We all have the capacity! However, our creative brains also manage to criticize and self-edit: so many people believe they cannot make art (and thus find the enjoyment therein). It’s simply not true.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s