Welcome to BLOG Zentangle. To learn about Zentangle, visit our website, read our free newsletters, take a class with a local Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT), and best of all . . . create your own!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Welcome CZTs from Seminar 23!

Please welcome these amazing new CZTs from around the world:

Once again, people came from all over . . . thirteen countries and thirty (US) states!

We keep trying to come up with words to describe the camaraderie, gratitude and shared passion for creativity that we experience at these seminars. Words always fall short, so we offer this (small) sampling of the Zentangle Inspired Art that was shared to give you a visual hint instead.

Here are larger images from this newsletter of some of that beautiful artwork. 

You can find a CZT in your area at this page on our website.

See you soon!

Rick & Maria

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Welcome CZTs from Seminar 22!

We are thrilled to introduce to you, the CZTs from our 22nd Seminar in Providence, RI on April 3-6, 2016.

In this class of 108 students, we had the most countries represented since we began CZT seminars -- 15 countries!
  • Australia 
  • Belgium 
  • Canada 
  • China 
  • Germany 
  • Hong Kong 
  • India 
  • Japan 
  • South Africa 
  • South Korea 
  • Spain 
  • Switzerland 
  • Taiwan 
  • UK 
  • USA 

We could never fully convey in words how wonderful it feels as people from such diverse backgrounds come together to enjoy, create and share Zentangle art. The feeling of camaraderie along with the passion and gratitude of a shared and uniting interest is truly inspiring.

Here is some larger images from this newsletter of some of the beautiful Zentangle Inspired Art that students brought with them to share.


Thank you to all who shared their creations! We would like to have shown it all.

You can find a CZT in your area at this page on our website.

See you soon!


Rick & Maria

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Day


Addendum . . . later this day . . .

Almost forgot, the winners chosen from commenters on our "Whose Muse Is Whose?" blog post are:
  • Anne's Tangle Blog
  • Cindy Bowles
  • Donna Pilato CZT 18
  • Lise Orwig
  • Sue Clark
  • Bette Abdu
Congratulations! Winners, please send your snail mail address to Zentangle (at) gmail (dot) com.
With all best wishes for a Happy Day,


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Whose Muse is Whose?

This week, Laura Harms, CZT celebrates her fifth year publishing her iamthedivaCZT blog!

Congratulations, Laura, and thank you for collecting so many "muses" together in one place to inspire us and all who visit and contribute to your blog!

This week's challenge is to create a tile combining diva dance and auraknot.

Here's ours:

Maria writes:

​I have spoken before that I have been an artist since about the age of 5.

But what made me have to be an artist? Why was I so focused at such an early age?

Well, I actually know what it was, or should I say who it was.

When I was really little, (I am #6 of 7 children) I would hang around my with Mom while she was tidying up her bedroom in the mornings, talking to her as she so carefully made her and my Dad's bed.​ As usual I sat or rolled around on the floor, gazing at ceilings or marveling at the different perspectives of things, and one morning, I spotted something under her bed. I carefully slid it out, and asked my mom what it was.

There before me was a framed "something or other" that, at the time, I had no word for. My mom joined me, kneeling beside me and wiped the dust away ever so carefully, and explained to me what it was. "Ma tante Alice" ( "my aunt" in French) made this for "Memere and Pepere" (her mother and father's) 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1952. She explained that it was a story that her sister had written (in both senses of the word) to give to her parents as a gift.

I could not read at the time nor did I know much French. But it was not what it said, but how it looked, that fascinated me. Letters going in all directions, beautiful swirls and decorations around the letters, gold and red accents, cut paper borders and fancy corners . . . I was in LOVE!

After that, I would visit this masterpiece often, studying the tiniest details, following the margins, counting the stanzas, admiring the concept of writing beautifully. At that time, I only learned how to write properly . . . not beautifully. This was another world, and I wanted to go there.

From then on, most of my art included letters of some sort. My idea of fancy and beautiful morphed over time, but my passion never ceased. I studied mostly on my own, having taken a few classes with Michael Sull, a penman from Kansas.

My Aunt Alice, was actually called "Sister Maria Fidelis," a Presentation of Mary nun. None of us knew her as anything but a nun. She was always "Aunt Alice the nun" because we had another aunt named Alice who was not a nun (but, this is too funny, as I had not really thought about it in a long time, but this other Aunt Alice actually once had been a nun, then came out of the order, and at the age of 40, married my uncle and proceeded to have four children! Really! You couldn't make this up . . . but I digress . . . )

Not only did "ma tante Alice the nun" give me my name (another story!), she was my "MUSE."

A "muse," according to the dictionaries on this computer, was originally a female who inspired creativity. I am guessing maybe, way back then, women could inspire, but not create(?). Muse eventually became more generally "the source of an artist's inspiration," "creative influence" or "stimulus."

Eventually, after my parents passed, and the "family treasures" were distributed among us, I chose to take this piece home with me. It hangs in my studio as a constant reminder of where I came from.

So, what has this got to do with all of you?

The piece of art that inspired me was not the work of an Old Master. It was not the work of a professional artist, or a world renowned calligrapher. It was a simple, humble, work done with limited materials and expertise, but with unlimited love and passion. In an antique bazaar, someone might purchase it only for the frame, but this piece directed the course of my life.

What role of "muse" might your Zentangle creations play for others whose urge to create is yearning to be sparked, but who may think they are not artists? How might your work change the lives of people you will never meet . . . a chance glance over your shoulder in a restaurant . . . a sighting in a friend of a friend's home . . . a five-year-old's first vision of a tangle . . . ?

You have no idea where or how you will influence the lives of others. You do not have to wait for some predefined level of accomplishment for your creativity to have an impact. You do not have to create like daVinci, or Picasso, or Rembrandt to make a difference. (And even if you could, wouldn't that be more like copying instead of creating? Only you can create like you can create!) And when your creation is out there, there's no way to predict when and where it will strike that chord in someone that will resonate throughout his or her life.

So as we begin this new year, don't wait . . . Create!


Dear tanglers, who was your "muse"?

Please tell us a little about them.

We will choose a few commenters at random and send them a piece of my lettering and tangles because, well, I still LOVE to write. Just for the pleasure of it all. 

Oh yes, the winners chosen from commenters on our twelfth "12 Days of Christmas" blog post, are:
  • Dana Jones
  • bobbi j.
  • patsy

Congratulations! Winners, please send your snail mail address to Zentangle (at) gmail (dot) com.

With all best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

Rick, Maria, and all of us at Zentangle HQ!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Bijou gifted me,

A deck full of Bijou philosophies.

With passion and gratitude we bring our 2015 twelve-day series to a close.

We trust that you all had a chance to enjoy each day as we challenged ourselves to create beautiful things using the Zentangle Method and with items we found around our home.

More importantly it gave us an opportunity to slow down, to breathe through our thoughts, and to focus on the hidden gems that Zentangle has allowed us to discover. We of course thank Bijou for coming out of his shell to share these zentiments with us. With confidence he has shown us how to admire and appreciate all of the deliberate strokes that we, as Zentangle artists, put down as we as speak in tangles and take comfort in a place where the string’s the thing.

We can relax knowing we are all supported by a global community, where there are no mistakes, where you can always choose your tangles, and in the end leave yourself a moment or two to enjoy the shade.

Bijou, and now Alfie, have shown us how to savor the little things as much as much as the big things. Trust your inner artist and spend some a moment or two during this busy time of year to embellish your own visions and to inspire others just as Alfie and Bijou have done for us.

This has been such fun occasion to deconstruct our journey and to reflect on the memories that are beautiful and beyond.

Alfie says, "Thank you Bijou, for Bijouisms 1-24!"


Complete sets of Bijouisms are now available here

More info and ideas in this newsletter.


Winning, randomly chosen commenters from the Eleventh Day:

  • Angelia Lanouette
  • Jackie CZT 8
  • Mamie P.

Congratulations! Winners, please send your snail mail address to Zentangle (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments over these past few days!

With all our best wishes to you and yours for this holiday season and the coming year,

All of us at Zentangle HQ!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Bijou gave to me,

A reflection for my Christmas tree.


Molly writes:
Ahhhh . . . I love spending a moment here and there to look back at a time or experience that shaped me into who I am today. I didn't look up the definition of "reflect," but I always think of it as a pleasant action. I see it as a poignant way of thinking about those priceless moments that make up my past and my present.

I appreciate how a fleeting sensory experience – a smell, a sound, a glimpse of an old toy – can trigger a memory and take me back in time to a deep moment of reflection. I have noticed that my Zentangle practice seems to enhance these moments of reflection. I also find that I often remember situations differently from what might have actually happened.

What I find so great about reflecting is that I can choose which memories to focus on. I have learned so many things from my mother, but one thing I always admired was that she only seems to have room for the good memories in her brain. Ask her if I or my siblings ever did anything wrong as children and she'll say, "No, they really were perfect."

She might be on to something! To be able to deliberately REFLECT (on) the good times, the accomplishments, and the beautiful people we were so lucky to know is an overlooked gift.

Alfie is spending a moment looking back at the last ten days and appreciating how much fun he had learning about the Zentangle Method from his new friend, Bijou. He is so grateful for the gift of discovering a creative side he never knew he had.

Rick adds:
I wonder now if it was such a good idea to show Alfie how to use that two-sided tape . . . he's sticking stuff everywhere!

I also think it's quite symbolic that Alfie taped his tiles to a mirror. Tiles that you tangle, like a mirror, also offer a reflection.

We encourage you to take your tiles out from time to time and re-appreciate them, read the comments on the back, arrange and rearrange them in mosaics.

Often, in such moments of reflection, I will notice something valuable that I didn't see when I first created the tile. The experience is like re-reading a journal entry, but it's a journal entry that isn't limited to the perspective I had when I first put my thoughts and feelings into those words.

So, take a moment and look through your earlier tiles. Reflect . . . and appreciate!


And while we are talking about reflection . . . we thought we would give you a chance to reflect on our original Twelve Days of Christmas ATC project from two years ago. For those of you who missed it, enjoy! For those of you that were following along, take another look, you may find comfort and joy in seeing things again with new (Zentangle) eyes.

This LINK will get you started. Enjoy!


Winning, randomly chosen commenters from the Tenth Day:

  • deborah lee
  • luvhymns 
  • nanw 

Congratulations! Winners, please send your snail mail address to Zentangle (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments!

Rick, Maria, Bijou, Molly, and Alfie 

Friday, December 11, 2015

On the tenth day of Christmas,

Bijou gave to me, 
some thoughts on creativity.


Molly emails Rick:
Just found this . . . not sure if you want to include it in the blog today.

Actually not sure what it is from – it just appeared in my photos. Weird.
Rick writes:
Those synchronicities happen a lot around here. That "B" which Molly found is an illuminated letter (gold leaf) that Maria and I tangled as we gave a keynote speech at the Craft and Hobby Association convention in Anaheim, California, a couple years ago. Thanks, Molly!

Maria and I recently traveled to Taiwan and Malaysia for a series of book-signings and lectures. The trip was beyond wonderful – full of amazing and beautiful people and beautiful patterns. It was a thrill and honor and we continue to bask in the memories.

On our last day in Taipei, Taiwan, we got up early to get ready for our trip to the airport to come home. Wanting to savor every precious moment there, I walked across the street to the Shandao Temple a bit before 6AM. As I climbed the steps, I could hear the monks were already singing as the subtle incense greeted me. I was the only other person there. I sat down to absorb a few last minutes of that atmosphere.

I watched my thoughts go to the topic of service. I thought about "service to others" vs. "service to self." But I was not comfortable with that dichotomy. Then the phrase, "service to creation" crossed my mind and I promptly reached into my pocket for pen and paper and wrote, "Serve creation by creating!" Ahh, I felt our trip was complete and I walked back to the hotel for our ride to the airport.

To create is, by definition, in harmony with creation. Once creativity begins to flow, it feels as if all creation supports that event. As someone described, it's like "stepping into the slipstream of creation." 

"mamie p" wrote in the comments to yesterday's "Come out of your shell" post, "Sometimes the hardest part of coming out of my shell is making that first stroke . . . then the rest comes to take the final step of admiration and enjoyment."

Thank you. That is so profound.

Our invitation to all of you is to make that first stroke.

One of the gifts of the Zentangle Method is that it sets up a comfortable "elegance of limits" within which you can do just that, without worry or self-criticism.

And once you create that first beautiful mark, you're there . . . in that inspiring, gentle, resonant flow of creativity – of creation. And you realize that you can be there . . . whenever and wherever you want.

Maria writes:
I am a true believer in fate. In fact, fate inserts itself ​into my life so often, that I can't even tell anyone about it anymore lest they think I have fallen off my "twilight zone" rocker. Little things appear on a regular basis out of nowhere and just make my life ever so . . . interesting.

When Molly came to me and said we were doing these Twelve Days of Bijou, I thought, "OMG, this is way too much work for this time of year!" But as usual, I listen to my children, like a dutiful child. And, I have always been glad I did.

These ornaments are practically making themselves. We have not bought one special thing to do this project. All "stuff" we found around the house. Snippets of ribbons, string, tchotchkes, and trinkets – hiding out at the bottom of forgotten drawers and sewing baskets. Useless pieces of old jewelry and broken ornaments practically appeared as needed.

This morning, I remembered a tin of broken tea cups I have been keeping, thinking that someday I would use them for "something." My Dad (an angel, for sure) had given me some fabulous old tea cups that belonged to his mom. They did not have much, so these were really valuable to me. One day, they broke – a long story, but I cried all day.

As soon as I thought of those broken cups, I ran into my sewing/ironing/dressing room and grabbed a piece. Just holding it in my hands was a thrill: I had never before so appreciated the patterns, raised braille-like and illuminated with gold on the white china. Spectacular! (And Alfie's fav, too.)

Again, the concept of the "elegance of limits" came to mind. Like days gone by, people would make things out of other things. They had no craft stores to run to, no books on what to make with bits of rawhide or pottery shards. They saved everything because that's what they had to work with. And I believe those limited supplies inspired them do things they otherwise never would have – rag dolls, re-fashioned bicycles, clothing out of old clothing . . .

Molly and I were determined to CREATE using found (albeit around the house) objects. And what better a found object than that piece of cup?

Creativity was my best friend growing up. It never left my side. It would wake me in the night; cause my brain to explode in the middle of church. It also made me comfortable to be alone at times, even in a household bustling with numerous siblings, and later on, my kids. Creativity was the biggest gift in my lifetime. Was it handed down to me? Or was I just born this way? Aren't we all born this way?

However you come to it or it comes to you, or when, Please, Please, don't let it get away. Don't let it fade. Hold onto it with all you got. 


This is our gift to you. It is your gift to yourself. Treasure it!

If you don't believe you are capable of it, just pick up a piece of paper and start to tangle.

There it is . . . see it?

Feel it?

It's lovely. Really, just lovely.


Winning, randomly chosen commenters from the Ninth Day:
  • Kimmie 
  • Chrissie Frampton 
  • Laura Carpenter 

Congratulations! Winners, please send your snail mail address to Zentangle (at) gmail (dot) com.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments!

Rick, Maria, Bijou, Molly, and Alfie