I confess that if I was on top of my schedule I would have at least googled Zentangle for some prior knowledge. But, I forgot about the class until the day of and had to go cold. This was good! Zentangle is a form of, well, doodling. You can read about the origin here. Many people find it stress-reducing and enter a meditative state while drawing.
Carole Ohl, a certified Zentangle teacher, gave us a little box with all we needed to get started. I love little boxes and containers of all sorts. This one was pristine white cardboard with a pen, a smudge stick, a pencil, and four paper squares. These were not just any pen, pencil and paper. The pen was a Pigma Micron 01 Black. The pencil had soft lead good for smudging and the paper was archival quality. It felt like the first day of elementary school when I always reverently clutched a brand new pencil box, pencil, eraser, and crayons, all ripe with possibility.
|Zentangle supply box and an in-process Zentangle|
You start by making a dot in each corner of your paper and then connect the dots to make a shape. You can use any kind of lines you want to do this. Then you add a string. This is Zentangle talk for a line that divides your shape into smaller sections. Again, any way you like! Then you begin to fill in the spaces created by the string. There are over a hundred Zentangle designs (tangles) for you to try. And, of course, you can make up your own!
Now, here's the fun part, there is no such thing as a "wrong" Zentangle! There were six of us in this session and using the same prompts and tangles, created six very different finished pieces.
|My first Zentangle|
Initially, my grip was tight, I was using two much pressure and was over thinking the whole thing. When I relaxed and just played I slipped into a lovely place. Calm. Peaceful. As I finished my first Zentangle, I shifted into a creative rush and began to think of all the things I wanted to try with these. I was especially enthused about using them within or surrounding letter shapes. I finally got up from my seat and wandered in the gallery for a few minutes to mellow out.
In a one hour session I went from curious, to fascinated, to soothed, to eager, to inspired. Zen to tango to zen again! Engaging my right brain always opens creative thoughts for me and that leads to creative action. I think this will be helpful to my writing practice. It gives me a visually productive way to tap into a sense of well-being, of being at peace within my body. Lovely.