A whole year has gone by – some days it felt like it would never end and other days it felt like it was just whooshing by without a care in the world!
I don’t know about you, but it’s made me re-evaluate some things in my life. I’m not setting any resolutions for this year, though I have decided to eat some vegetables and take the stairs more often. Basically, this was me all 2020:
I did make some decisions about what to do about my artwork and my classes. And I’m really excited about them!
All of my classes are currently available on Etsy for instant access (unless it’s a pre-order) and my favorite prints are available there too! I’m hoping to stock the inventory with other fun things like stickers and t-shirts too. So long as 2021 behaves and let’s me do my thing!
I’m also really excited to revitalize my private Facebook Group for current and former students. I want to make it a fun and safe space to post pictures of tangles and ask for advice.
And, I’m bringing back to life a Zentangle® and mindfulness curriculum program that I developed about 5-6 years ago. It’s a yearlong program that will help folks use the Zentangle method and some other techniques to practice mindfulness and gain more control over themselves emotionally and mentally. Stay tuned for more information on that! I hope to have everything finalized by the end of the year!
If you haven’t watched Schitt’s Creek yet – I highly recommend it. Of course, I’m a big Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara fan, so I may be biased. But, it got me through some days this year!
So, first thing up this year is – it’s my 10 year Zentangle birthday on January 8th! 10 years since I was first introduced to this thing that has had such a positive impact on my life.
To celebrate I’ve created a fun little freebie for all my email subscribers, if you’re already subscribed you don’t have to do anything! If you’re not – easy peasy! I’ve included a form for you to complete so you can join!
I created this freebie because I really want to help people increase their confidence in their Zentangle practice, and by doing so I truly think their personal confidence will grow too! I’ve also included a little extra special offer that you’ll just have to wait to find out about!
Aside from that I’m kicking the year off by joining the 7F5R Fragment of your Imagination Challenge – a super fun challenge that will keep the creative juices flowing!
I’m also digging into the Zentangle® Zenthology issued to Certified Zentangle Teachers™ to see what tangles I can unearth. I’m basically acting as the Indiana Jones of Zentangle archaeology 🙂
There are a ton of patterns in there that hardly anyone uses. So, I’m exploring those and sharing videos of them with my Instagram followers. It’s super fun to dig around in the ancient archives of patterns and dust off some neglected tangles!
So my year is off to a regular start, not going to jinx it with anything too exciting or too many plans. We’re going with the flow over here! 🙂
What have you done to mildly celebrate the new year? I’d love to hear!
Somehow we’ve made it to November already. I have a hard time believing it. This year has gone by so fast – and so much has happened that I’m shocked to remember that some things were only a few weeks or a month ago.
And now we’re heading into a new season – one of traditions and excitement in normal times, but maybe fraught with hesitation, loneliness, and even sadness as many of those traditions will look different this year. It’s not ideal, but I for one am going to do what I can to make the most of it.
My creativity seems to have run dry, but I know it’s just a sign of the times. I’m a little worn out and a little stressed. So, I turn to my art practice for relief. Yes, even if my creativity is running low I still try to do creative things! They bring me comfort. And sometimes even just allowing myself to put pen or paint to paper will help me to feel creative again and get those juices flowing.
My Zentangle® practice also helps me to stay mindful. While there are a lot of things to be stressed or sad about, there are also things to be mindful of and grateful for. Air in my lungs, a roof over my head, food in my pantry, art supplies in the cabinet (and all over my desk), my doofy pup who can’t help but put a smile on my face, colleagues who are supportive, family to stay in touch with, friends to share a long-distanced joke with. These are things that I remember to think of when the day gets tough.
The Zentangle method gives us a great opportunity to hold a space to allow for this mindfulness. Right there in the steps we are directed to have “Appreciation and Gratitude”. This directive does not extend only to your Zentangle tile, but can also extend far beyond.
What if every day we challenged ourselves to apply the Zentangle method in our real lives? What would that look like?
Appreciation and Gratitude
Take a moment to express appreciation and gratitude for the things in your life that keep you going. Are you breathing clean air, drinking clean water? Are the clouds in the sky creating cute shapes? Are your favorite jeans fittings *just right* today?
Maybe these are the bullets of your to-do list. Maybe it’s how many times you hit the snooze button before waking up (read: ME). Maybe they are just mental notes for yourself to remember throughout the day.
Your daily schedule perhaps? Or just a reminder to hold space for mindfulness. A container to store your blessings and kind thoughts.
Live life! Do the things!
Add a little oomph – add pepper to your steak, wear that bright pink top you’ve been ignoring in your closet.
Sign and Initial
Can you put your stamp on this day? Is there something you’re proud to have accomplished? Maybe some days this is making the bed, maybe others it is achieving a goal at work – it doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or profound to matter.
Appreciation and Gratitude
We’ve made it to the end of the day, so take a moment again to appreciate and express gratitude for at least one thing. Again, somedays you just might appreciate that you were able to find matching socks. No thing is too small to appreciate these days!
I don’t know about you. But I think that is pretty cool. We can take this wonderful method that we typically only use when we’re sitting down to tangle, and extrapolate it to the rest of our lives? I think if we’d all did this, it would have a pretty amazing impact on our lives.
So going back to being a little low in the creative-fuel tank. I have some things that I do in my creative world that help me to juice back up.
Once is so stupidly simple, yet it is so relaxing – I update or create my catalog of favorite tangles. I do this by using Bijou-sized tiles and doing little samples of each pattern I like to use. I’ll also throw a few patterns in that I don’t normally use just to force myself to try something new now and again.
Recently, I re-found this cool little flash card deck that is perfect for such an activity!
It’s great because I can enjoy watching the latest Netflix series with my husband (The Queen’s Gambit, anyone?!) or listen to a podcast or audiobook and do this at the same time. There’s no pressure to create something amazing, just a little sample reference to use later.
Another thing I like to do is to take classes when I can. Most recently I have taken Whimsy by Kelly‘s watercolor gem class. It’s not something I would normally do on my own, but it was a lot of fun and I hope to play more with it! I also took a class on Mid-Century Modern Tangles with Brian Crimmins–which was a fun way to learn about how some tangles look like mid-century modern design and we create a little ‘zine with them. I then participated in Julie Gibbons‘ free/yearly “Mandala Magic” 5-day workshop. I’ve taken her free workshop a few times, and each time I learn something new about myself and create something beautiful. I’ve also taken her year-long programs a couple of times, and they’ve been magnificent.
Learning from others helps me to keep my ideas flowing, but also takes the pressure of teaching off. You have to fill your cup, before you can pour it out, right?
If you’re feeling stuck or out of creative juice – take a class from someone else. Even if it’s something that’s not quite up your alley–try something new! You’ll be surprised how it might benefit you (maybe you’ll discover a new technique to apply to your preferred creative outlet!). You can see from the photos above that each of the classes I took was a completely different concept. And each one has benefitted my creativity in different ways!
So, here’s where my shameless plug comes in 😀 😀 😀 I have two class options coming up to round out the year, and soon I’ll release my Spring 2021 schedule (just waiting on it to be formally published!).
First, I have my Exploring Zentangle class starting next Tuesday, November 24th, 6-8pm CST. It’s a 4-week course of intermediate-level tangling. We’ll cover high-focus tangling, a Choose Your Own Tangle Adventure, tangling with 1 string on 4 tiles, embedded letters, and much more! It’s going to be a great way to slide through the holidays and keep that zen feeling all the way through! The class is held through Madison Area Technical College – but you don’t need to be in Madison to join since it’s virtual! Sign up HERE
I also have my Patreon live tangling sessions. The next one is this week, Wednesday, November 18th and we’re going to create some fun Harvest Mandalas! You can use whatever materials you have at home! The session runs from 6pm CST to about 8pm or so. Sign up here (if you would prefer to sign up and subscribe through PayPal – you can do that here). (there will be one more live tangling session in December, too! Dates to come!)
If you can’t join the classes, no worries! I do hope you’ll join me in living the Zentangle Method through the holiday season! I know it will help me stay mindful and present in the moment. And that can’t be a bad thing, right?
Let me know if you plan on joining classes or joining in on living the Method this season!
Sarah, Zen & Zin
*The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.
I hope you are all doing well and staying safe and healthy. I have been rather busy myself at my regular job, but also busy tangling and planning fun lessons! I did manage to get out of town for my birthday earlier this month and enjoyed a cabin in the woods – with lots of tangling! I am definitely feeling the burnout this year – like I am sure you probably are too! Take this as a reminder to take care of yourself. Take a break – even if it’s just hiding in an empty room and breathing for a few minutes. Refill that cup (mine has coffee of course) before it’s empty. And try to remember that the grumpy person next to you probably needs a breath and a re-filled cup too, so try to extend them a little grace with a smile (or sm-eyes like we’re doing a lot of these days!) and a hello 🙂
If you aren’t already – follow me on Instagram to see what tangles are coming out my by pens! I’ve had a lot of fun with the Zentangle, Inc. Project Packs the past few months, but also tangling lots of fun abstract things too!
I have 2 classes starting soon at Madison College – they’re online so you can join from anywhere in the world! (Classes take place a Central Time US).
Explore the world of circles and patterns as we dive into creating Zendalas (a Zentangle Method-inspired approach) and Mandalas (a geometric approach used in Hindu, Buddhism, and other religions). Mandalas are an ancient form of geometry and art that reflect the self. The process of making a mandala is meditative and reflective. Take your meditative art to the next level! We’ll explore loose, hand-drawn designs as well as use simple tools (such as a compass and straight-edge ruler) to create intricate designs. We’ll also explore how to use these as meditative anchors as well. No experience needed! Each week will include instructions to creating a mandala, as well as background and historical information, and a meditative prompt. Expect to finish the mandala on your own, as the intricate designs may need more time than class allows.
And lastly – if 3-4 week long classes aren’t your thing, I am doing a once a month Tangle Hangout Session. You can subscribe through PayPal or through Patreon for $7/month. Our next session is Wednesday, October 28th at 6pm Central Time. You’ll receive the access link a few days in advance.
It’s been almost 9 years since my first experience with Zentangle®.
It’s hard to believe it’s been that many years, especially when I look back and realize I had no idea how profound an impact that experience would have on my life.
*The Zentangle® Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. It was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. “Zentangle” is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc.
I was a recent college graduate, working in my first “real” job (I’ve since learned that all jobs are real!), and floundering a bit in my personal life. I needed a hobby, an outlet. Something creative. I liked to color in coloring books, but was starting to feel it just wasn’t enough. But, I didn’t know how to draw or knit or build anything.
My mom mentioned one day that we should try this Zentangle thing. What the heck is it? Doodling? Drawing? I didn’t really understand, and I was really quite skeptical. But, mom offered to pay, so hey why not? (Also, I love my mom and love spending time with her, so this was just an added bonus).
Leading up to that first class I did very little research, I had seen some “Zentangle” things and was already feeling overwhelmed. I even had a co-worker, who was wonderfully artistic, show me her “Zentangle” art she created just from looking at pictures on the internet. What the heck! I’ll never be able to do that! That’s so complicated. So, I started to worry.
Fast forward to the day of class. We got to the stamp shop it was taking place in. Mom’s friend joined us (someone I consider a friend myself now too!). Class started and something flickered inside me. As class went on I was more and more amazed! This is so fun! This is so simple! I wish I had this all my life! I found out the CZT was teaching another “intermediate” class that afternoon, so I signed up for that too! By the end of the day I had 6 hours of class time under my belt, a bag of supplies to take home, and a fire burning brighter than I’d felt in a long time. A Tangler Was Born!
Looking back, it really is amazing. I had no idea that this little thing would turn into such a huge part of my life. I’ve obviously since become a Certified Zentangle Teacher myself. But I also now consider myself an artist. I’ve tried different mediums, I even took a Drawing 101 class at the community college and drew actual things! I still prefer abstract – more for the flow process, it’s easier to relax when I’m not trying to perfectly capture the shadows in a still life picture.
More than anything is that Zentangle has brought so many wonderful people into my life. I’ve been able to share this love of mine with people all over the world through social media. But I’ve also taught classes in-person, attended workshops, and joined communities that gather around this silly little thing called Zentangle.
So this week, when one of the handful of ways I share my classes and inspires other just dissolved before my eyes, I was heartbroken. But, I cannot dwell, I have to move forward. So I’ve decided to go the route of Patreon. I had considered this platform months ago but decided to stick with what I knew – oh how life has its own plans! This platform allows me to set up several options to be accessible to students, both financially but also personally! I want to watch my students grow and be able to communicate with them regularly and offer more content than just Zentangle, but more Zentangle-inspired things like drawing spirals or mandalas, or using watercolors. I have a lot of content lined up, on top of re-packaging and sharing the content that I had shared on Skillshare. I also plan to have some Sip and Tangle live video sessions, too. It’s great to be able to do everything within one platform!
So, I know I’ve posted a lot this week, and you’re probably tired of all my ramblings : ) But, I hope you’ll come check things out on Patreon and continue on this Tangled Adventure with me!
All new Patrons in December will receive a 30 minute Tangle Intro video where I revisit that very first tile I created in my first Zentangle class. I’ll muse about my experience but also show you step by step the Zentangle method and how to create the tile as well!
I love introducing new people to Zentangle®….I love even more when they didn’t even know about Zentangle before they showed up to class!
No pre-conceived notions about how they won’t be able to do it, just fresh curiousity about something they know hardly anything about. And, there’s an amazing thing that happens in every class, with almost every student– the comfort in knowing, discovering, recogniizing they’ve encountered these patterns before. I love seeing that recognition in students’ faces.
That’s what happened with my first Zentangle experience. In a new experience, I found soemthing comforting and creative, and releasing.
I did things a little differently than I normally do… And I was granted the opportunity to do so because my classes were unusually (fantastically) small and intimate (read: totally awesome). I was able to teach some extra tangles that I don’t normally teach AND give my students the opportunity to follow their intuition and embellish their tangles with only a little bit of direction and coaching. There were so many unique outcomes, I was totally amazed!
I absolutely loved seeing what each person came up with! Their ideas infused me with new inspiration. You new tanglers keep me going!
I also received a lot of great requests and ideas for future classes. So, now I am going through those requests to plan and schedule more classes!
Some options include:
Magical Mandalas: how to construct them and apply Zentangle-inspired patterns to create beautiful mandalas.
Beyond Basics: practice drawing your own string, layering tangles, and complete more tangles that might seem complicated!
Couples Night: We’ll cover the basics and a little more, as well as complete tiles together by trading off or trading strings.
I am also going to be doing a giveaway challenge in the coming weeks. Make sure you and your friends are subscribed so that you don’t miss out on any updates! It’s going to be a really fun virtual event!
So, if you were in my classes, and you’re reading this, thank you for the fresh infusion of inspiration and for being AMAZING students!
If you weren’t able to make it these past few weekends, I hope to catch you at my next class!
Leave me a comment below to tell me about your first Zentangle experience.