Kellie, tell us about Zentangle and how you became interested:
I received a book about Zentangle for Christmas– and by the first week of January, I was signed up to take the certification class to teach it! I had no idea what I was getting myself into – I just knew that I had found the thing I had been looking for to spark my creativity and I had a strong desire to share it with others.
People are drawn to Zentangle by the beautiful images they see, but Zentangle is really more than that.
- Teaches us to be present and focused
- Works out our attention muscles (the ones social media and real life tend to atrophy)
- Allows us to practice quieting the mind
- Permits everyone to be creative
- Ignites our work or creative pursuits
By using pencil, pen and paper (simple tools) – many students tell me it is easier for them to quiet their minds and get that much needed break than if they try to do something like meditate.
Sitting still does not come easy for a lot of people and I like that Zentangle can bridge a gap.
Another bonus? Zentangle is a process that has no expectation – your lines can be crooked or shaky, and you still reap the benefits of practicing – and the result will be beautiful. Entangle uses patterns in easily repeatable steps – and the basic strokes you already know are put together in amazing ways. If you look at this example, there are basically 200+ straight lines, in three different patterns. If you can draw that straight line, you already have a great start to being able to use Zentangle as part of your creative practice.
What are the benefits for kids?
Once I taught a really energetic group of elementary students, coming in from recess full of wiggles on a sunny day – and within a few minutes they were all immersed in their practice, not a peep. It was pretty amazing. And on the other end of the spectrum a lot of my students are adults who probably feel more like their brains are wiggly from too much energy, too much going on, or being over worked, stressed and scheduled – the calm and quiet that I could physically see in that room full of students is how many people describe what happens inside their minds when they sit down to practice Zentangle.
What I like about Zentangle is that everything is broken down into simple, easy to follow repeatable steps that are really easy to relax into.
Your classes are amazing, Kellie. I’ve been blessed to participate in a few. But my readers span the globe. How else can they learn from you?
Luckily – there are Zentangle teachers all over the world who feel the same way I do about helping spark people’s creativity. You can find a list here: https://www.zentangle.com/teachers.php . I know from my personal experience that while learning the mechanics from online sources and books was fun, I really didn’t understand how to apply all the benefits until I took a class and learned how to incorporate the focus and relaxation into my work.
I tend to hold more group classes centered around a workplace or school, but I also really love sharing reflections on my blog which tries to focus on the quiet side, unseen benefits of the practice – exploring all these elements that aren’t quite as easy to post as the completed art work – to help inspire people to really focus on the process, on finding that quiet in their day. This has also led me down the unexpected path of hosting a podcast on similar topics with my fellow Zentangle teacher Juliette Fiessinger from ArtsAmuse.
Tell me about your podcast series!
On our podcast TanglePod, we dive into things that inspire us. Juliette and I have found over the past few years that sharing insights on ideas like trust, focus and appreciating ourselves provided us with the incentive to keep working on our creative practice. These kinds of things don’t usually come up in daily conversations – and we were looking for a way to continue to teach and share with a broader audience than we can with our current class schedules. The steps and philosophies of Zentangle can be applied in many different aspects of life and we explore this as well as a lot of other topics related to creativity. Our podcast is more like having coffee with a friend than it is taking a class – and our goal is to inspire people to think about creative areas of their lives, and encourage them to reap the benefits that creativity offers.
Our podcast is more like having coffee with a friend than it is taking a class
What’s next for SoundTangle?
I never would have guessed that I would be here now:
- Learning to be comfortable speaking in front of a class
- Learning how to create and produce a podcast
- Learning from my students each time I teach.
We are still in the throes of launching the podcast and learning the best way to help make that financially sustain us. Looking to the future – there is more to learn, more to share and I can’t wait to see where it leads. Find them on Facebook here!
A final note from Jennifer:
Readers! I rely on Zentangle when my writing brain is rusty or the ideas simply won’t flow. I spend fifteen-minutes with Zentangle and afterwards, I have focus and inspiration. Give Zentangle a try and let me know how it helps with your daily pursuits.