Are Zentangles Found In History

Daniel Brown
• Monday, 16 November, 2020
• 7 min read

Maria would inscribe each botanical she sold as the customer watched. As customers watched her beautiful lettering appear on the page they became emotional and exclaimed how they wished they could do what she did.

symbols native iroquois american hunting signs ancient language magazine found strand presumably indian scripts totem drawings 1895 alphabet americans meanings
(Source: www.pinterest.com)


But Rick and Maria were struck by their deep yearning to experience their own creative fulfillment. Some time later, on a quiet Saturday afternoon in the fall of 2003, Rick interrupted Maria in her studio as she added patterns to the background of a large gilded letter.

On the last night of our stay, after trying on many names, we still hadn’t found one that fit. As we played with words that rhymed with “tangle”, one of us said “Entangle.” It was like finally putting on a shoe that fits after trying on many ill-fitting ones.

Interesting side note: When Maria and Rick first began “dating” one of their primary topics of conversation was geometry, specifically sacred geometry or the topic of Fibonacci proportions and patterns. Maria was using them in her art and design work and Rick was using them in analyzing the price movements of companies and commodities.

This was a forecast of the aspect of Entangle art which mirrors the geometric and fractal nature of the patterns found throughout creation. The article talks about “just nine short years ago.” Using some quick subtraction from the publication date of the item, I came up with 2004.

Thomas, a professional calligrapher, and Roberts, a psychologist (I believe this is what I read somewhere, but don’t recall the reference), pooled their talents and came up with the idea of Entangle. Successful businesses are often created because someone has thought about the obvious and, more importantly, has been willing to take a chance on selling this “new idea” to the public.

zentangle gerda creations
(Source: freubelgerda.blogspot.com)

Roberts and Thomas hit on a great idea, apparently only twelve years ago. Before implementing their idea, they developed a whole package–philosophy, tools, ritual (ceremony, the founders call it)– and probably researched the market for potential clients.

The philosophy of Entangle, beyond the meditative and creative elements, revolves around one simple, and copyrighted, sentence: Anything is possible one stroke at a time, and one idea that psychologists and art instructors have been preaching to clients and students for eons: There are no mistakes. In psychology, a key to stress relief is to forgive oneself for erring, to use the lessons learned from the mistake so that the error is not repeated, and to determine steps that can be taken to avoid the similar mishaps in the future.

The last is a creative process in itself, as each “avoidance” tactic is not only unique to the individual but to whatever new similar situation one encounters. Of course, the intent in both art and therapy is that brainstormed processes will be applied before the next iteration of the error has a chance to be made.

The references are not clear, but I get the feeling that Entangle started out as classes, workshops, or group therapy/meditation sessions. That both psychologists and artists embraced this art form quickly attests to both the intuitiveness of the idea and a need for such a process in both communities.

Where authors have wanted to diverge from the official Entangle program, they have published books on Zen doodle, or meditative doodling, or other such variations. Longer established artist authors include sections on the meditative qualities of their art form when they release an updated edition or a new book.

(Source: www.flickr.com)

Many how-to drawing books now include a whole chapter on Entangle Inspired Art (VIA). Bloggers share their own artistic creations or teach the basic tangle patterns using illustrated “step-outs” or how-to video clips.

That no two artists’ depictions are 100% alike speaks to the founders’ idea of interpreting each pattern and its usage. Yes, the process of concentrating on each individual pen stroke is meditative in itself (concentrating on the repetition of a pattern within a given space) and puts one “in the zone.” Yes, the constraint of a small canvas (optimally a square artist tile measuring 3.5 x 3.5) limits both the outcome and the time needed to create a finished piece, making the art from both portable and do-able during a lunch break.

Yes, the drawing of “strings” on this small workspace limits the work still more while also making the canvas no longer blank. Every ceremony is based on standards someone has set somewhere along the line to keep the ritual clean and simple.

Remove the “standard” from Entangle and the copyrights break down to nothing more than a ceremony with legally protected words. Once the words become part of general usage, even a trademark name loses its legal status.

Take, for example, the use of the word Kleenex to refer to any paper product with specific characteristics or purpose. Now, even the relatively new Entangle Mosaic app (available for portable Apple and Android products) has only a small portion of official step-outs.

zentangle patterns zendoodle parchment pattern zentangles doodles sampler zen doodle craft things drawings allthingsparchmentcraft
(Source: allthingsparchmentcraft.blogspot.com)

In fact, the Mosaic app has references to patterns that appear on tiles by a single person. Entangle, from its catchy name to its presentation to the public is an interesting story, whether we have all the facts or not.

That it is only about twelve years old at the time of this writing can be thought of as a pattern itself, as it seems to follow the best practices taught in most schools of business. Entangle represents an excellent example of what it takes to create a successful business: a simple or common idea, some frills and unique language (especially a catchy name and motto), and hard work to present to, and maintain for, consumers.

The Entangle Mosaic app has so many miniature artworks posted to it that I can always find a source of inspiration even on my most “blocked” days. Doctorate: Educational Psychology Programmer/analyst for 10 years, including project management and training of corporate execs.

Every time I think about meditation, my mind takes me back to one distinct passage I read in Eat, Pray, Love. “.in stillness, I watched myself get eaten by mosquitoes… the itch was maddening at first, but eventually it just melded into a general burning feeling and I rode that heat to a mild euphoria.

I allowed the pain to lose its specific associations and become pure sensation… and that eventually lifted me out of myself and into meditation.” It took me a hundred clicks and a few minutes to arrive at a website suggesting entangles ”.

zentangle patterns zendoodle printable simple sampler parchment easy pattern zen zentangles craft things print doodle tangle drawings three drawing google
(Source: allthingsparchmentcraft.blogspot.com)

So new, in fact, that my text document underlines it in red, suggesting that it’s not even a word. The concept of tangles/ entangles was introduced in 2005, when Rick, a monk, observed his wife Maria, a botanical artist, in the act of drawing.

They require the person to draw repetitive patterns with a black pen on a 9×9cm square. These days, many artists also use black paper and a white pen to draw on.

That is, if a mistake is made, then one must learn to find beauty in it and live with the flaws. When applied to real life, the creators are trying to say that a mistake once made can only be lived with, not erased.

Although a quick Pinterest search can give you numerous ideas on how to create them, one can only teach tangles if they have been certified by the creators of this practice. The creators are strictly against sharing this method online, but instead conduct workshops around the world to help people easily achieve this certification.

The last and most important step is to hold this piece of art at arm’s length and appreciate what has been created. The creators identified 110 official patterns that form the basics or foundation of entangles, but the whole point of tangles is to deviate and find peace and with what is made.

repousse foil project relief
(Source: pgmsart.wordpress.com)

Of late, the concept of entangles has become mixed with sacred mandala drawings; the two together are called mandalas. All of these art forms are used in art-based therapy as a mode of self-expression, but entangles and mandalas are created for the purpose of meditating.

Evidences of early tangles can be found in mosques and temples, where the artists used the same patterns over and over again to create something exquisite. They also resemble the concept of using symbols to create something that is unplanned, such as in the Mayan or Egyptian cultures.

This is an image of Goldstein Palace in Iran; its walls resemble what we now call Entangles (Photo Credit : Live Parties/Shutterstock) It’s an easy place to start for anyone who’s been wanting to meditate, but has been unable to sit still.

The artist does not have to be trained, as even novices tend to create patterns that look beautiful. A few minutes of tangling helps to rewire oneself and brings about a feeling of tranquility.

Engaging in making tangles claims to increase focus and motivation, which seems like something ideal for a distracted student who’s mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. She tends to get bitten by the travel bug often, and floods her social media with a million pictures.

april zentangle
(Source: penelopefactor.blogspot.com)

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