Mind Your Tangles Blog

Mind Your Tangles

with Lori Champine, CZT

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Gold Star Memorial Library - Somerville

I spent a few hours tangling with some library folks last Thursday night, Feb 7th.  It was a small, but enthusiastic group. As part of the group, we had a husband and wife enjoying a Zentangle "date night" and this time even the librarian, Marita, joined us! Lots of fun for everyone. Check out the lovely variations in their completed tiles below.


A Return to the Adams St Branch of the Boston Public Library

On Sat, Feb 2nd, I returned to the Adams St Branch of the BPL for another Zentangle class. The librarian, Katie Brown, is always so welcoming. I love sharing The Zentangle Method with her community of library patrons.  We had a few folks join us again from the last class and several new students came, as well. It was a fun afternoon.

Zentangle Class at Boston Public Library (Adams St)


Here's the magic! I love the way everyone puts their own mark on their work. Little variations to a tangle that make each tile unique! So beautiful!

Tangling at Tanglewood! - Summer 2017

Last summer we took our annual weekend trip to Tanglewood with great friends, old and new. One sunny morning, I offered a Zentangle class outdoors. This was a new experience for everyone. We took advantage of the lovely surroundings, which helped set the mood for tangling. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and there were horses in the back pasture. It was the perfect setting for us all to relax and enjoy some creative time together.

The finished tiles were unique and beautiful, showcasing the individual styles of each artist.


Somerville Library Patrons Love Zentangle!

What a treat it was for me to teach an introductory Zentangle class at my local library this Spring. Putting together two things I love - libraries and tangling - made for a perfect match, and a very fun day! We had a nice group of 16 folks from the local community come out to spend some creative time together on a Sunday afternoon. Zentangle was new for most, but a few students sought out the class because of previous experience. As always, no matter the level of abilities, Zentangle can be shared with, and enjoyed by almost anyone who can hold a pen. Each student created their own beautiful tile that afternoon. And, although everyone heard the same instructions, each tile was unique, and that's one of my favorite aspects of this art form. It's open to everyone, and it allows for each person to make their work their own. It's not like a coloring book where you fill in the space that someone else made. Your Zentangle tile is your own. You make the lines, you set the tone, you create the piece.


Zen Again 2016 - Newport R.I.

I just spent five fabulous days in Newport with  Rick, Maria, the Zentangle Team, and many talented CZT's from around the world, for the Zen Again 2016 Retreat! The atmosphere was serene, but also electric. The timing was particularly important to me, as we had just wrapped up the presidential election, and I was in need of some real Zen time. It was also the time of the Super Moon, which added another layer of Zen to the experience. 

Our days were filled with workshops given by Rick, Maria & Molly from Zentangle Headquarters, and we also had a great class with Margaret Bremner, CZT #3.  We learned four new tangles: Noom, Way Bop, Drawings & Icanthis. I love when Rick and Maria teach the tangles together. They have a similar, but different approach, so if I don't follow one, I have the other to reinforce my learning.  That always works so well for me.  Molly inspired us with another Meditation Workshop, and Rick shared a great mini workshop on using the document camera. Not a Zen workshop, but a very useful lesson for many of us who like to use the document camera when teaching our own Zentangle workshops.  

Below are a few tiles I made during the retreat. The 2nd one (L to R) was made in Molly's meditation class, which is one of my favorite experiences. She has such a wonderful way of guiding the group through the process. We all basically used the same three tangles (cadent, poke leaf and flux), but as always, each tile was totally unique. The 3rd tile features a border made from the new tangle: Noom. The last tile is a freehand-style mandala taught by Margaret Bremner. I really like her work and often check her blog, Enthusiastic Artist.


I was fortunate to have my good friend - Patti Euler (CZT #3 & #16), of The Queen's Ink, Maryland, with me for this truly special event. I enjoyed catching up with her and other CZT friends, as well as making many new friends, too.  The Zentangle community is generally a very friendly and giving crowd.  When we weren't busy learning and tangling, we were sharing food and drink at the evening social gatherings.

I also LOVED  having a Zentangle store set up on site for shopping.  There were a few new items announced at the event, such as the 3Z tiles in all 3 colors, and they were available for purchase.  YES, of course, I bought them! These triangle shapes are made from the same 100% cotton paper and they are so fun to tangle on.  My favorite new Zentangle "accessory" is the tile printed scarf. - Super soft and very stylish! You can always visit Zentangle.com to order products you like, as most are not sold in stores.

I think Noom was my favorite of the new tangles. It's similar to the tangles Chainging and Punzel, which I really like, but always seem to struggle with - so Noom gives me the same satisfaction without the struggle. You can aura it and/or add fragments to the open spaces for many different looks.  I'm going to play around with it for my Christmas card design, too.





365 tangles

Last Spring, when I was at Tangle On The Bay in Maryland, I met a young woman (sorry, I forget her name) who was on a mission to do a Zentangle tile every day for one year.  Her work was beautiful, and I was inspired by her idea.  I kept thinking about the concept of a tangle-a-day, and I finally decided that a more realistic challenge for myself would be to start with a calendar. I found one I really liked at a stationary store.  It seemed fitting for my plan. Each day I put a little tangle in one of the 2x2 squares.  Sometimes this little creative gesture is enough for that moment.  Other times, I go right for a tile and continue tangling. 

Bonding with the nurses!

In late May, I spent an afternoon with a group of professionals from the Nursing Program at Middlesex Community College in Lowell.  The ladies were having an end-of-the-year wrap-up event which consisted of professional training in the morning, and then a more playful activity in the afternoon. The Program Director hoped her group would enjoy the relaxing and mindful aspects of the Zentangle® practice. Truthfully, they all seemed a little spent by the time my workshop was to start. I actually heard a few moans and groans as they shuffled into the room. I understood, but I was ready to share my love of Zentangle® with them, just the same.

Sometimes folks are convinced they have no creative ability. They tell me right off that they cannot draw. They are prepared to fail before we even begin.  I heard a little bit of that talk from one particular woman, so I stayed close by, and I was able to gently coach her through the process, building her confidence. We began the workshop in the usual way, by preparing our mind and our bodies for the practice of Zentangle®.  I presented three different tangles (Hollibaugh, Printemps and Bales), one at a time, and they all began to draw.

A couple of women in the group were familiar with Zentangle®, but for most of them, it was their first experience. In no time at all, everyone was fully absorbed in the practice. At times, you could have heard a pin drop in that room.  As I walked around to coach and to comment on their work, I overheard many positive comments and compliments between them.  The ladies were enjoying the drawing process, and they were admiring their own work as well as the work of their friends.  Everyone, including the few who were sure they couldn't draw, created beautiful tiles.

At the end of the workshop, we put our tiles together into a mosaic for all to view. The group was truly amazed at how interesting, how different, and how wonderful all the tiles were. Everyone had the same verbal instruction, and yet, each individual created a unique tile, expressing their own creativity.

I really enjoyed working with this group. Like many folks, these women have stressful jobs. I hope they continue using their new Zentangle® skills to promote mindfulness and relaxation in their daily lives.


Tangle U 2016 - Portland, Maine

From Apr 28th to May 1st, I attended my first Tangle U event.  This year it was held in beautiful Portland, Maine.  There were several great workshops throughout the weekend, but my favorites were Pure Zentangle with Molly Hollibaugh, Compass Rose Mandala with Kate Lamontagne and Zero Drawing Technique with Meredith Yuhas.

Here's part of a mosaic from the class with Molly.  I loved this class because it was just as you would expect from the title - Pure Zentangle.  Molly has a wonderful, relaxed, teaching style that I always appreciate.  She quickly put everyone at ease and got us right into tangling.  The tiles were all gorgeous.


In Kate's class, I enjoyed learning to use the Helix Circle Maker to create our own Mandala. We also incorporated Prisma Pencils, which are old favorites of mine, so I was happy to pull them out and dust them off! This class was more about creating the Compass Rose and blending with the Prisma Pencils, and less about tangling.  I loved my finished product.
Similar to Molly, Meredith Yuhas also has a very comfortable teaching style. She spent a fair amount of time preparing students with techniques for relaxing the mind and body so we were ready to tangle.  I really loved learning about Zero Drawing and using the Tombow Mono Eraser in the process. We began by spreading a layer of graphite on good quality paper, then used stencils and the mono eraser to create an open image that was ready for tangling.  It's a cool look when finished. 


Overall, it was a great weekend.  I met many wonderful people, including three CZT's from my own neck of the woods!  The atmosphere was generous and inspiring, and the talent was plentiful!

Tangle on the Bay - Maryland

I attended and taught at - Tangle On The Bay - on Sat, April 9th at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland.  This was a full day, CZT- only event, which drew folks from several states to gather and inspire one another.  My class was Wood You Like To Tangle? and it involved using a Sakura Gelly Roll and/or Souffle pen to tangle onto a wood piece and adding a stain to create a resist.  The students were so creative with their work.  I was amazed and thrilled with the results.  What a great group of fun and talented people. 

I also was fortunate to participate in a few of the offered classes that day.  I thoroughly enjoyed learning from Lori Manoogian in - Tangle Transitions: Go With The Flow.  She encouraged the class to choose a "lead" tangle to start with, then add a "supporting" tangle, and finally, sprinkle your tile with a little "comic relief" for the big finale. We also took this technique and gave it a twist.  Here are a few of my tiles:

I am still working on a piece from another awesome class I took that afternoon with Patti Euler of The Queen's Ink, MD.  Her class - The Illuminated Letter - results in a frame-worthy ZIA, and is based on the ancient tradition of illuminated letter art. I cannot wait to complete and frame my letter.  I will post the picture when it's finished.

Finding the Zen in the Tangles was another class at Tangle on the Bay, which was offered by the organizer, Dawn Poley Schulman. This was a theory oriented class with a focus on creating a truly Zen-inspired environment for our students when we teach Zentangle workshops. Many creative ideas were shared.

The final offering of the day was a second class taught by Lori Manoogian.  This mini course, entitled - Tangling Thoughts - featured tangling in our new Fabriano journal, and adding color. Very fun!

In addition to a great selection of classes, participates in Tangle on the Bay were treated to a lovely luncheon, morning goodies upon arrival, snacks and a gift bag, which included a white travel cup with a black marker for tangling on it. All class materials were supplied, too, so all you had to do was show up ready to tangle!

Not only did we learn new ideas from the Tangle on the Bay classes, but CZT's  were also encouraged to bring samples of their work to share with the group, and most everyone did, complete with handouts.  Such a generous and talented crowd.  It was a very inspiring event, and a lot of fun!



Active Minds Appreciate Zentangle®


I had a great time with my group of 18 Tufts University students on Friday. The classroom space was perfect, with a beautiful view of the city. 

I was invited by Fei-Fei Xu and Conor Ward to teach a Zentangle® workshop as part of their exhibit focusing on how the role of various art forms can positively affect those with mental health issues. The program was sponsored by the Tufts Chapter of Active Minds, which is a non-profit organization empowering students to educate others about mental health issues and to encourage help-seeking. This event was a celebration of art as therapy.

In addition to my Zentangle® workshop, there was a presentation about dance therapy, a reception with live artist statements, and a gallery of amazing art work on display. I thought this student-led event was impressive, and I was thrilled to have a small part in it.  It's so inspiring to watch the passion of young people in action!


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