Friday, September 17, 2010

Do Si Do

If I tried to plan it, it could never be what it was.

Four people doing the same tangles, with the same string. Kind of a plan, there, but who knew it would bear the beautiful designs that appeared as we lay the tiles on the floor for their final "portrait." As we gathered around them, one of the students noticed the pattern that the four tiles created when they were grouped for their shot. Just as a quilt reveals its new patterns when the blocks are connected, this group had that same quality, as you can see by the photos below.
  We excitedly shifted them around, making new patterns with each moved position. As the tiles did their do-si-do, changing partners and corners and shifting side to side and spinning around, there were people visiting the gallery (where our classes are held) who now really wanted to know, "What is Zentangle?"
    It seemed miraculous that the tiles played together the way they did. It was such a surprise, that I could barely stop staring at our little batch of lovelies. It's not uncommon to have this part of the class be exciting... it's a powerful thing to see each individual's work together, the same, and different, all at once. But something about this group was different and I won't even try to speculate on why. The planets were just lined up and this is what happened. 

The "not planning" of the Zentangle process is, for me, its most enchanting quality. As we clear out and leave behind what we might want to accomplish with a particular tile, we allow room for what can be, and for what is. Yes, the students followed the same "plan", but if I had planned that final portrait design (which I would be really tempted to do next time!), the ENERGY of the surprise and delight would not have had a chance to emerge. And the do-si-do might become just another mechanically danced footstep.


  1. Oh Wow - gave me chills just looking at them - what a fun discovery it must have been.!

  2. Quite delightful! And had you had three or five students, it wouldn't have worked like this!

  3. thanks for sharing---the zentangles and your thoughts, both. As an admitted control freak, it is always a good lesson for me to see what can happen on its own. Wonder what I have missed over the years!


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