Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wednesday's Word - STRINGS - and a bit o' Zentangle History

There are a multitude of reasons that I am personally drawn (pun intended) to the concept of strings in the practice of the Zentangle® art form.
The Book of Zentangle is available @ 
In their fascinating book about the origins of Zentangle - The Book of Zentangle® - co-founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas explain strings this way:

A string is a line or lines that divide a marking surface into sections to be filled with tangles.(pg. 102)

Rick tells the story of making rock candy with his grandmother.  In the process they dipped strings into a sugary water mixture and crystals formed and grew on the strings.  He parallels that phenomena with tangles growing out from strings when drawn on a tile.

It's a treasure of a story and a beautiful origin for such a simple yet elegant concept in the practice of Zentangle.

As an early student of the method, I found strings more than a bit daunting.  To draw or choose a string and then face tangling in the defined spaces was intimidating.  All hesitation and self-doubt had to be put aside.  It was a swan dive into the unknown, a delving into the process, a commitment, a definitive move.

For me, it was reminiscent of when I've climbed to the platform of a ten meter board, or stood on the starting line of a long distance race, been admitted to the hospital in labor, or forced that first step down the aisle in times of great joy and of great sorrow...if you will, a giving over of one's self.

But - much like the way I describe to people what it is to have Faith - it is in the letting go, the trusting of the process, the confidence that you have what it takes to see to the other side, the belief that you have the talent and the ability to accomplish great things and have something beautiful to show for it, that we find joy...

A metaphor for life - and all in this little thing we call a string.

Choosing strings as a theme for the weekly challenges was very purposeful.  It is my hope that you feel comparable joy as you tangle and experience both the 'elegance of limitations' and the world of possibilities.

Happy tangling to you!

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