Thursday, September 6, 2012

Tangling or Sanity? Why not... BOTH!

Last summer, I received the following email from Laura in Indiana:

I can honestly say that you’ve changed my life.  
Really… not kidding. 

I’m like you… except undeclared.  I have degrees in Public Affairs, English, Education and Library Science and, as you can see below, I’m using none of them in the way in which they were intended.  I had wanted to be an artist growing up but was, like many others, talked out of it by family and friends.  The first thing you never want to do with an artist… channel them into something else.  The other half of my family is full of artists who were shocked when I chose government work over graphic design. 

Now, I build trucks… not very creative unless you’re one of the select few who gets to work in the design shop.  My husband is drowning in mountains of crafts because of my basic need to be creative.  If I don’t do something creative every day, I feel incomplete… and with two small children, that’s not always possible… even with my first love, origami.  

That is until Zentangle came into my life. I can sit in a meeting and start a tangle without taking my mind off of the meeting… in fact, my notes get tangled into the drawing… or is that the other way around?  Regardless, I get an incredible amount of enjoyment in tangling and I’m so glad I stumbled into it! Some of the strangest things have become tangles…cards to friends, the skin on my phone, even my daughter’s pb & j… which immediately received an “I can’t eat it now… it’s too pretty”… I’ve even tangled my origami! 
Thank you! 

That was a lovely note and the picture of the tangled PBJ was great. I had intended to put it on the Zentangle for Kidz! site that I was still designing. But I got caught up in ... life... and, well, I forgot. <grimace>
Flash forward to... now... and I received this email from Laura (now in Chicago):

I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I’m the mom who tangled in peanut butter for her daughter.  It’s been a long time since I’ve done that… a lot has happened since I first discovered Zentangle.  My family picked up and moved from Fort Wayne, IN to Chicago, IL.  My 3 year old son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 7 days before we moved.  I started a “new” job within the same company… all the while learning to commute in true Chicago style (sit and wait).  

I still tangle around the edges of my meeting notes at work… it actually helps me concentrate.  My dry erase board has a section devoted to tangles done at work (see attached).  And I’ve tangled pencil boxes (also see attached) and through it all, I truly believe that Zentangle… and particularly your books have kept me sane.  A true achievement.  I’ve carried them around with me, packed them into suitcases (they’ve gone to Disney World) and I’ve just purchased a new copy of Yoga for the Brain because my first copy finally fell apart from constant use.  They’re like dictionaries….no, better yet, Thesauruses… new variations on existing themes.  So many ideas and things to try… and I count them among my important worldly possessions. 

So, thanks again for your books, your website and your influence!  It has been and continues to be magical. 


Laura's tangled desk.

Laura's tangled pencil box for her daughter.
Keep tangling Laura! It keeps me sane too.
Oh - and go take a look at the Zentangle for Kidz! site to see a picture of the tangled PB&J. Actually it is tangling WITH PB&J. :-)


  1. Laura's pb&j is amazing but I really hope she does do a cake someday! That would be a quite a tangle. Thanks to Laura and you for the tangle inspiration!

  2. Wow, that's great. I know it helps me to unwind and I have just ordered my first zentangle book. My 11year old daughter has even started doing her own tangles. Thanks for sharing this.

  3. I am collecting examples of things that people have put Zentangles on.
    I am, as you might know from previous comments, a convert to the art and am crazy about it. A watercolorist and a mixed media artist...I come to Zentangle with some sense of composition and design which has helped me. Today I posted two of my latest efforts. Your blog and your book have been truly inspirational and I jotted on my blog this morning that the "level" of work is what I aspire to now. I really see your work as HIGH level Zentangle art. Thank you again. I have tangled my hat, pictured frames, etc. If you would like me to send some samples, let me know.

  4. sandy - laura - i'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and laughing! what a wonderful testimony to the positives zentangle can bring! and the pb&j pic is marvelous - i wouldn't want to eat it either!

  5. I can so relate to your letter! I was an office manager, Realtor, commissioned salesperson, and went back to school to become an English teacher at 47. In the meantime I acquired tons of craft stuff and way too many college credits in art. Your work is amazing and your daughter is adorable. I am just teaching tangling to my granddaughter. Oh, and I am originally from Chicago, but have lived in AZ for 28 years now. Tangling helps keep me sane, too!

  6. I had to laugh as I got to this part of Laura's first letter "My husband is drowning in mountains of crafts because of my basic need to be creative. If I don’t do something creative every day, I feel incomplete… " As I look around the house I am pretty sure that my husband is feeling the same way about me. I have never really thought of myself as a "creative or artsy" person, but Zentangle has been one way for me to play around in an area I am finding more and more pull to. Thanks for sharing.


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