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Blank Spaces

Blank Spaces

I was talking to my husband the other day as we were trying to navigate a situation under current restrictions and he became increasingly frustrated before declaring, “I just want things to go back to normal!”
I agreed … kind of...
While yes, I do long for a sense of normalcy, I also recognize some of the silver linings that this past year has provided, and I won’t be so quick to abandon some new habits. The biggest takeaway being the way we were forced to slow down and take a break.
I have always been someone who likes to be busy and always on the go. There always seemed to be places to go and people to see. Somewhere along the line, I learned that if there was a blank space in my calendar, I needed to fill it. I felt most comfortable with a full schedule and a long to do list. Or, so I thought. What I have learned this past year is that we actually need blank spaces; in our schedules, in our minds and yes, even on our Zentangle tiles. By emptying our to do lists, we refill our cups.
Slowing down and leaving blank spaces allows us to notice things we may not have otherwise seen. It allows us to focus and grow in other areas of life and it takes away that feeling of obligation.
The same concept applies to our Zentangle art. It can be tempting to fill every inch of our tiles with wonderful and beautiful tangles, but there is something to be said for leaving a blank space.
Sometimes, a blank space allows us to grow and embellish another tangle that may have been lost otherwise.
Sometimes, a blank space relieves us of having to make a decision about what is next and enjoy the moment we are in.
Sometimes, a blank space is what makes the tile complete.
As we look forward to more promising times, I plan on taking a look at which parts of “normal” are worth returning to and where I can embrace some blank spaces.
As you pick up your pen to tangle this week, I encourage you to embrace the blank spaces both on and off your tile.
Share your Zentangle art on the Zentangle Mosaic app with the hashtag #BlankSpaces.

Julie Willand


  • I love this post and I love Blank spaces in my life and everything I do. It’s a must to rejuvenate myself.

    Miriam Zimms on

  • Beautifully written, and so true. The description of yourself reminded me of people I know. I shared the link to this article, so they could savor the wisdom in your words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Frieda Klotz on

  • Live the subject blank spaces…Very thoughtful and helpful to understand the importance of “being still”. While we can be observant of the spaces in our lives!

    Layla on

  • I wish I could enjoy the blank spaces, but for the last year since my husband died I have been caught in a blank space-stuck at home, alone, unable to do the crafts and hobbies I once enjoyed. I’d give anything to go back to normal.

    Vickie L. Stamper on

  • Spaces large, small and miniscule like the “space” between each breath and the one between each blink.

    Wee on

  • Well said! Thank you Julie and Ginny and all of you with insights on “space” and “pauses” I can always use that reminder on a daily basis!

    Mary Ellen Ziegler Czt33 on

  • Blank spaces give our eyes a place to rest to be able to see our tiles in their entirety so as to not overwhelm our brains. Blank spaces are needed, are welcomed and give us rest to appreciate the beauty of each of our tiles or artwork and our life. Great post Julie, thank you!

    Leslee on

  • SPACE . Yes, I agree with what has been said so far. In one way, adding zoom classes weekly complicated my schedule. But in another way I found myself looking forward to that quiet time where I tangled and thought do I teach this? Would they like to learn that? Because of Covid my life has been more filled ;with tangling, and with blank spaces.

    Lisa Hoesing. CZT 14 on

  • Thank you Julie. I am making this the theme of my community classes this week.

    Katy Kehoe on

  • So well said, Julie. I realized that I had time to figure out my organizational and learning styles this past year…something I never had a chance to do, being so busy and having moved a lot. I learned to breathe along with leaving space open!

    Cleo on

  • Julie, thank you for your wise thoughts! I want to strive for more open spaces in all areas of my new, “normal” life.

    LindaJF on

  • You speak truth! And what a nice thought to have in mind when I set my intention on my next tile!

    Julie Isaac on

  • As I sit on my back patio, this morning, enjoying the sunshine and Julie’s article about Blank Spaces, I

    was drawn to look up through the giant trees in front of me.. For the first time,, I realized that nature too provides us with Blank Spaces so that we can see the stunnig beauty of a cloudless morning, and the beautiful detail of the intertwined branches that create their own version of nature’s Zentangle. Thank you Julie for your inspiration to slow down, and look up!

    Linda Chik on

  • Here is the inspiration for this topic. A poem by Wayne Dyer

    It is the spaces between the notes
    That make the music,
    Without that emptiness, that silence in between,
    there is no music, only noise.
    You too are silent empty space at your center,
    Surrounded by form.
    To break through that form and discover your very creative nature
    that is in the center,
    You must take the time to become silent each day,
    And enter that rapturous space
    between your thoughts.

    Ginny Stiles on

  • Love this! 😊

    Donna G on

  • Like the silence between the words is often the most telling, so are the spaces between tangles!

    Ginger White CZT34 on

  • Thank you Julie for your insight. Just last night I tangled a Phi tile and left one of the spaces that I had set up for a border tangle blank. I thought about what it meant to me and I figured it out. It’s nice to read your blog post today which touches on this subject. Thank you.

    Nancy D., CZT18 on

  • Your post is something I began to do. I’m making a Covid19 scrapbook. It contains pictures of how things have changed. From mask wearing to dining out. The restaurants in South Jersey did some unique things. Like changing their parking lot into a beach theme. I included several tangles I did that ironically have blank spaces. I have a question. You may or may not be able to help me. I ordered the yearly book to do a tangle a day. It never arrived. Do you have their email where I could contact them? Thanks.

    Elaine Novak on

  • Julie, you are right on point here. This past year has been a real learning experience in so many ways. Even after all these years, blank spaces are the most difficult for me. I just want to keep on tangling. I have to stop myself from doing just one more tangle on my tile. However this past year has taught me I need to slow down and savour the precious time I seemed to feel I needed to fill. And the same goes for my tiles. I’m learning all over again that less is sometimes best! Many thanks to you for your wisdom. ❤️

    Brenda Shaver Czt 8 on

  • Julie, so true! Empty space is so important to give the eyes a place to rest. So needed today. When teaching art I always told students to look at billboards—good advertising uses space. Thanks.

    Paulette Kirschensteiner on

  • Great observations, Julie! I wholeheartedly agree about the spaces in life and in tangling❣️

    Ruth Osborn, CZT on

  • Wise indeed. Thanks Julie. ❤️❤️❤️

    Sandy Kelley-Jones CZT on

  • This concept brought to mind a line from Kahlil Gibran – “Let there be spaces in your togetherness.” Certainly not intended for Zentangle tiles, but it could be borrowed for this application." – Blessings


  • Julie, You truly have the wisdom of an ‘old soul’ in the body of a young woman. Thank you for reminding me that some open space, on my tiles, and in my life are healthy habits.

    Bette Abdu on

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