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CZT Family Tree: Alan Quincey

CZT Family Tree: Alan Quincey

We always say that the Zentangle Method attracts really awesome people. We have had the pleasure of working with wonderful Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT) all over the world and we are excited to share these wonderful people with the entire Zentangle Community. Through our series, CZT Family Tree, we will introduce individual CZTs.

Today, we are excited to introduce Alan Quincey!

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Name:  Alan Quincey, CZT 36

Hometown: I live in Llandrindod Wells, in Mid Wales, UK. A small place but the county town of Powys, the largest county in Wales. I have lived in many places but my affinity goes back to the place of my birth, the City of Lincoln, also a county town of the second largest county in England, Lincolnshire. It is where I studied art for five years, between the ages of 14 and 19, before training as an art teacher in Leicester.

I taught children for six years before entering industry as a graphic designer and typographer, with occasional forays into university lecturing and leading many calligraphy workshops throughout the country.

My favourite zentangle teaching story: At the time of writing, I have been a CZT for two weeks but I have taught the method several times before, to my peers ---- groups of old crumblies. The most notable was a bunch of about 60, prior to a luncheon. They had no idea what to expect.

I introduced the method and my connection to it, then I handed out paper tiles. They had to draw with anything they had, a ballpoint, a fountain pen, a pencil, etc. Then, as you might expect, the protests resounded. "I can't do that!" "I can't draw!" "I can't draw a straight line!" (Who can?)

We did the first tile from the Primer with assuring success and moved on to making a mosaic. I could see there were far fewer than 60 tiles on show. Many of the men, highly self-critical, deeply embarrassed, had slid their tiles into an inside pocket! With a quip and a joke (I knew them all by name) I persuaded them to include their tiles and I mixed them to hide identity. There was an instant buzz of pleasure and appreciation, with amazement at their collective ability. Whoopee!

How do I use the Method? My life has been involved with visual creativity, drawing, graphics, lettering, typography, calligraphy. As the years advance, I often find there is a creative block. I go to my work space but nothing happens. That is one place where Zentangle fits in. I take up tile and pen and, following the method, on stroke at a time, I find a sanctuary of spontaneous creativity. Breaking the block may not happen immediately. It may take several tries, one tile at a time.

My connection with Zentangle: Well, it goes back to a time before Zentangle existed. Way back, it could be thirty years, I can't recall the date, I was at a residential calligraphy workshop at Dillington House, in Somerset, UK, led by the renowned Peter Thornton. Peter had invited a dozen or so people from the USA and one of them was a lady called Maria Thomas. After the event, we kept in touch from time to time, both taking pleasure from each other's work.

Shortly after my Golden Wedding, my wife became increasingly ill. My role changed, to the exclusion of many things and I lost touch with Maria. My dear wife died in 2014 and, in the months which followed, I was persuaded to clamber into the 21st century. I got a smart phone. I got a tablet. I learned to email and message and post.

One day, clearing accumulated "debris" in my micro work space, I found a large envelope, long forgotten. It contained a print of a beautiful botanical painting by Maria, sent to mark our golden wedding seven years previously. Her letter with it suggested I might search their zentangle website. Well, now I am equipped to do it, so I searched. I was surprised, I was intrigued, I was fascinated. I tried and I was hooked.

Whilst painting and lettering never left me short of things to do, there were still major gaps in my new life, which I had not fully recognized. To a large extent, Zentangle method and practice helped to fill those times with concentration, exploration, distraction and gratitude.

And then, Maria and Rick visited Wales, almost three years ago and the true reconnection was made. Deep joy !


Another connection: At the start, I showed  the Method to my daughter, Joanna. From her backgrounds in nursing and policing, she recognized the benefits which could be gained from Zentangle. She is now Zenjo CZT ---- but that's another story.

You can get to know Jo Quincey here.


Zentangle Mosaic Name: AlanQ_CZT36



  • Such a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it. Love your art piece.

    Rimona Gale on

  • Alan your labyrinth is so engaging! The tangles capture the rhythm of the path so beautifully. Thank you!

    Sue Swanson on

  • Thank you for your story! Wow – the journey continues to amaze and inspire!

    Mary Ellen Ziegler Czt33 on

  • Thank you Alan! That’s an amazing and inspiring story. I’ve been a fan of Alan and Joanna for about a year now and they continue to amaze me with their creativity and beautiful tangling.

    Linda Elkin on

  • I thank each one of you. You are all so kind.

    Alan Quincey on

  • Zentangle brings so many kinds of people together! Thank you for your story, and what makes you tick!

    Ginger White CZT 34 on

  • What a beautiful and inspiring story! Thanks to everyone who participated in its sharing, and kudos to the wonderful man whose story is told. I love it that calligraphers are everywhere. I am grateful for Zentangle when I cannot get my calligraphy attempts to behave, and I can make something beautiful in spite of myself!

    Cynthia (Cyndy) Aten on

  • I enjoyed your story! Thank you for sharing it!

    Nathalie Paré on

  • I had the pleasure of meeting Alan about 12 months ago and have seen him almost every week since at Zenjo’s Tangle Club. What a delightful gentleman! He and his daughter are significant contributions to the Zentangle community. I’ve heard the story of their introduction to Zentangle through the connection to Maria Thomas, and every time I marvel at how many specific events at the right day and time were required for Alan and Zenjo to know about Zentangle. Talk about serendipity!

    Beth Peters on

  • How beautiful this family of CZT is, yours, Alan, and ours, all together. Thank you for sharing your story and thank Maria and Rick for Zentangle family.

    Laura Rossi Doria CZT EU1 on

  • Generational artists who tangle.

    I love that we are all so much more global now!

    Lisa Hoesing on

  • So honored to know you both. What a wonderful story. I’m stealing your ‘old crumblies’ line. That made me laugh out loud. All the best to you.

    Jody Genovese on

  • I am so happy to be introduced to Alan Quincey. He is such an interesting artist, and a true natural for Zentangle. Labyrinths are such a powerful force and the one that Alan created one with tangles is magnificent!! Thanks to Alan and Maria for sharing.

    Carol Bailey Floyd on

  • Very uplifting and you are so fortunate to Know Maria and Rick

    Sue Bellefeuille on

  • Amazing story of an amazing family! Thanks for sharing!

    Betsey Youngs on

  • What a perfectly delightful story (although not uncommon in the world of Zentangle). Thank you Mr. Quincy and Zentangle for the loveliness of it all! Then suddenly it comes full-circle to Mr. Quincy’s daugher, Zenjo! What a wonderful Zentangle world!

    Roberta Strickland on

  • What a moving, beautiful story, Alan Quincey, thank you for sharing! Warmest regards from Breda, the Netherlands

    Eefke Warffemius on

  • What a wonderful story of your Zentangle journey and what beautiful tiles and combinations! I also got to view Jo’s story which I had not seen previously.

    Joyce Rosenberger, CZT36 on

  • Love this story and your and Joanna’s work. Lovely to see your faces to put together with your tiles. More importantly, so happy you shared your journey here. Wonderful to hear of your long ago meeting Maria, maintaining contact and now becoming a CZT. Love that a chance meeting can create decades long connections and that it expands this awesome community.

    Pamela Sauerwald on

  • Ah, Alan! What a delight to read your story and learn more about your history, though I have had the wonderful privilege of meeting you weekly on Joanna’s Zenjo Tangle Club! You are an amazing artist, both in your Zentangle creativity but all your other mediums as well. Plus you write great limericks!

    Mary Lindeblad on

  • What a fascinating story and journey! I love that Alan tackled this in his later years (which I am in also). The story of the 60 was amazing as well. Cheers and blessings for many continued journeys into this amazing meditative art form.

    Paula Schneider on

  • Alan…your story is fascinating! I truly enjoyed your blog. Thank you for sharing it!

    Sandy Van De Veer on

  • Loved the story. A person is never too old to Zentangle! Wish I knew about the method earlier myself. Alan’s designs are lovely. I just became acquainted with his daughter’s work and enjoy her classes .

    Marilyn on

  • I love your story—my condolences for the loss of your wife . I discovered Zentangle in 2013 & am grateful for this art . It has given me solace during this very difficult year we have endured globally.

    The labyrinth is beautiful-I completed one for a friend that walked one at her Church after a devastating loss of her son .
    Thanks for sharing your story!

    Penny on

  • Thank you Sir, both your story and your tangling are exquisite.

    Karen Wyatt on

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