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