Variant Title has been added to your shopping cart.    View Cart   or   Checkout Now
CZT Family Tree: Bette Abdu

CZT Family Tree: Bette Abdu

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 Bette Abdu! Bette is a Zentangle enthusiast from early on and a Certified Zentangle Teacher from the very first class!

--- + ---

Name: Bette Abdu 

CZT#: 1, 4 & 28  

Other Zentangle HQ sponsored events:  Master Class Aug 2010, ZenAgain 2016 & 2018 

Bette also ran the first CZT-only retreat in July 2011, and subsequently three more. 

Hometown: Brockton, Massachusetts USA. Currently resides in New Hampton, New Hampshire in the summer and in San Carlos, Panama in the winter.  

Favorite tangle: Poke Leaf 

Favorite place to tangle: at my art desk 

How I use the Zentangle Method in my life: 

It fulfills my desire to create beautiful images and calms my soul. Teaching is a very rewarding experience for me. 

My favorite story or memory about teaching the Zentangle Method is: 

Two poignant memories that come to mind: 

At a class planned for adults, a mother brought her two children. A few minutes before the starting time the mother informed me privately that her daughter had Tourette syndrome. She asked that I ignore any tics or verbal outbursts and continue with the lesson. Quite to the contrary, her daughter became hyper-focused, her tiles were beautiful, and there wasn’t a single outburst. After class, that mother told me that Zentangle was a miracle for her daughter with tears in her eyes. 

Another experience was at a day-long annual meeting for women who volunteer to assist abused women navigate their emotional, legal, and safety issues. Many of these volunteers are survivors of abuse themselves. After the morning business meeting, they could choose two seminars: yoga, knitting, creative writing, and Zentangle. I taught a morning and afternoon seminar. In the morning session, I had about 15 participants. One lady arrived late (car trouble) and was quite flustered. I worked with her one-on-one while the rest of the class worked on the first tangle—all good. At lunchtime, this same lady went from table to table singing the praises of Zentangle and me! My afternoon workshop was double the size (luckily, I had planned for up to 50 - the total in the conference). This lady came up to me and asked if she could hug me. She enveloped me in a bear hug. Then she proclaimed that Zentangle had changed her life.  

Through my experiences as a CZT, I have learned: 

That the motto “Anything is possible, one stroke at a time,” is as true in life as it is on a Zentangle tile. 

My connection to Zentangle: 

It was fate that I learned about Zentangle online in 2007. I ordered the kit from Zentangle HQ - there were no CZTs at this time. I was immediately smitten with everything about Zentangle. It was love at first tile. 

As members of the New Hampshire chapter of WCA (Women’s Caucus for Art), Sandy Bartholomew, CZT 1,2 et al and I were asked to teach Zentangle at the semi-annual meeting in April 2008.  We both declined out of respect for the trademarked Zentangle. Still, I wanted my fabulous discovery to be shared with this group. So, I contacted Rick and Maria and persuaded them to teach us. To my delight they agreed. We had about 30 members attend, in a room designed for 20-ish people. Some members had to peak around the doorways of the repurposed old home of the historical society where our meeting was held.  Everyone was excited to learn Zentangle. Many purchased Zentangle Kits to continue their journey with Zentangle and five of us were fortunate to attend the first Certified Zentangle Teacher training in February of 2009.  

Maria writes...

Rick and I remember that day well. It was a wonderful event and it was an honor to be asked to teach. We remember the attendees overflowing out of the room and the enthusiasm for the Zentangle Method. Talking with Bette and the other people there, we realized that, by ourselves, we would not be able to teach the Zentangle Method to everyone in the world. We needed to teach others how to teach it.

Shortly after that event, we organized our first Certified Zentangle Teacher seminar. Five from that New Hampshire Zentangle workshop attended.

CZT Seminar #1 February 2009  
New Hampshire graduates with Rick and Maria 

L to R Sandy Bartholomew, Bette Abdu, Maria Thomas,  
Catherine Rogers, Rick Roberts, Donna Conroy, Kathy Freeburn 


If I’m not tangling, you will find me . . .  Walking, traveling, biking, doing charity work or hanging with my friends in person or on Zoom 

In addition to many Zentangle tiles, I’ve tangled on: Shoes, clothing, aprons, tote bags, a piano, a life-sized fiberglass gnu (see Zentangle newsletter) polymer clay, shrink plastic, rocks, clam shells - well you get the idea - anything goes. 

Mosaic Name: BetteAbduCZT

--- + ---

We did not give you all a comment prompt to win a Zentangle surprise last week, but we have been having so much fun picking winners for a special gift (that we will reveal soon!), we went ahead and randomly picked a commenter anyways. Jane E Laine, congratulations! Please send your snail mail address to!

Leave us a comment below and who knows.. you may get picked next!



  • It has been a pleasure to get to know you over the last several months, Bette. I think I’ve learned a lot more about you after attending CZT40 and hearing what Maria, Rick, Molly and Martha have said about you. You’re an amazing lady, and I can’t wait till you get back home and we are reunited at Tangle Tuesdays. There’s so much more to learn!

    Cat Bardwell on

  • I knew a lot of your story Bette, but learned more reading this. Always nice to know how much Zentangle affects and helps people. So glad to be part of your community. You are one of the only classes where you actually know all of the participants! :o)

    Jody Genovese on

  • Nice to read more about your Zentangle story Bette. Happy to have met you several times. Hugs from the Netherlands.

    Maria Vennekens on

  • What a tangled path you’ve traveled, Bette! I especially appreciated your two tangle class stories. Changing someone’s life is no small thing, and it does happen often with Zentangle We are fortunate to have had the early pioneers like you who were bitten by the tangling bug and helped build the strong foundation of Zentangle for the rest of us. Poke Leaf is not a go-to tangle of mine, but I will add some to my next tile in your honor. Tangle on!

    Jenny Perruzzi CZT10 on

  • Thank you for sharing your story with us, Bette. I love hearing how Zentangle can transform one’s state of mind.

    Leslie Hancock on

  • I love your testimonials!!

    Jeanne on

  • Loved reading about Bette’s journey into Zentangle.

    Deborah Sargent on

  • Love hearing others stories on how Zentangle came into their life. So many stories and so many blessings for all of us.

    Sue Leslie on

  • The Zentangle method allow my Tangled

    Josephine Wood CZT36 on

  • Zentangle people seem to have such rich amazing lives….the beauty of living artfully. Thank you for sharing your story Bette.

    Maryam on

  • Bette,

    I love hearing the stories from your teaching experiences. Thank you so much for sharing with us! Yes…anything is possible, one stroke at a time.
    All the best, Molly

    Molly Siddoway King CZT36 on

  • Nice to hear a little more of your story, Bette. I fondly remember various times we’ve spent together. A hug to you! <3

    Margaret Bremner on

  • What a lovely story… Zentangle truly is a miracle. Tangling helps so many people in today’s crazy world

    Deanna Conlon on

  • Love these stories!!

    Linda HunterCZT31 on July 14, 2021 on

  • What a great story. I don’t believe in coincidences and believe we are led to what we need in our lives at specific times. Would love to see the piano she tangled on.

    Gail Jarrard on

  • What an inspirational story! I love to hear the stories of “how it all started!”
    I wonder how long it would have been until Maria realized the necessity of CZT training if Bette hadn’t contacted them? So very cool!

    Betsey Youngs, CZT 20 on

  • Such an additional wonderful testimony ! “Love at first tile” could be my word too !

    Thanks for these “pioneer lovers” to have urged Rick and Maria to teach!
    So many years later I just regret discovering this method at a late age : I am a CZT36 but find it difficult to teach myself (lack of self-confidence when I see all the existing workshops on line).
    Thank you to the whole community!

    Françoise PAWLICK on

  • The story is so beautiful and thank you for believing in the Zentangle method and asking Rick and Maria to teach. Hadn’t you taken the initiative to ask we would not have the opportunity to experience teaching zentangle to my community all the way to Nepal❤️

    Neeti on

  • Being a new CZT from seminar 37, it is so wonderful to read about the early CZTs and their journeys! So amazing !

    Suchitra K on

  • Thanks for sharing your heart warming stories, Bette. I’m loving your powerful extension of the Zentangle motto…well said and so true.

    Judith Rae Shamp on

  • What a treat to learn about the lady I attend Sunday classes with on Zoom. Now I understand how she knows all the answers; she’s been there pretty much from the beginning. What an outstanding example you see lady!

    Sandra Blade on

  • Bette, so nice to hear from you. Loved hanging and tangling with you over the years. We are oldies but goodies.. lol. 💕

    Brenda Shaver Shahin on

  • What a treat to hear

    Janie on

  • I had the pleasure of meeting Bette, and enjoyed the class she taught at CanTangle in Regina.
    It’s lovely to read these stories about CZTs, old and new!

    Carol on

  • I love your story about how tangling helped the little girl to not have any outburst. I’ve found that it does lower my blood pressure.

    The gnu is beautiful. I’m sure that must have been fun to tangle. Thanks for sharing.

    Lori Riden on

Leave a comment