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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!

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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

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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!



  • What a fabulous story. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Lynda Moore on

  • What a fabulous story. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Lynda Moore on

  • Dear Bette, thank you for sharing your story. It’s always fun to learn how people come to Zentangle. I have a question. I’ve seen these large sculptures of different shapes painted and placed all around the country as fundraisers raisers. Austin had guitars! I’ve been trying to find the company that actually makes them, with no luck. Do you ha e any contacts who might know where they can be purchased in their blank formats? Any help would be most appreciated.

    Tracie on

  • Bette has been an incredible inspiration in the Zentangle community for years! ❤️❤️❤️

    Kathy Y. on

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