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James Shares a Tangle

James Shares a Tangle

Maria and I received this email from James in Korea with a new tangle he deconstructed. We are thrilled to share James' new tangle — and his story behind it — here with you all.


Dear Rick and Maria,

This is new tangle that I created. I want to share my appreciation with you about the journey from the rise of inspiration to completing the tangle.

 New tangle prototype by James Lim CZT


This tangle is inspired by the pattern of windows and doors called Salchang (the lattice window of traditional Korean houses).

Traditional Korean house : Korea cultural heritage administration homepage


Salchang is a traditional Korean window and door made of thin woven wood with traditional Korean paper pasted on it. The wooden lattice is mainly made from the pine tree, and various patterns come out depending on how they are laid out.

I always thought that the pattern of traditional Korean windows and doors was great, and from a few years ago, I wanted to make a tangle with this pattern of the Salchang. I repeated my research whenever I had time. But when I drew it, I realized that I was just portraying the actual Salchang patterns. It wasn't easy to deconstruct it into a tangle. However, I always kept the pattern of the Salchang in my heart.

But a few days ago, the words of you and Maria suddenly came to my mind, shaking my head. "If you can write your name, you can do the Zentangle method!"

"If you can write your name… !" 

Suddenly, at that very point, it seemed like the stagnant creativity found its way to an eruption. One part of my head that was thinking about the pattern of Salchang and the other part that remembered your words were connected at some point, and the light was shining. Is this the flow of creativity you were talking about?

If you can write your name... !

When you learn the Korean alphabet, Hangul, you learn "ㄱ(giyeok)" and "(nieun)" first. "ㄱ" and "ㄴ" can be said to be "A" and "B" in the English alphabet. The inspiration from the traditional windows was amplified by the stories you regularly told, reminding me of "ㄱ" and "ㄴ". When my thoughts reached even the C-curve that connects the two letters, the pattern quickly deconstructed.

Korean alphabet: National Institute of Korean Language 

The traditional window pattern that has been hovering around for few years was born into a new tangle, consisting of only "ㄱ" and "ㄴ" and C curves, in just a few hours.

[Comment: Maria and I love the gentleness that the curve brings to the angles of the corners . . . and the meta patterns that take shape as this tangle takes form.]

It was a fantastic experience where inspiration, creativity, passion, and understanding of the Zentangle philosophy were not independently separated from each other but influenced each other and melted together into one new creation in an instant.

Original by Ungto CZT and variation by Yunji CZT

 I would like to express my sincere gratitude and respect to you and Maria for making this experience possible. The Zentangle Method makes our lives comfortable and happy and constantly stimulates creativity. In particular, this experience was a moment when I felt the meaning of creativity that you have always spoken of, and it was a very happy and thrilling moment. Thank you so much.

The name of the new tangle is “Ganada(가나다)”.

Ganada is a word with a vowel (a) added to the Hangul consonants “ㄱ” and “ㄴ“. It is the first word to follow when learning Hangeul, like the English “ABC”. It also contains the meaning that the Zentangle Method is easy to learn.

I particularly like this tangle because the simple strokes are repeated, it is difficult to understand how it was drawn after it is finished, and it can be transformed into various shapes.

Ganada tangle variation by Yunji and Ungto CZT


Ganada ( 가나다 ) tangle stepout

Rick adds:

I was immediately “drawn” to this tangle. Perhaps it is the mix of straight and curved lines in a structured approach with dynamic and unexpected results.

Here are some tiles that this tangle inspired.

At the top is my “getting familiar with the tangle” tile. Doing that gave me an idea of introducing auras of the underlying structure in a “static” format.

In the second tile I explored that approach further.

In the third tile, the phi tile, brown and black microns emphasize the two interweaving elements.

Thank you for the joy and new avenues of creative expression this brought to me and will bring to all the Zentangle community. I look forward to what people will create with it.

Rick Roberts


  • Love it!

    Maryjo Griffin on

  • James, what a lovely tile. Thank you for sharing its background and the tangle to us all.

    Theresa Caillouette, CZT 32

    Theresa Caillouette, CZT 32 on

  • This is the best sample of a KISS (keep It simple) approach, being a core ingredient for Zentangle. Will try for sure and Will think about that lovely ABC from Korean.😉👏👏

    Os Burbano on

  • I really love this tangle, so much easier to draw than it looks and relatively easy to remember, it’s simplicity really meets the classic definition of a tangle. James thanks for sharing your tangle and your story of discovery.

    Sue Bailey on

  • Thank you James, Maria and Rick. I saw this pattern on Linda’s web page and was draw to it as well. My earlier attempt were not so good, but I am inspired by what you all have done with it and will play with it again soon!

    Marsha Campbell on

  • Thank you Thank you…what a wonderful story and inspiration! I can’t wait to try Ganada! I am hoping for a similar creativity breakthrough. ;-).

    Mary Ellen Ziegler Czt33 on

  • Isn’t it wonderful when ideas and images are shared among us and something new and beautiful is created through our connection…a touch of the Divine emerges! Thank you. I can’t wait to try it!

    Leslie Hancock on

  • This is gorgeous! I love geometric tangles- and the story is wonderful. My niece is an artist & lives in S Korea. She has been learning the language for several years- I immediately shared the blog post with her!

    Luci Mathews on

  • Me sumo a todos los comentarios.

    Simplemente genial.
    Gracias James.

    M.D. Tirado on

  • Hello James,

    Thank you so much for your beautiful story,
    I’m really impressed by the new tangle you deconstructed and the story behind it.
    There’s another aspect why I love the method Maria and Rick created. It brings us together and we learn a lot about the culture of others.
    I think the tangle method opens our brain to see things with otherwise. Kind regards from Germany Julia, czt

    Julia-Maria Weber on

  • I love it! Your story illustrates so we’ll the difference between copying the exact shape of some real object vs deconstructing it then building a tangle that shares it’s style.

    EdithOSB CZT37 on

  • This is a great tangle. Before I saw the step out, I was sure I’d never be able to do it because it looked so complex, but the step out was so well constructed, it is doable “one stroke at a time.” I enjoyed its birth story, and thank you so much for sharing it with us, James!

    Susan Talbot on

  • I was about to start looking around for a new tangle, just something to exercise my brain on a lazy summer afternoon. This is perfect! The right combination of simplicity and complexity! Thanks!!!

    MaryAnn Scheblein-Dawson, CZT#1 on

  • This is an intriguing pattern with a lovely and inspirational backstory. I had to try it out as soon as I read this post. Thank you, James. This is very well done!

    Helen on

  • Thank you so much, all three of you, for your generous sharing! I can’t wait to sit down to try this tangle. Your process was inspiring, and will be on my mind as I master these beautiful forms. Many, many, thanks.

    Alice Steuck Konkel on

  • What an inspirational story, James! Thank you for sharing it with the Zentangle family!

    DM Smith on

  • Thank you James for this new tangle. I am excited to try this. I love your detailed story of this process and creation.

    Ginny Sones,CZT 13 on

  • Thank you, James! Very nice new tangle!

    Aurora Dabacan on

  • James I love how this pattern took its time to reveal itself to you. I saw this when it was published in Tangle Patterns and immediately knew it was my kind of pattern. Thank you for sharing your story and your pattern with us. It’s beautiful.

    Jody Genovese on

  • I really like this tangle and am going to take it to the art room this afternoon. Loved your story, James. My husband served in Korea in the late 1970’s and he loved the experience, the people, the culture, the FOOD, and just about everything he came in contact with. He talks about it with fondness every chance he gets!

    Paula Schneider on

  • It’s Wonderful to hear the story behind the tangle. It makes it more meaningful. Thank you so much I look forward to trying it.

    Melissa Cahn on

  • Wow! What a terrific tangle and inspiring story. Thank you James for both and Rick and Maria for sharing.

    I will be trying this tangle ASAP!

    PamS on

  • This is so beautiful and I cannot wait to create with it! A lovely, lovely story!

    Jackie Saunders on

  • James – it’s ZENTASTIC! Thank you for sharing your story and it’s end result. Will be tangling this one today :-) And, thank you Rick and Maria for sharing James’ creation. Can’t wait to see what everyone does with this one.

    Sherri Lee, CZT on

  • Fabulous history on this! Thank you for sharing, James. Reminds me a lot of CZT® Pegi Schargel’s B’twined.

    Dari on

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