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Our Zentangle Logo

Our Zentangle Logo

From an email:

“One of my students asked about the Zentangle logo. Where does it come from? What does the logo mean? 

“I heard from one of my CZT [Certified Zentangle Teacher] friends that it was inspired by a Chinese character "" which means "mouth", but it means also "enter". And Rick and Maria wanted to show "the enter of Zentangle" with the logo...? Sounds really beautiful but I'm not sure if this is correct or not.

"I want to tell my students the correct information and would greatly appreciated it if you could help me with this question."

Thank you so much for asking because the answer makes for a great story.

Throughout our Zentangle experience, synchronicity and serendipity have guided and informed our choices. The story behind our logo is an excellent example.

When we began Zentangle, one of our nephews worked for a web design company and we asked them for help building our website. They asked us what we had in mind for a logo. We described our fondness for the Asian chop with its bold, traditional, red color. The “chop” is a carved stamp that serves as a signature or seal in many East Asian cultures. You will often see it on artwork and documents.

Here is an example of a personal name seal:
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_(East_Asia)


 

Our nephew’s designers offered several suggestions. We chose the empty square drawn in brush strokes. The traditional square format matched our original square tiles. We liked the idea of the empty square because it suggested that it is up to the individual artist to define what to put on the tile.

 

 

Years later, in familiar Zentangle synchronicity, we discovered that our logo resembles the Japanese character which means “mouth” (as in the mouth of a cave), or “opening,” or “gateway.” We later learned that there is the same character with the same meaning in Mandarin.

Our logo is empty because the value of an opening is the emptiness it offers. Our logo’s emptiness offers no suggestion of what you should discover or imagine; it does not suggest what you should create.  Our logo is an invitation to enter within to connect with your own imagination and allow it to flow forth in the form of your own unique creative expression.

Thus the creative man knows himself to be a “mouth,” through which passes what has arisen in his innermost earthen night. — Erich Neumann

If someone had told us sixteen years ago about the life changing benefits that would accompany a Zentangle practice, we would not have believed them. But after years of feedback and experience, there is something going on which is worthwhile to notice.

The effect of the successful adventure of the hero is to unlock and release again the flow of life into the body of the world. — Joseph Campbell

This flow does not need force. In fact, force does not help. You only need to allow that portal, that to open. Then imagination and creativity flow automatically like water from an artesian well. An artesian well is an underground body of water that will flow out under its own pressure if it has an opening. Many springs are natural artesian wells.

Just as with an artesian well, with the flow of one’s own creativity:

  • once accessed, flows of its own accord
  • what was blocked, is released
  • its flow washes away obstructions
  • you are inspired to trust in your self

Knowledge knows him who pours forth as a spring. — A.M. Rilke

To feel creativity flow from within and watch it manifest through the pen in your hand and onto physical paper is a kind of miracle. For many people, this is the first time since childhood they have made marks that aren't pre-planned, programmed or judged. This is a first step as you learn to trust the validity of your own imagination and your own creative expression.

The creative and the spiritual are of the same space and the same energy when they derive from a person’s authentic experience. Together they provide a basis for deep fulfillment. — Jon Rappoport

A Zentangle practice offers an opportunity to change the story you tell yourself about yourself. That can be enough to release a logjam of unhelpful routines and patterns. We hear so many stories of health benefits that result from a Zentangle practice. I think it is related to the free flow from within of imagination and creativity . . . all through the opening of heART that our logo suggests.

=====

Your questions can be good inspirations for future blog posts. If you have a question, please ask it in the comments below.

Rick Roberts

45 comments

  • I’m just getting started in this craft. I struggle with the curves and line consistency. I’m getting better at it some what. I do free hand drawing such as doddle flowers, trees things of this sort. I paint, needle crafts, make cards, sing and do all kinds of crafts. I’m a Jack of all trades and master of none. What got me interested was when I was surfing the net and found a tutorial on making Christmas ornaments. I make ornaments for my kids each year and give them to friends as well.

    Betty on

  • My question is- has anyone thought applying modge podge to the tiles and applied them to ceramic tiles to make coasters and other decorative applications. I would like to see designs for Christmas ornaments as well.

    Betty on

  • Beautiful, insightful story !!!!!!

    Thank you Rick 🙏

    Shobha Mistry on

  • hermosa explicacion …. yo tengo una inquietud , porque el azulejo mide 9,98 cm tan exacto ?

    Gracias

    Anna Maria on

  • I had to print out this blog because I will use this info about the logo when I teach a class. I love sharing about the history of Zentangle and how it evolved and the evolution of the logo fits with the whole story. Plus, I love synchronicities. Thanks for the question and the answer.

    Leslie Hancock on

  • Before I discovered this, I had already been using the logo to put my initials inside! It looked perfect for it, a little red sqare. From now on, I’m going to do it with a red marker, to match the name seal theme.

    G.B. on

  • So intteresting. I especially like the cogent quotes. Thank you for sharing these insights.

    Linda Dochter on

  • Delightful to hear this story. I always liked the logo, but hadn’t thought about it a great deal.
    (PS – I think it should be R. M. Rilke, not A. M. Rilke)

    Margaret Bremner on

  • What a wonderfully inspirational story. Thank you

    Jennifer on

  • Jon Rappoport’s quote resonates the most with me. Your philosophy behind zentangles is for me the greatest inspiration and enhances my perspective on life. The more I read or listen to you, the more your philosophical statements seem to expand. Have you written down your philosophical thoughts, around the practice of zentangles, anywhere that I may have missed? I mean besides the process of Gratitude etc. before starting a tangle? Again thankyou for being you.

    wendy tann on

  • Dear Rick and Maria i always thought the logo was an empty tile to fill letting your spirit and soul finish the work!

    Your story is very comossing and you make humanity feel better and more empathic towards each other.

    You will not believe me if i say that I discovered tangling 3 days after an important operation at the head. It was instinctive! One monthlater I discovered zentangle in a shop!

    And now during the quarantine my inspiration increased and my painting style changed beginning tobemine after years of suffers…

    I should have participate to the seminar 3 last month but I am eager to go to next october! I want also find my own signaturewithan E stylised in a circle because my artist name is too long. Perhaps my logo has also a signification I ignore!
    5hanks and see you soon!
    @Ervalenazenart

    Anne Laure Mare- Bayart on

  • A gateway to the things beyond not knowing where we will go, but just enjoy the adventure as it unfolds as all Zentangle pieces do.

    Sue Leslie on

  • Pure synchronicity. Thanks for sharing.

    Shawna Oertley on

  • Love your explanation of your logo. Thank you! I am glad someone had asked. I always thought it was because of the square we draw before we tangle inside the square, but the mouth; the invite to tangle is perfect. I can not be happy without Zentangle as it is my form of meditation I need especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Am grateful to those who gives free live workshop to help us get through the quarantine! Marie Thomas and Rick Rogers are a blessing.

    Sharon McKenney on

  • How very rich and inspiring……a heartfelt thanks for taking the hero’s journey you have taken! Each step guided by synchronicity….allowing spontaneity to carry you along on the river of your life purpose. What a blessing your whole family is! Thank you for the simplicity of Zentangle allowing each of us to spread our wings and fly…and thank you for continuing to share your bubbling spring of loving kindness. 🎶💕

    Eileen Music on

  • As always, what you do is filled with meaning!

    CLARA A BRUNK on

  • So appropriate! I like the logo & those brush strokes! 💝

    Rimona Gale on

  • So appropriate! I like the logo & those brush strokes! 💝

    Rimona Gale on

  • I love the explanation and the quotes to support the Zentangle ideas. Thank you very much.

    Betsy on

  • Dear Rick and Maria
    Recently I had skin cancer surgery, spending 7+ hrs in a sterile office. As I tangled my waiting times, a sense of calmness and acceptance was very palpable. That wound became the mouth, the gateway as it were, for all the gratitude of Zentangle practice in my life.

    Thank you.

    Ginger White CZT 34 on

  • What a great story. I love the idea behind the logo. Very simple and lovely.

    Wendy Hoffman CZT 20 on

  • Thank you so much for a wonderful explanation of the logo. I will be sharing this blog post with my students so they will understand the depth of our practice.

    I also pondered Rick’s line “about the life changing benefits that would accompany a Zentangle practice“ and thought what a wonderful book that would make if we each contributed even one (there are many in my life alone) small example. Or an interesting event of our “familiar Zentangle synchronicity“ may be even better!

    Thank you for everything you do 💜
    Beth

    Beth Lovelle on

  • I’m happy to know that this logo represents a portal that allows one to enter into the creative process with ones self.

    JANE RICHARDS on

  • Synchronicity and serendipity exactly describe my continuing, continually opening, Zentangle experience.

    There are No thanks that would ever be enough.

    LIsa Hoesing on

  • Always loved the logo. Now I know why. The quotes here are good ones, but my favorite is this from you, Rick: “A Zentangle practice offers an opportunity to change the story you tell yourself about yourself.” The first time I read it, my mind read “opening” instead of “opportunity.” It’s the same thing, I’m discovering.

    Peyton on

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