Variant Title has been added to your shopping cart.    View Cart   or   Checkout Now
Paradox Tessellations

Paradox Tessellations

Rick writes:

I am fascinated with the tangle paradox.

It has only one elemental stroke – traditionally a straight line. As you repeat that straight line in paradox it “paradoxically” results in a beautiful spiral.

When paradox elements share a common side, something intriguing occurs. A new shape or pattern appears that transcends the original shapes. We call these new shapes “meta-shapes” or “meta-patterns.”

I often tangle paradox inside adjacent equilateral triangles. You can arrange equilateral triangles so that all the sides touch and there are no gaps on a flat surface. That’s called a “Tessellation.”

Tessellation: the tiling of a plane using one or more geometric shapes, called tiles, with no overlaps and no gaps.

In this video, I dig deep into this concept. I use a pencil compass to “string” a gray Opus tile with a “Flower of Life” matrix. This is not a normal Zentangle way to create a string, but my motive here is to create an underlying structure from which to explore new tessellation shapes.

This video shows how the paradox tangle elicits new curving tessellations from any arrangement of tessellated straight- or curved-edged shapes.

I also appreciate the metaphors of this exercise. By tangling paradox within any tessellation pattern,

  • You can transform that previous pattern into an entirely new one
  • Depending on how you draw your paradox you create different meta-patterns and meta-shapes
  • The original pattern remains. But it is nearly invisible as it part of a new pattern.
  • The new pattern incorporates previously separate elements into this new meta-pattern.
  • (And in this example, it’s all based on the matrix of the flower of life, something quite special to Maria and me!)

We invite you to take a moment and enjoy this video.

Whatever appears to be happening around you, remember that you always have the option to put pen to paper in a Zentangle way and re-connect with your creative core and a feeling of gratitude.

From our home to yours, we send you and your families all our best Zentangle wishes.


With gratitude,

Rick and Maria



Here are some links you may enjoy: 


Rick Roberts


  • me thinks its nice

    me on

  • Especially now, in these strange times it is wonderful to tangle. Thank you so much for all those relaxing beautiful moments we get thanks to the Zentanglemethod.

    Ria Joris-Matheussen on

  • Thank you for the mindblowing Opus tessellated Paradox.
    Clearly you have not lost your ability to meditate!

    Me and my tangle friends are doing online tangle times while we shelter at home.

    Now we have a new idea to explore!

    LIsa on

  • How wonderful to see your meditative tangle strokes. Thank you, Rick (and Maria…love your gently banter) needed at this wonky time…speaking of wonky, just yesterday I was tangling Paradox on an empty egg shell..had also done research on tessellation..oops, I just wrote tangellation…. Anyway….perhaps it is a bit of synchronicity, even though the tangles on my eggs turned out somewhat wildly uneven…me thinks we were in the same ball park.

    Judith Rae Shamp on

  • Rick you gave us an example of pure meditation that mesmerized me! What a beautiful creation you made. But more than beautiful is the “doing” of the piece. I can see how the repetitive nature of the tangle and the design can relax and calm ones frazzled thoughts. I am grateful you share your gifts with us.

    Susie on

  • Thanks so much for this gift, Rick and Maria and all! The worldwide Zentangle community is making quarantine a truly wonderful, relaxing time. In fact, I can’t keep up with all the fabulous, creative projects out there. Stay home and safe, all, and Tangle On! ❤️

    Danielle DeRome on

  • It is not a paradox that this tangle has so many variations, and is a simple straight line. Oh where our minds can go as we delve into this! Thank you once again for the prompts.

    Ginger White CZT34 on

  • Today I put a pen to paper with the Project pack no 8 Part Two (One pre-strung black Zendala, and a second one). I was curious to see if you have posted something. You really enjoy Paradox Rick. I will look again at this post tomorrow. Thank you to keep in touch in this difficult time. Nathalie from Québec city.

    Nathalie Paré on

Leave a comment