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Rick Roberts


  • Dear Maria and Rick, as a yoga teacher and moral person, I am very familiar with the handling of others’ intellectual property. It is always bad to override the unspoken rules in dealing with each other. It does something in one’s own heart and poison the soul. Maybe not immediately, but in the end there is the receipt for it (karma as the result of the sum of my decisions).

    Property may and must be protected!
    I am looking forward to becoming a CZT in an appreciative atmosphere with like-minded people and getting to know you in 2 weeks.

    Respect for your kindness in your correspondence!

    Barbara Steyer on

  • I feel shocked and sad to be reading this. I’m rolling it all around in my head, and the phrase that I keep getting pulled back to is when you refer to something precious being ‘mangled so severely’. I feel a little mangled reading this, hearing this. I’ll be honest, when I first encountered Zentangle 5 years ago I had a moment or two, when I thought ‘hey, someone is making a mint out of something quite simple here’. I had barely scratched the surface when I thought that. I imagined a big US corporation – men in suits racking up the dollars from us doodlers. The more I dived in the more I saw my error. There’s no hard sell. We’re not pressured to buy or pay or sell. We’re given opportunities to play and be helped along the way – and how rare and precious is that!? And in a world that is full of division and spite I’ve almost exclusively encountered respect and generosity and love. And it’s heartbreaking that not everyone sees it that way. That some people are so keen to take rather than give. And yes, well. The principles of Zentangle have been mangled in those wrong hands. But the rest of us can hold it tightly, but gently, protect it as it protects us. And now I’m half rambling, half preaching, but I feel a little less shocked, a little less sad. And if this were Dead Poet’s Society I’d be standing on my desk, turning to you Rick and saying ‘Captain! My Captain!’.

    Jem Miller on

  • Dear Rick, Marie and everyone at Zentangle HQ,
    I’m am saddened someone would so blatantly steal your method, patterns and philosophy then be so disrespectful of your gentle and kind requests. It shows that Ina has no integrity. I have read the comments and many people have either been lied to or mislead by Ina or have displayed disrespect for you and for the time, energy, care and hard work you have put into developing and growing the Zentangle method not not just for your own professional gains but on behalf of all the Zentangle community. Fortunately, most of the comments continue to show their admiration and appreciation for you and the gifts you have so heart-fully shared. Many are so eloquently stated. It wasn’t until I saw this posting, shared by Holly Williams, that I was aware of Ina’s insulting and illegal activities. Holly’s link to your this blog post also made me aware that I haven’t been receiving your posts. As I look back I stopped getting them at the time of the new website. I will have to correct that.
    Lawsuits are terribly costly in time and dollars and probably even more so when international (Ina must be aware of this and decided she could get away with it because you would not pursue it.), so I can only imagine the terrible emotional stress this has caused you. Even though I believe she should not be able to get away with what she’s done, only you can weigh the damages and decide what is best for you and your intellectual property. It’s like she kidnapped your child.
    Judy Gucker, CZT 13

    Judy Gucker on

  • I am so happy that it will be possible for me to attend the seminar in October. And so sad to be aware of what a person is able to do just for her own benefit. Rick, your conversation with Ina is so respectfully done, I hope everything will be solved in a decent way. If someone asks me about this I will share this blogpost with them for sure!

    Anita Aspfors Westin on

  • When I first heard of this controversy, I thought maybe the person was handing out “Certificates” of completion so the teacher would have proof of the student having taken said classes. I didn’t even know “who” was doing it. But now that I know the extent of what is going on, I’m deeply saddened. I knew this day would come eventually. Zentangle has grown and enriched so many lives. As a CZT, I have always felt that you would protect my certification. I may not teach much anymore, but I do value my “certification”. While the court of public opinion may be effective, I think you should take legal action to stop Ina so others who may think about doing the same thing will realize that you are “watching” for ripoffs. I remember in my class, you stated that you couldn’t financially take action against anyone who may try and steal your process. You even said that the tangles were “everyone’s”. Why do we have laws that protect us if you don’t pursue them? Have you thought about doing a Kickstarter for the expense of legal fees? You could probably get enough support just from CZTs. I, for one, would gladly support you.

    Barb Gill, CZT 7 on

  • What I call knock off versions of Zentangle has bother me for some time. I became a CTZ to better prepare myself for sharing Zentangle with others. I have been offended by books that slightly change the process, such as a different number of step. Our community college teaches Zendoodle. All is unfair. If the nice approach does not work, use lawyers.

    Karen Rushton on

  • Rick and Maria, I am so sorry that you and our Zentangle community have been forced to deal with a person like this. I have faith that whatever you decide to do will be what you honestly believe is best for all of us. The Zentangle community is precious to me, and I am truly saddened that a person of this nature would choose to rob from the gift of Zentangle, rather than embrace it. Like you, I hope she will fade away. Unfortunately, I think she is too ignorant of morality, and will force you to proceed with legal action. Good luck on that endeavor, and thanks so much for keeping us updated.

    Sally Houghton on

  • I joined a CZT seminar in Providence and that was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. The real Zentanglemethod gives me and many others so much benefits every day again. I’m very grateful to have discovered Zentangleart and met the real founders: Rick, Maria and their family. I’m sure that all people who have joined such a seminar agree with me. Unfortunately some people are evil, jealous, steal things from others and act if they had invented the idea’s of others. It is so sad what is going on and definitely it is not correct what Ina does.

    There is one pattern of me on her site, I’m going to ask if she will remove it. I don’t want to be there anymore.
    I wish you success and again thank you very much for everthing you do and did for so many people!

    ria matheussen on

  • While the Zentangle Method certainly incorporates universal principles and pattern art is as ancient as mankind itself, the very crucial and salient point is that the Zentangle Method takes up these strands of various universal principles along with many new and original ones and ties them into a package that is pretty perfect.The eight steps, the square tiles, the simple materials, the selection of beautiful and deconstructable patterns – the sum is so more than its parts. And there can be no doubt whatsoever that if Rick and Maria had not conceived of this ingenious, beautiful and simple method and put it out into the world, none of us, including Ina Sonnenmoser, would be tangling today.

    Jennifer Hohensteiner on

  • I’ve had a look at what is available in the public domain to both sides of this story. To me it is clear that Rick and Maria need to proceed with action to end Ms Sonnemoser’s infringement on their business. I’m not a legal expert, but I am an artist who has had the same problem. I’m not saying you have the right to do so, Rick and Maria, I’m saying you need to do it, for the sake of a creative community who’s work gets compromised. I also want to applaud you on making public your first reactions and steps taken. It is clear headed and without unneccesary force. If this does not resolve the situation, legal action is clearly called for. Your reaction could be a template response for others facing the same situation. I will hope for a satisfactory outcome!

    Megan on

  • Can I just say, for a project which has “zen” in its title, none of this is very zen. Whilst I understand that you need to make money from your art (don’t we all?) and even that you need to protect your intellectual property (although, is she really taking away anything from you? if she’s quality she may deserve to practice, and if she’s not, it’ll fizzle out by itself), I find it extremely distasteful that you should publish this and share this on facebook and other sites; kinda airing your laundry in public innit? I don’t really care who’s right or wrong, yourselves or the defendant but in my experience, there’s usually fault in both. Myself, I find my immediate reaction is to step away from what I had thought to be a caring and loving group with a bitter taste in my mouth. I will continue to tangle or doodle, in my own way and for myself only, but it might take me a while to get this taste out of my mouth.

    Laure on

  • Please disregard my previous comment as it posted before it was completed and does not reflect my full opinion. I believe that will result in a gross misunderstanding by those who read what is a very small snippet of intended thoughts.

    To avoid any further issue, I will just make this final comment. Reguardless of who’s side of this issue your on, I hope that the very large library of tangles and step out created by Ms. Sonnenmoser will no longer be used by Rick and Maria as well as their CZT’s either in their art work or their classes. To me to do so is like wanting to have your cake and eat it too. The CZT’s gain income from teaching these disputed methods so for them to use any pattern she created in any manner is in my mind also a theft of Ms. Sonnenmoser intellectual property.

    Theresa Allen on

  • As an artist of many years I understand the need to protect ones craft and I fully understand Rick and Maria’s position in this matter, but Ina also has a valid position here as well in my opinion. I am not a CZT nor a CPT frankly because I in my opinion I find both a bit pretentious. Now before anyone gets their cage rattled over that opinion it is not meant to be insulting. The principals behind Zentangle and Pattern Drawing while being the bone of contention here both encapsulate universal principles. Truthfully the only really new factor i see is someone chose to give them a zippy new name, (Zentangles, combinging pre-existing words Zen and Tangle) to describe a method of drawing in a “spiritually enlightening” way. That’s wonderful but short of the name itself I don’t see how anyone can claim rights to the process of drawing or the resulting art? That would be like me saying I am going to copywrite the name Alphacom

    Theresa Allen on

  • One of the early childhood lessons learnt, one may like to recall, is, ‘World out there is not always fair’. However, changes in the world are also brought about by the actions of the fair people triggered by the unfair practices. This goes beyond legality. People power is found greater than the court’s power. I am sure, all the CZTs world around can create that power to defeat the unfair.

    Malathi and I, perhaps also all our other CZTs in India stand firmly behind you and Maria in your efforts of establishing the ethical stand.
    Dilip Patel, CZT09

    Dilip Patel on

  • I do believe that Ina Sonnenmoser is ripping you off, because it sounds like she is making a living from it and claiming your work as hers. However, I think you may be being a little overprotective of some parts of Zentangle. Some of your tenets are pretty universal, you know, and some are pretty harmless to teach. There are NO CZTs on the Island of Montreal where I live and when I try to reach the one who taught one class here (as far as I know) she doesn`t answer. So I have been teaching a FEW people how to do a FEW patterns, while introducing them to and Zentangle. I also make it very clear that I am NOT a CZT. I would DEARLY love to become a CZT, but it would cost me 1/5 of my retirement savings ($3,000+ CAD) plus a new Canadian passport. I`m almost 73 with incipient health problems so am not too keen on booking into a class a few months ahead. I feel a car would be needed to teach in Montreal but I don`t drive, so I couldn`t guarantee myself that I would make back the cost of the course and travel to it, so I probably won`t do it. I`m told I`m a good teacher, though! (PS, I`ve been tangling for 3 years now, I thank you very much for what I have learned and what you have shared.) We have nearly 2 million people on this Island and I wish somebody here would up and get certified! It might be a language problem – only 20% of us are English.

    Rosemary Turpin on

  • How very sad all this is…and how very far from the ideals that you supposedly espouse! Zebntangle you have truly lost your way!

    annette hallett on

  • Aloha R&M, I’m so proud to be part of your wonderful CZT familia. Both of you and HQ are so generous in sharing Zentangle art method freely… the only thing I recall you ask of us CZTs is respect for your creation. Mahalo nui loa, Lydia

    Lydia on

  • Talk about missing the point! That is so sad… Rick and Maria have given our whole Zentangle family a gift that deeply enriches our lives. Ina seems to have grabbed the wrapping and missed the gift, and is displaying a poverty of spirit and integrity.

    No matter what actions are taken she has already lost.

    Jerryann Haggart CZT#12 on

  • Con’t – yes, frightened that somehow she would get away with this terrible injustice to you and to our community.
    Thank you for your promptness in addressing this issue and in the kind and gentle way you are known for. I know there will be a positive outcome soon. Meanwhile I am sending beautiful thoughts and blessings your way!

    Brenda Shaver Shahin on

  • Sometimes we wonder if justice comes to those that try to take from others to profit for themselves. I have learned that they actually suffer in the end. It may seem as though they get away with theft and numerous damages that harm others, but they will make mistakes that will trip themselves up. Not that you want to see them suffer, it just happens. Ina is placing herself in a position that will eventually catch up with her. I am sad to see anyone cause damages to people that have worked so hard to provide joy to others. I have benefitted so much from Zentangle and the people that are involved in bringing joy to others. I pray for Rick and Maria and the work they have done. It is a privilege to be a part of Zentangle and learn from them and others that have share there time and work with others.

    Sharon Wrench, CZT15 on

  • Dear Rick and Maria, I can not express enough how much you and the Zentangle crew all mean to me. The past six years, since finding Zentangle and becoming a CZT, have been amazing in so many ways, too many to list. I am indeed, very thankful that you followed your vision and shared it with the world. I am proud to be a CZT and honoured to share this amazing art form with students and friends.
    When I first became aware of how Ina was maligning the Zentangle method and CZTs, my first thought was this couldn’t be true. There had to be an explanation. After all Ina was part of our community. Little by little, I began to see all the ways she is manipulating and brainwashing people into believing that her program (or whatever she calls it) is better than the Zentangle method. I felt sick, disgusted and frightened that alternately

    Brenda Shaver Shahin CZT 8 on

  • I have seen many people trying to jump on the Zentangle bandwagon and make an extra buck. Unfortunately, that seems to be the way of the world today. While I agree whole-heartedly with all the comments here, I don’t want to stoop to Ina’s level. Rick, you approached her with the calmness and respect that you show everyone and although her response was ludicrous, it did not surprise me. I have forwarded the following email to Ina and hope that others will do the same to show the strength and unity of the Zentangle community around the world.


    I know you have put a lot of work into not only writing your books, but changing the website to try and make if a viable business for yourself.

    Unfortunately, not only have you stolen intellectual property but you have done so poorly, showing little respect for the true creative process. I sincerely hope that you back down from this very unfortunate position.

    No matter whether action is taken against you by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas or not, you will not succeed in this venture. It lacks truth, style, and generosity of spirit that has made Zentangle such a resounding success around the world.

    All you offer is a tedious, poorly written and poorly executed rip-off.

    Rick and Maria offer Zentangle freely. They allow their CZT’s great leeway to expand their own businesses. They encourage and share so much (as do many of their CZT’s) with the world in general through their newsletters, blogs and videos.

    Because of all their generosity, I have been able to learn and practice Zentangle without attending any programs. I would gladly pay for training if it were possible for me to do so, but it isn’t. And yet Rick and Maria and the entire Zentangle family have made it possible for me to find, enjoy and benefit from this wonderful Zentangle method. I personally share my knowledge of Zentangle with others in my life because I believe it can benefit them and I could no doubt teach a basic Zentangle class for my friends if I chose to do so. But I would never try to make any financial gain simply because it would be so fundamentally wrong.

    I truly hope you will see the error of your ways. Ultimately you are harming yourself and all those who join you in this endeavour.

    Claire Warrington on

  • Dear Rick and Maria,
    I have been truly frustrated and disgusted with all that has been happening with Ina Sonnenmoser’s actions and attitude toward what she has done, and I hope that you will take action to stop her.

    We seem to be living in a world where morals, decency and truth have been tossed aside, and that people in positions of [perceived] power can outright lie and pick and choose what “they” want to believe is true (e.g. “Fake News”). There seem to be few repercussions for those people who scam, cheat, lie and steal other’s property, intellectual or otherwise.

    Copying a trademarked process, whether it be in full or in part, and claiming it as their own in order to profit is ILLEGAL!! It is important to shut down the imposters in full, even if it means a fight in court. Although I like to believe that “Karma will bite back”, in the meantime, we have laws to protect us, and sometimes we have to stand up for those who understand and follow the true process. You have built too beautiful a concept to let it be led astray by those who don’t even understand how special it is!!

    Susie L. CZT 24

    Susie Levitsky on

  • I don’t usually expend much energy on things that are outside my control, but I have been sickened by what Ina is doing. Since first hearing of her certification program hardly a day has passed that my mind hasn’t wandered towards this. I can’t get my head around someone willfully stealing such a beautiful concept. It feels worse than stealing. It feels abusive. Disrespectful. It feels mean. Like taking a child’s puppy and then mistreating it. Shame on her. Rick and Maria: If we CZT’s can be of any help, let us know.

    Connie Bantz, CZT on

  • When I had a Polymer clay business, I was flattered when a woman purchased one of almost every ornament I made. Little did I know that the ornaments were sent overseas where they were copied (rather poorly) in resin. I later found out that a national arts and crafts chain sent their representative to purchase my creations. At the time, and quite honestly today, I was financially unable to pursue a lawsuit. I regret it to this day. Please consider legal action to nip this, as well as future plagiarists, immediately.

    Kathy Dudek on

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