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Tangle Talk

Tangle Talk

Rick writes:

Maria was tangling at her desk, as she so often does, whether in the middle of the day or the middle of the night. She was noodling lines into perhaps a new tangle . She showed it to me and I liked how the over and under developed. "This will be a fun one to shade," I said.

Maria checked with Linda Farmer, CZT, at to learn if there was something else like it. And the report came back that there wasn't.

Maria used for a basic component, an open heart (hmm, nice imagery). I also love how it appears like that releasable stitch that is atop those large bags of basmati rice!

As I looked at it, I began to see a repeating elemental "S" curve. Oooh, if I use that, then I can make the center have some thickness and I came up with this,

We were both feeling quite pleased that we had something fun and new to show at the upcoming zenAgain CZT reunion this fall.

Then Molly saw my tile and said, "Oh, I think Tomas Padros did something like that." Sure enough . . .

Well, similar maybe, but not a row. But wait, what does Tomas mean, "Inspired by elfin?" Time to look up elfin.

Ah, that's exactly what I tangled.

Shout out to HElena for elven!

So, what to learn from all this? Well, a few things.

One, is to check out Tomás Padrós and HElena's awesome step-outs. 

Another, always be on the lookout for new tangles, whatever the inner or outer inspiration.

And another, there can be more than one way to tangle the same tangle. I like to watch a pattern with a soft focus to see what elemental strokes present themselves. Then I muse how to arrange a stepout in the simplest way with the fewest elements and the fewest steps.

And last (for now), there are no "official tangles," at least not from our perspective. Patterns are an aspect of creation. To notice them and to take inspiration from them and then play with them in a way that only you can . . . that is one of the gifts of the Zentangle Method. We never look at a particular pattern, or tangle, or step-out except to marvel at its beauty and its possibilities. And, of course, to look forward to what others will do with it that never occurred to us and . . . to have fun with all this. 

What did you learn from this story?


Rick Roberts


  • We’re creatures to create & to collaborate.

    Evy Browning on

  • Sooo many possibilities.🤔 And what fun. Thank you for this discussion.

    Leah Gasser on

  • The Zentangle Method is a process art. Different processes can create the same pattern and the same process can create different patterns as in results of our explorations with a single pattern.

    Georgi K on

  • There is always more than one way to skin a cat…or draw a tangle.

    Terri Young, CZT 16 on

  • I learned that Rick’s philosophy is the same as mine…tangles are simply a starting point in your own personal journey to creativity. Don’t be afraid to improvise and experiment with your tangling. Let your imagination run wild! You might be amazed at what you can do!

    Jessica Dykes (akaJake) on

  • Beautiful. I will now explore the new step-out. I always love a new way to adapt a tangle.

    Lynda Moore on

  • I learned being receptive to many pathways can be fun.

    Jackie on

  • I learned Maria should check with Molly first! LOL :-)

    Elena Hadzijaneva (HElena) has quite a few lovely tangles on the site, they can be found with the tag elenah. I’ve had this in my archives since she posted it on flickr in August (!) 2012 but haven’t added it to TanglePatterns … looks like I should!

    Linda F on

  • I learned that while there is more than one way to tangle a tangle, there is also more than one way to deconstruct & create a step-out.

    While HElenas tangle is obviously the same, I believe Maria’s step-out looks a bit easier to reproduce. It’s not one I’ve used before, but I look forward to trying it now! 🤗

    ~Jan~ SailAndBeJoyful on

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