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Tile Graveyard

Tile Graveyard

Julie writes...

Even though we know that there are “no mistakes” when it comes to the Zentangle Method, there are sometimes when we are just not happy with how things are going. One day I was sitting at my desk at work tangling when I was having one of those days. I started a tile and next thing I knew it was going in a direction that was not pleasing to my eye. I got frustrated with myself and tossed the tile in the trashcan next to my desk.

Molly happened to walk in the room at that moment and watched me throw the tile away. She walked over, picked the tile out of the waste bin and put it back on my desk, scolding me (in a loving way, of course) for doing such a thing!Since that day, I have not thrown away a tile that I am not happy with. But that just means instead of finding their demise in the trash can, they go to a box on my desk that I have affectionately named my “Tile Graveyard,” and it is full of half-finished tiles that I deemed unworthy of finishing.

Until now.

A few weeks ago, I was looking for a blank tile to tangle on and couldn’t find one (imagine that… I couldn’t find a blank Zentangle tile at ZHQ!), but I did have quite a few unfinished tiles in the “Tile Graveyard”. I started rifling through them a bit. Instead of a graveyard full of mistakes and mishaps, I found opportunities. I began working on some of those tiles again in an effort to resurrect them. Looking at them, I wondered, what about them I didn’t like before? Which stroke was the one that caused me to put my pen down? There were times that I picked up a tile to finish, only to realize that it was perfect just the way it was.

Sometimes all you need is to walk away from a tile (or a situation) that you are frustrated or unhappy with, take a deep breath, and return with fresh eyes and a new perspective to see the possibilities.

What you once thought was trash may in fact be treasure.


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Julie Willand


  • I find tiles I’ve started, everywhere! They do take on a new perspective with time. Also, it’s fun to open an art box or drawer and find a tile that needs a new life!

    MKay B B Watson CZT17 on

  • I have one of those…I call it my “7/11” box.
    There are no mistakes, right? So you try to turn what you think are mistakes into opportunities.
    There are 7 letters in the word ‘mistake’ and 11 letters in ‘opportunity’ . . . hence, 7/11 box 🙃

    Carol Graham on

  • I used to keep them in a drawer too. All those unfinished tiles deemed inadequate. Now, since all my drawers are full, I started sticking half finished projects, to my walls. Now I can see them and feel inspired, plus it fills up wall space. 😁 isn’t it funny how we can be so negative about something, then later wonder what the heck we didn’t like!? It’s something I talk about to all my students. How perfection is unattainable, Bc our perspective is constantly shifting. What’s perfect this year isn’t next or vice versa. So, we strive to get “more better” rather than perfection. Practice makes perfect is not a saying I like to promote. Practice makes more better is much easier to live up to.

    Amanda on

  • Hi Julie,

    I currently have some “unfinished” tiles on my desk !! When working on a project (for example, our Spinner), I go away for a while, come back (maybe the next day !) and everything looks fresh !! I also use unfinished tiles to try new embellishments on…

    Confession !! I have tossed a few …I admit, I did feel a bit sad when I did that …. !!


    Sharon Jerkovic on

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