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When the Student Surpasses the Teacher

When the Student Surpasses the Teacher

It is the greatest achievement of a teacher to enable his students to surpass him.
- John G. Kemeny

We just recently hosted a fantastic online Seminar. For three intense days, we talk, we tangle, and we share as much as we possibly can with our students about the Zentangle Method. We go in depth about tangling techniques, philosophies and what it means to be a Certified Zentangle Teacher. Always at the end of our teacher training events, we are all filled with joy and gratitude and excitement as we welcome new teachers into our community of CZTs. It is wonderful to hear their stories and passion for the method. We also know that when we part ways at the end of CZT training, it is only the beginning of the new teacher’s journey. What will each of these inspiring artists bring to the method and where will it lead them?

It is hard to explain how proud we are of our CZT community. The way our worldwide group of CZTs shines is overwhelming. When Rick and Maria hosted the first CZT Seminar, I am not sure that they knew how it would grow. They certainly trusted the process and nurtured what it could be. As we look back over the years, we have so many memories of when we first met CZTs. We exchange stories, we talk about what we see them doing, how they are sharing the method. We watch, we admire, and we are consistently amazed by what our CZT community has done.

At CZT training we aim to give all the attendees the tools to launch and push themselves to learn from their experiences, to grow in their practice, and to inspire others. There is an old proverb that says, “The goal of the teacher is for the student to surpass the teacher.” We could not agree more. In so many instances, we learn from our CZT community. We watch in awe and see how they are leading the way. We see and hear beautiful passionate stories about how so many of them are inspiring minds and changing lives for the better. We cannot emphasize this enough, ZHQ has received so many emails of how practicing (and teaching) the method has had a positive impact, has truly made a difference in the quality of someone’s life, and it is because of these teachers, teaching all over the world, that it is possible.

To all our CZTs, we thank each one of you for all you do. To the CZTs who teach often and share openly and to those who share quietly and less often, we appreciate all of you. We know it takes all kinds and we are grateful for that. Thank you for being unique. We cherish all that you do as we grow and caretake the Zentangle Method.

Is there a particular CZT that has touched or inspired you that you want to give a shout out to? We will pick one commenter at random and send something special to you and your special CZT.

You can find a CZT in your area here.

Molly Hollibaugh


  • I’m late in seeing this blog, but I had to comment on the many CZTs who have inspired my journey. First of all, Pam Signorelli, who was my first and ongoing teacher. She has a gentle, encouraging voice that draws out the most timid artists. Annie Taylor saw me through the pandemic and beyond; she has a fun, playful approach. Anica Gabrovec has taught me so much, beyond the basics, about shading and highlights. She has an amazing hand and always brings new techniques to Tangle Lab. And finally, Joanna Quincey and Darcy Ellarby, who organized the first in-person Zentangle retreat I ever attended. It was a great experience and so much fun to tangle, in person, with other enthusiasts!

    Betsy Fernandez on

  • Heather Hartwick Gladden is quite an amazing CZT. The online classes she runs are delivered in a cheery, stress free and happy, unintimidating way. So much so that I am never trepidatious (is that a word!?) – the workshops are not teacher to participant, they are a wholly shared experience. And I leave each class feeling satisfied and at ease. Thank you Heather.

    Christine Anderson on

  • Shout out to my first CZT, Carol Dunn (retired), whose patience with an unruly class of irrepressible Senior tanglers in Montville, CT, was remarkable! She obviously spent many hours preparing her classroom presentations, and finding ways to spark our interest and creativity! Before Carol’s class, I attended a 2018 lecture by Rick and Maria at NMAI in Newport, RI. It was only about an hour, but I was mesmerized (still am). There were many CZTs at the lecture. They were all so friendly, encouraging, considerate, and supportive of each other, (as well as ignorant me), that I knew I wanted to join their amazing community. I finally became a CZT in Sept 2022. A few other influencers include my current CZT, Jamilah Zebarth; Anica Gabrovec (ZenLinea); and Nancy Domnauer (LineDotCalm). Not to mention all the tanglers who post and share their creations on YouTube, Etsy, Pinterest, and especially the Zentangle Mosaic! Thank you! I learn from all of you!❤

    Jessica L Dykes on

  • Shout out to Bev McCarthy, CZT, my first teacher. As a child I loved doing any kind of art with my mom who was a home artist. This love was passed on to my younger cousin Bev, who grew up to become a paid artist. She invited me to attend a class she was teaching, Zentangle! I later became a CZT. Thanks too, to all the CZTs of Zentangle HQ, Eva Wu CZT29, and all the Zentanglers who inspire me from around the world!

    Carol CZT19 on

  • Hi,
    I have to thank two Czts: Susanna Redaelli CZT 17 Tangleart Milano, who was my first teacher, but without the suggestion of a friend of mine, Fiorella, I would have never met her and known what Zentangle was. Susanna has “grown” let’s say, a good number of Italian CZTs. We are not many, but most of us are her students.
    The second one is Anna Maria Meinhardt, who accompanied a small group of German ladies and me to the CZTs Seminar in Frankfurt in 2020.
    Thanks to Zentangle I met and got to know a lot of wonderful people in the CZTs community, online during the pandemic and, after that period, in person at CZts Days or retreats and this is the real blessing I am grateful for. I found new friends and likely minded people and it opened me an entire new world.
    Thanks Rick and Maria for your gift of Zentangle.
    Lucia De Franco

    Lucia De Franco Czt Eu3 on

  • The Zentangle community offers an infinite pool of inspiration, with so many wonderful CZTs and tanglers.

    I might have not ever found Zentangle without Eni Oken. Maria Thomas was always and always will be an inspiration. I don’t know if I would have ever gotten the courage to step out as a teacher without Maria (elultimotangle). When I started tangling, I discovered Russian tanglers Natalie (arsenika.zen), who is sadly not as active any more, Victoria (melkotun), whose every drawing is a wonderful piece of art, and Elena (myflowerdream), an avid and amazing tangler that finally joined the CZT family.
    I love the style of Japanese tanglers and CZTs, especially the artistry and cheerful approach by Shie Naritomi.
    Today I admire so many tanglers and CZTs that it’s impossible to list them here. Being a student always feels like such a privilege. I always find something to learn from each of my teachers and students.

    However, Zentangle is so much more than artistry for me – it’s the connections and friendships that are growing stronger by the day. I’m mostly thankful to Zentangle Inc. for making all of these experiences possible.

    Anica on

  • I would like to give a special “Thank you” to Deborah Pace! She is a wonderful friend now all do to Zentangle. I was looking on the website for a CZT near me and found Deborah. I feel so lucky and honored to know Deborah. She is an amazing artist and teacher that is so willing to help others find inspiration. My Zentangle journey has truly been life changing for me and I owe it all to Deborah Pace. Thank you!

    Tina Merade Wilson on

  • After my first touches with Zentangle, I quickly went looking for a CZT course and was disappointed to find that there was no one in the region.
    Through Corona I had the opportunity to be taught online by Anna-Maria Meinhardt. At that time we were a nice group that regularly studied the method in depth.
    Four participants from it completed the certification together in Frankfurt in autumn 2020. Since Anna-Maria was there as a helper, we had the opportunity to see each other live for the first time.
    I like to think back to that time and even though some of our paths diverged again, many of us are still connected by the bond of friendship.
    Thank you for that!

    Claudia, CZT EU 3 on

  • I did the teacher training twice (CZT EU2 and EU5). It was the best decision in my life to start with Zentangle six years ago. Zentangle has been led me to a wonderful method for me and my students in my workshops. The feedback of my students is overwhelming. For my personal travel Zentangle has been took me to starting with another art work: watercolour and pastel painting. In all my artwork are the patterns we know. I would not had the confidence to do more then tangling without the philosophy of Zentangle: Stroke after stroke and there are no mistakes.

    Iris Eisenmann on

  • I would like to thank Ms.Beate Winkler CZT.

    Two and a half years ago, during the pandemic, I came across her book at the library. I still remember how impressed I was when I borrowed the book and tried to draw Zentangle for the first time. Then, 3 months later, I took the SEMINAR and became a CZT. And I am now sharing this fascination with people in Japan. And,
    That enthusiasm continues to this day.

    Mika Shiohara on

  • Thank you for the opportunity to remember wonderful creators, artists, teachers. Everyone influences us in one way or another. We get inspiration from someone, new skills, interesting techniques from someone. Some we know personally, others we know virtually thanks to the Internet. I would like to especially highlight Anica ZenLinea for instilling in me the confidence that I could become an CZT. Lyudmila from Latvia also for her help. Thomas Padros gives us all wonderful tangles. Together with Yulia Folkman we are developing Zentangle in Russia. With Katrina Thiebaut, I participated in her project and received a lot of support. There are many more teachers like us who inspire us. Thank you all!

    Elena Babayants CZT39 on

  • Good Grief, this will be a painful decision. There are so many. AMAZING CZT teachers who astound me with their gifts. I gravitate to Angie Gittles, Angelina Arcari, Jessica Davies, and Sonya Yencer. I cannot write this without lavishing credit on Sr. Ann Henkle for gifting me with the classes that inspired me to become a CZT.

    Clara A Brunk on

  • My shout out goes to my hugely artistic cousin, who started me on this journey and that I could believe in myself. She introduced me to Ridhi Rajpal who is now a CZT. From there on my excited exploration took me to the Zentangle inc family. Huge thank you Rick, Maria, Martha, Molly & Julie. It didn’t stop there… Everyday I find incredible artists to be inspired by. These were my favourites thus far but I know there are many more out there- Annie Reiser (Botangle), Kelli Blouin, Barbara Buford Langston, Sandhya Manne, Emily Suess, Tracy Anne Wilkinson, Zen Linea & The Tireless Tangler.

    Thank you to you all!!!!!

    Terry Foster on

  • Where to start?…. The CZT community is like no other artistic community I know of. I feel Rick and Maria set the tone and parameters for a kind and sharing community, that encourages growth, praise and support.

    Teachers that have inspired me: Maria Thomas, Margaret Bremner Lynn Mead, Thomas Padros, Anica Gabrovec, Midori and especially Eni Oken. All extremely talented yet willing to share their expertise, skills, talents and knowledge to inspire others to reach farther in their artistic journey.
    I thank all of them and every CZT who shares, and to Maria and Rick who set the tone of kindness and gratitude.

    Carmen Burgos on

  • Probably a few too many to name but these are the ones whose work inspired me from the moment in April I stumbled across Zentangle (thanks to Christian Franklin CZT who due to life changes and schedules I never got to work with) until this September when I became part of the CZT41 group.

    Kelli Blouin, Barbara Buford Langston, Sandhya Manne, Emily Suess, Tracy Anne Wilkinson, and recently Anica Gabrovec (Zen Linea) – all through their youtube channels.

    And of course last but by no means least, Molly, Martha, Rick and Maria who constantly inspire me and have laid the foundation not only for my learning with their great videos and Primer Vol 1 and the CZT course. They have my constant gratitude for their graciousness, creativity and wisdom in sharing this method with the world.

    Lynn Walton on

  • Shout out to Ellen Jampole. She encouraged me to do the czt training during covid. I’m a graduate of czt39 and plan on retaking another training in the future.

    Ellen Metzner on

  • Gisèle Tchinda (Jijihook) a été la première CZT avec qui j’ai pris des cours en 2018 et cette méthode fut une révélation pour moi!
    Jiji est une enseignante hors pair. Elle a une voix douce et relaxante et ses explications sont très claires. Merci infiniment Jiji.
    J’aime tellement cette méthode que je suis devenue CZT en octobre 2022 et j’adore l’enseigner moi aussi.

    Nathalie ANCTIL on

  • I was blessed to find Zentangle a year before I retired, and to become a CZT37 online thanks to Covid! I have enjoyed so many teachers, and find in general Zentangle teachers are some of the kindest people I know. I admire and appreciate Angie Gittles, CZT for her creativity and her generosity in bringing together other CZTs to teach innovative and fun classes. Of course everyone at Zentangle Inc. are my heroes!

    Ellen Weinman on

  • I would particularly like to say thank you to czt Kelli Blouin who has helped me to keep tangling with her 15 minutes of Zen videos. I am really grateful for being shown how to zentangle and for feeling free to explore adding colour to my Zentangles. Thank you.

    Natasha on

  • I would like to make a shout out to Trish Pelletier. She did some wonderful free classes during COVID that really helped me improve my skills and gave me something to look forward to. She had us trying different things that were related to Zentangle and even discovered a pattern that was wonderful (and a week later, someone else had it published what looked very much like Trish’s)! I still think of her when I see or use that pattern. We have remained friends even though she had to stop the classes. She is a wonderful person and teacher. I would also like to mention 3 others…Kelly Baron who shows many ways to do certain patterns, Melinda Barlow who made learning so easy to follow and Tomami Galliano (who now lives in Japan but still does occasional classes). There many more that I follow but these are the ones that really had a huge influence on me!

    Barbara Burgess on

  • I would like to thank Anica – Zen Linea – for all of the wonderful YouTube lessons that are free!! Right now, I am doing the Inktober Tangles with her and the are amazing! She explains things so clearly and the designs she creates are always remarkable! She is such an inspiration! Leaving a high pressured career to bring Zentangle creations to people from all over the world!! Thank you so much!!

    Jacquelyn Melin on

  • My shout-out goes to Pam Signorelli who was my first Zentangle teacher. A wonderful certified art educator, she added CZT to her qualifications with wonderful results for her students. I’ve learned so many different methods and uses of different techniques and materials, incorporating Zentangle patterns into them all. Second shout-out to Becky Boynton whose classes I take on-line since I’m in Michigan and she’s in Baltimore. Also an experienced teacher who anticipates learners’ needs and provides clear and patient guidance.

    Allison Lewis Friedman on

  • Reading through all of these testimonials, I am absolutely amazed that there is very little repetition! As Molly said, “there are those that teach often and openly,” and those that are a bit more quiet- I see names of those that continue to teach me new techniques, but I can’t go without mentioning Sue Schneider, whom I consider my mentor, whether she knows it or not. She continues to challenge me in her exploration of Art. She is currently on sabbatical and I can’t wait to see what she brings back to the community! Thank you also to the founders (and team) who continue to support this great exploration!

    Donna S on

  • My first lesson was with CZT Sandhya Manne. She inspired me so much that just after my first lesson I wished to become a CZT. Since then, Sandhya has always been there for all my queries regarding Zentangle. She was there for me to send a letter of acknowledgment for the visa but I still did not have the luck to attend the seminar offline. Nevertheless, I made it online. Just after becoming a CZT, Sandhya encouraged me to explore new methods and techniques like she does with the Zentangle Method. I can never thank her less for everything she has done to promote art in my life.

    I would take the opportunity to give a big Thank you to CZT Melinda Barlow, She has been amazing in her videos which had helped me learn a lot of focus tangles that were advance for me. I have loved all her videos.

    Thank You Sandhya and Melinda❤️❤️

    Neeti on

  • I would like to acknowledge my first instructor Audrey Markowitz, CZT. (Carson City, Nevada) Her enthusiasm, gentle teaching, constant encouragement, and considerable skill helped propel me forward in my Zentangle journey. I don’t start any Zentangle project without thinking – gosh, I wonder what Audrey will have to say. It’s her joy in this delightful art form that has led me to discover mine!

    Liz Strekal on

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