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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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STORIES: Zentangle improves hand control and more after series of mini-strokes

In this occasional series on TanglePatterns, readers describe in their own words how Zentangle® has changed their lives. For more accounts in this series, click on the “STORIES” link in the alphabetical listing above.
Visit this post for the stories that inspired this series.

* * *

STORIES: How Zentangle changes lives“I  am 70 years old, trained as a sculptor , woodcarver and photographer and am now a textile artist.

About three years ago I had a series of mini-strokes that left me with some memory and speech problems and appalling handwriting, which had been good enough to draw compliments before.

Just over a year ago I was diagnosed with Spinal Stenosis in neck and lower back, and also have osteo-arthritis in my thumbs. This means that I am now ‘disabled,’ using a ‘walker’ (called Jenny because she makes me think  of the Spinning Jenny!) to get around.

Just before last Christmas I was in the middle of making a 25th wedding anniversary [gift] for friends, when I had my thumbs injected. But as often happens, the injections failed so that I was worse off then before, with that important piece of work unfinished, and unable to sew until I can have the next injections an a month’s time.

On top of all this, I have a trapped nerve in my right shoulder and both arms are affected by the stenosis.

So I was stuck unable to make art. I honestly can’t remember how I came upon Zentangles, but as a Christian recently embarked on the contemplative life, it looked promising!

Some days I tangle for hours, some not at all — I’m left handed, and I can hardly believe the improvement in hand control that I now have.

Because I have a constantly buzzing mind — ‘thanks Daddy, you didn’t have to pass that gene on to me’ — I can’t claim great healing in my thoughts, but my creativity levels are incredibly high, and my inner artist is so happy to be creating!!

Zentangle was made for someone like me, my parents both had visual imaginations, and my mother had a photographic memory, but sadly (I thought) I have neither. All my work, in  whatever medium (unless sitting in front of something I want to draw) just evolves.”

—  Judy Lisette Martin, UK

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I love to get new stories to share. If you would like to share your own experience for this series, please email me (linda [at] tanglepatterns [dot] com). You can make your story as long as or short as you like and if you wish your personal details to remain private, I will certainly honor that.

By publishing your “testimonials”, I’m hoping it will help spread the word about Zentangle to many others who can REALLY benefit from it. As the Zentangle founders say, “Anything is possible, one stroke at a time.”™


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3 comments to STORIES: Zentangle improves hand control and more after series of mini-strokes

  • Joyce

    I enjoy reading these stories, also, especially ones like Judy’s, as I have similar problems. Not as severe, thank goodness, but enough to make me also embrace the “contemplative life.” And Judy is right, in that when I don’t have the energy to do much at all, I always have the energy to sit and tangle, and that makes me happy, as I’m doing art.

    Good luck to you, Judy!!

    Linda, thank you for sharing her story with us.

  • Tracy Bayley

    Bless you Judy. Love stories such as these. I tell everyone i see about Zentangle and have even encouraged my childrens teachers to introduce it into their lessons. I find my son is a little calmer after sitting down for a time and ‘tangling’ (is this the proper word for it?). He is normally very fidgity but as he likes to draw and has a fantastic memory for patterns and numbers (maths is his forte’ and maths is all about patterns), i find that introducing some patterns to add to his repitoire, he can spend more ‘quiet time’ with a pencil.

  • What a beautiful story Judy, thank you for sharing with us. I am so glad you’ve found Zentangle® which in turn has improved your writing. Blessings xx

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