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What is Zentangle?
Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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STORIES: Zentangle helps 80-year-old get through difficult times that come with life

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 an almost 80 year old, devotee of Zentangle. I have three large albums of my drawings that  it has  inspired.

My slight right hand tremor has presented a challenge. When I go ‘off plan’ I am faced with having to be creative and change my pattern or begin a new one. If I used the Bronx Cheer, my work would be covered with them. 🙂 .

I signed up for a ‘meet-up’ to use fine point Sharpies (surgical gloves keep hands from being stained by them) on pumpkins using Zentangle inspiration.

It was cancelled, but those pumpkins at the market just kept calling out to me so…..

Nancy's pumpkins

“This is a grouping of 3 I am keeping, hoping they will last until Thanksgiving.”

I gave away the white ones I did—very spooky! No pencil strings work so I had to keep one step ahead each time I put the pen to the pumpkin.

Nancy's pumpkin

“The scalloped ones are more limiting in which patterns work well and don’t allow much ‘free flow’. I prefer working on the smooth ones.”

AND through many of those difficult times that come with life — loss, age-related physical conditions and the sometime resulting depression, my crafting has helped me get through.

BUT nothing has done for me in both the daily and age related challenges like Zentangle. I have never been able to concentrate enough to meditate — busy mind going all the time, until Zentangle which I have been ‘practicing’ for about 3 years.

For me it is Meditation!”

~ Nancy L

* * *

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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25 comments to STORIES: Zentangle helps 80-year-old get through difficult times that come with life

  • Barbara

    My hat is off to this tangler! I don’t know her but I am proud of her!!

  • Phyllis

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story, Nancy. I admire your work and patience with each project. You are an inspiration to all.

  • Nancy L – tis Nancy B replying to your post….
    Good clean fun crafty people are named Nancy (grin)!

    I appreciate your story regarding Zentangle, as I just turned 70 (eek!) and keep thinking like I was 35! Often finding I don’t have the stamina anymore for most physical stuff, nor the desire to do all the things I have done in the past (many crafts).

    I began Zentangle, collecting patterns, organizing them into my Moleskin notebooks, and drawing them – much to my surprise I could do this kind of art! You’ve encouraged me to get back into ‘practicing this artform’ if for no other reason than to enjoy some quiet time for myself.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope you continue making beautiful things – as your pumpkins definitely are!
    Nancy Barnhart

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. Very inspiring!

  • Nancy L., Thank you for your inspiring story and beautiful pumpkins. I, too, tangle live pumpkins. I especially like those that have the free from strings. I find the natural string of pumpkin sections too confining. And, I, too, do not like the white ones.

    Your pumpkins will keep for a very long time if you can leave them outdoors (in a cooler climate). I live in the Midwest in the USA, so this is not a problem in the fall.

    I use the Identi pen as it slides less than the Sharpie, and if you haven’t tried it yet, you might like a white gel pen for highlights.

  • Dorothy Allison

    How wonderfully inspirational. Thank you for sharing Linda.

  • Lynda Myers

    I love this story and find it truly awesome.

  • Frances Watts

    I am about to embark on a series of Zentangle classes for our Community Health Service, as I felt sure they would be of benefit to the elderly and infirm members.
    Now, having read this uplifting story, I am SURE of it and I will be showing my students just what can be done, regardless of age or steadiness of hand (or lack thereof).
    Thank you so much!

  • Mary Tilley

    I, too, am a devotee of Zentangles! I am semi-retired (65), and while I was surfing the net one day in 2013, I found some artwork on the Web called Zentangles. I also contacted a CZT in the city I was living in at the time. Since that first introductory Zentangle class, I’ve been tangling! I take my little sketch-pad with me, and draw while waiting at the Doctor’s, hospital waiting-room, or anywhere I happen to be and have time to be creative. Always, others also waiting with me will ask what I am drawing, and I am more than happy n willing to share the Zentangle way of drawing. It is so relaxing for me and all I need is my sketch-pad, pen and time! My inspiration is the Zentangle art on the web. Tangle on, Nancy L., have fun!!

  • DeniseC

    An excellent and inspirational story. Thank you for sharing,.

  • TheWisenedCrone

    this is MOST inspiring!!

  • Wendi

    NANCY….Your story shows me that “old” is never too “old” I am 76(almost 77) and just started this fascinating art form. I am NOT an artist, yet I can do it! I am also so happy to see your last statement about “the busy mind”, I’ve had a hard time slowing my mind down and an hoping this will help me to do so. This aging is so hard….I think Zentangles will help me adjust….I’ve shared this technique with several friends and it has been embraced by most, if not for them, then for their family members…’s fun!

  • Sarah Christian

    I think it is wonderful that you have found and enjoy Zentangle so much. I can truly relate. I have recently discovered this and can already see that things are better. I do it every night when me and my pets tuck in. It is such a positive experience, and I try and learn something new every day. Thank y0u for sharing your wonderful story. At 72, this has come along at a veery needy time in my life.and it is such a positive and rewarding thing.

  • Dorothy Rahn

    I appreciate your article on the 80 yr old, Nancy. Thanks Nancy for sharing. Age makes no difference. I have a 92 year old Mother that has continued her crafting, crochet, until recently when she was hospitalized. She hopes to return soon. Nancy, your work is awesome. I commend you for keeping yourself busy and sharing your beautiful work. You are an inspiration to all ages. Keep on tangling!!!!

  • Sue

    What a great story.Learning Zentangle helping me lot with my Parkinson.

  • Sharon Wrench,CZT 15

    Thank you Nancy for sharing your story. Zentangle certainly does help. My daughter has cancer and sometimes the pain is overwhelming for her. Yesterday she worked all day on a Zentangle and it helped her tremendously. While she cannot do this every day, when she does she seems so uplifted. I find it keeps my mind on my work and not on her pain. While I pray for her, Zentangle is a place I can take my focus off of ‘worrying. I am 70, but I do not think it is an age thing at all. My daughter is 43 and it works for her too. I very much appreciate your story.

  • Ann Filiatreau

    Nancy, your story is inspiring. I am in my 70s and use Zentangle as part of my daily meditation. I too have found tangling pumpkins an expressive creative project. I sprayed my Thanksgiving pumpkins silver and gold and. tangled them for Christmas outside my front door. A bowl full of small ones sits on my dining room table with a sprinkle of tiny ornaments, instant centerpiece. I use a sharpie. Keep tangling! It is good for mind and body…my handwriting has improved since I started tangling a year ago. Again, thanks for sharing.

  • Kimberly

    What a wonderful story! Nancy, those pumpkins look awesome!

  • Olivia

    Lovely idea! I’m totally inspired. Thank you, Nancy, for the great idea. Hugs!

  • Very nice, inspiring, emotional story, it touched me very much!

  • joyce

    Being just a few days away from turning 69, it does my heart a world of good to read Nancy’s story. Zentangle is something that I’ll still be able to do if my legs and hips give out on me. Right now I’m still mobile, only have to use a cane, not a walker yet, nor a wheelchair. Fact remains, tho, I’m usually in a bit of pain, and walking is a problem. Zentangle, OTOH, isn’t, it’s something I can do any time, anywhere.

    Yup, I appreciate your story, Nancy, thank you for sharing!!

  • Nan Seefeldt

    Nancy, you are awesome and inspiring! Your pumpkins are beautiful!

  • Gritlein

    What a lovely story and what a lovely work you do ! I’m only 71 and I discovered Zentangle art only 6 month ago . Since that I cannot stop drawing and learning . It is a lovely time to do !
    Greetings from France

  • Trish Cassen

    I love the pumpkins and I think its wonderful that you’re doing your art. Thank you for sharing. I wish more people could see the benefits of this process.

  • Susan Sauter

    Such an inspiring story; I too find “Zen”tangle works as meditation and love it! Love your pumpkins! Keep it coming!

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