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Linda Farmer, Certified Zentangle Teacher


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Tangle Refresher 121 – And “Why write? Penmanship for the 21st Century”

PenmanshipAs we often point out, each person’s Zentangle® style is as unique as their handwriting.

But what of the future of handwriting itself?

With many thanks to New Hampshire CZT Bette Abdu for the heads up, today we share a thought-provoking video about the future of writing in the digital age and why penmanship does matter.

First a definition from Wikipedia:

Penmanship is the technique of writing with the hand using a writing instrument. Today, this is most commonly done with a pen, or pencil, but throughout history has included many different implements. The various generic and formal historical styles of writing are called “hands” whilst an individual’s style of penmanship is referred to as “handwriting”.

In this 16-minute video, “Master Penman Jake Weidmann explores the connections between the pen and how we learn, think, and carry our cultural heritage at a time when the very act of writing is being dropped from school curricula across the country.

According to Jake, 41 of the 50 United States no longer require handwriting to be a fundamental part of the curriculum. A very sorry statement indeed. {I wonder, should art teachers incorporate handwriting into their lesson plans?}

At 7:20 in the video Jake talks about the Cognitive Psychology course he took in which they studied how handwriting helps develop the brain, and he explains how this takes place.

Whatever you do, don’t miss Jake’s continuous-line portrait of Christ at 15:07 — it is jaw-dropping and beautiful.

As dedicated tanglers, I’m sure we’d all agree with his assertion that a simple pen has shaped the way we live.

Jake Weidmann became the youngest person to receive his Master Penman certificate in July 2011. He works across several mediums including drawing in pencil and charcoal; pen and ink; painting in acrylic, airbrush, oil and gouache; sculpting in wood, bone, antler and clay; and is versed in numerous forms of calligraphy. He is best known for the integration of flourishing and hand-lettering in his art. Jake also designs his own hand-made pens. He, like his pens, travels the globe, reintroducing this Old World art form and cultivating its relevance in the world of today, of tomorrow, and forevermore.

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized, Subject to certain rules and regulations.”

Thanks Bette!

* * *

The Tangle Refresher series, aka Buried Treasure, spotlights hidden tangle gems from the past. It can remind you of tangles you might not have used for a while or introduce you to some you haven’t come across yet.

Here are five more tangle pattern gems and a Tangle Refresher from a year (or two) ago for your tangling pleasure. Remember to check out the “More Good Stuff” links below too.

As you enjoy these tangles please do leave a comment of thanks and encouragement to show the artists you appreciate them for sharing their creativity for you to enjoy. And please share a link to your favorite tangles with your followers on all your social media.

Zenful tangling!

Buried Treasure from a year ago
Zentangle pattern: Fracas Fracas
Zentangle pattern: Minline Minline
Zentangle pattern: Steps Steps
Zentangle pattern: Whirlee Whirlee
Zentangle pattern: Skwirl Skwirl
Revisit the Tangle Refresher from a year ago Tangle Refresher 93

More good stuff …


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6 comments to Tangle Refresher 121 – And “Why write? Penmanship for the 21st Century”

  • What a fantastic video! I have always loved penmanship (though I wasn’t always good at it) and it makes me fearful that my future children wouldn’t learn it in school. They’ll have me to teach them, though, whether they like it or not. 😉 Thanks for sharing Linda and Bette!

  • Indeed, such a treasure! Thanks for sharing this provocative video . There are numerous studies showing the importance of the hand writing and mind development process. I am saddened with the losses to come, as well as immediate loss when education devalues handwriting.

    When I taught art in a small private school, many parents voiced concerns about their students not writing in cursive. I brought this to the attention of the Headmaster, who responded, “they don’t need cursive, keyboarding is the future.” There are ways around that kind of thinking. I chose to teach Zentangle…I would welcome Robert and Maria looking further into these vital aspects of Zentangle.

  • Melena

    Linda, thank you so much for this amazing video. Makes me want to practice making my penmanship much better. My Mom always says she thinks I have beautiful handwriting. Well, at least pretty and very legible. Well, it probably was until I went to college and had to start writing very fast – turned into a scribble of sorts. But since I started with Zentangle my handwriting has gotten better. 😀

    I’d heard that the schools aren’t teaching cursive writing any more. This video just drove that point home. Now I’ve got to go talk to all my teacher friends and let them know too.

  • Rosemary Turpin

    As a one-time calligrapher and one raised while handwriting was still in its heydey, I realize the importance of what Jake Weidmann is saying. I also know the truth of his words on note-taking at school – I took copious notes during classes, which I attended faithfully, but rarely looked at them again – and I passed all my exams with a minimum of studying – so it must have been the note-taking that made the difference!

  • Donna Lamoureux

    The same was true for me also. If I wrote it I remembered it!

  • Joyce Blodgett

    I love to write, have loved it since I was a little girl. I very much like calligraphy, though I’ve not learned it myself, and now, with extensive nerve damage to my dominant hand, likely won’t attempt to learn it. However, I intend to continue writing all the poems (not ones I’d ever seek to publish, just for my own enjoyment), Bible passages, fantasy stories, and the far more mundane lists needed and will work on improving my handwriting daily.
    I just wish I could have helped my severely dyslexic son when he simply could not read, and “hated” it because he couldn’t make heads or tails of anything. Instead, I wrote many, many stories in which he was the hero, and then would read them to him in a multitude of voices, one for each character.
    He died 15 years ago, so I no longer write any of those stories, but maybe I should, even if only for me to remember the little boy…

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