Sunday, February 12, 2012

It's Addictive: An Interview with Linda Farmer--and Your Chance to Win!




Note: As many of you know, I love Zentangle! So I asked an expert to explain some of the appeal. The tangle above was done by Linda Farmer. One lucky commenter will win a copy of AlphaTangle: A Truly Tangled Alphabet by Sandy Steen Bartholomew--so please, don't be shy!

1. How did you get involved with Zentangle®? What about it is so appealing to you?

I’m not quite sure how I became involved with Zentangle® because it was a few years ago and I wasn’t “into it” at the time. However, I suspect it was my interest in teaching myself calligraphy that led me to Zentangle through Maria Thomas’ website (http://mariathomasonline.com). Maria is probably the top lettering artist in the world - her work is unique, elegant and simply exquisite. She has set many trends in the lettering arts and together with her partner, Rick Roberts, created the Zentangle art form and method (http://zentangle.com/).

One of my favorite art forms is Persian miniatures so the size and beauty of Zentangle instantly appealed to me. I subscribed to Rick and Maria’s occasional newsletters and loved what I saw. For a couple of years Zentangle remained interesting eye candy for me through the newsletters as I pursued calligraphy and varied interests in art. I collected all kinds of art “how to” books and also taught myself about things like color theory and watercolor in my spare time. That was my outlet from my daily life as a business writer and computer geek in our public relations and marketing business.

For Christmas in 2009 my Mom sent me some money and I debated for some time what art supplies I wanted to get with her gift, finally deciding to order an Official Zentangle Kit.

I received my Official Kit  and its instructional DVD with Maria demonstrating the Zentangle process and showing how to draw several of the official tangles. That has turned out to be an amazing life-long gift from my Mom.

I’d never really drawn a lot before, but just as they say, anyone can do this “one stroke at a time”. I was astonished and thrilled at what I was able to create and that was it. I was hooked. As everyone who has tried it will tell you, it’s addictive.

2. On your blog, you have compiled the largest “glossary” of tangles that I’ve ever seen. What inspired you to do that?

I began collecting more tangle patterns and links to the instructions for all the ones I could find online. I’ve always been obsessed with organizing information – must have been a librarian in a former life. After a short while my database index had grown to quite a size so I figured it might be useful for others too. That was when I decided to share it by starting TanglePatterns.com and I launched the site at the beginning of May in 2010.

It’s interesting for me to see my development from my early drawings when I hadn’t had much experience. You definitely get better with practice as your fine motor skills become more honed.

I wasn’t a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT®) then, however it was my mission for my site to remain as true to the founders’ intentions as possible because I didn’t want to dilute this beautiful art form. I had seen very misleading videos on YouTube purporting to demonstrate Zentangle, and from studying the Kit and the Zentangle site I knew the videos were wrong. I didn’t want to make that mistake on TanglePatterns.

When I attended the certification seminar last October, I was relieved to learn I wasn’t mistaken about the YouTube videos. When you’re only going on what you find on the internet, it can be dicey to be sure you’re publishing accurate information.

3. How is "tangling" different from "doodling"? How do tangles get names? How do people submit tangles to you? What form does that take? (I’m trying to get at the process here.)

People submit patterns to me by email following the instructions on my “Submit Your Pattern” page where I also provide a form for them to use if they choose. However, the majority of the tangles on TanglePatterns are a result of my time sleuthing and tracking down patterns to add to the site. I look at every pattern I can find online to see if they qualify for the site. Tangles have pretty specific criteria related to the meditative aspects of Zentangle.

The idea behind Zentangle and its method is that it is specifically designed to eliminate left brain decision-making and shift one’s consciousness to the right brain, intuitive side. The shift to the meditative state happens as you become totally focused on each deliberate stroke of the pattern-making. For want of a better way to describe it, the Zentangle method short-circuits your monkey-mind. The outcome “unfolds one stroke at a time”.

One of the main characteristics of tangles is they are abstract designs. Generally speaking, if a pattern is an attempt to recreate “some thing” then it is a doodle not a tangle. There are many doodles mistakenly labeled as tangles online. Drawing something recognizable engages the thinking part of your brain and that’s not Zentangle. It’s easy to confuse the outcome of Zentangle with doodling, but they are quite different processes.

As far as names go, the person who creates the pattern names it and names can be based on anything, or no-thing. There are no “rules”. When I created my first tangles, I named them after wine varietals because I was enjoying a nice Zinfandel when my first one, Zin, “appeared”. Rick and Maria are very playful about naming their tangles. For example, Cadent is a combination of canine and dental, because the tangle reminded them of houndstooth. Hurry is named after a rush-woven chair.

5. When you aren’t working on your blog or tangling, what do you enjoy doing?

My husband Robert and I have lived in Florida for almost 30 years, most of that in South Florida but more recently in Northeast Florida (St. Augustine). We’re big Miami Heat basketball fans and we also love college football and the Miami Hurricanes. We enjoy dining at home, listening to music (mostly jazz), watching movies and sports, and reading.

When I was a very young teenager, my family lived in the Middle East and I spent two delightful years with my nose buried in mystery books – Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayers, Marjorie Allingham, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Rex Stout … I’m what they call a vertical reader – I like to start at the beginning of an author’s bibliography and read chronologically. I remain an avid mystery reader to this day and right now I’m working my way through Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch series.

One of my favorite websites is http://stopyourekillingme.com – the cataloging they do with mystery books, I do on a much more modest scale with tangles on TanglePatterns.com.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to be a guest on your delightful blog! You have a new subscriber.

**

Linda, we're delighted to have you! Thanks for the many hours of tangling fun you've provided us!
**The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and is copyrighted. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at zentangle.com.

53 comments:

Victoria's Place said...

Great interview, thank you! I am so interested in Zentangle!

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

I've been watching the blog of a local Zentangle artist and teacher for almost a year now. I haven't yet dipped my toe in, but I'm very attracted to the meditative aspect of the practice! Thanks for sharing your insight!

Terry Parrish said...

Well, I am definitely going on Zentangles.com to see what all its about. And I'd like to see a lot more designs. Thanks for the blog post. It really was interesting. And by the way, Linda, I do the same when reading books. I like to start with the first one, first!

KarenB said...

Very interesting interview. I now know that I have a lot to learn and Linda's site is a great education for anyone.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that Zentangle is very relaxing and yes very addicting! I can't draw, so I was hesitant at first to give Zentangle a try, but once I did, I was totally hooked!!!! Linda has put together a very informative and excellent website describing Zentangle and the different patterns. I really like how the patterns are broken down into steps which makes it much easier to do. Thank you Linda for a wonderful website on Zentangle! Teresa Tardy

Katreader said...

I've experimented with Zen Doodling, but I've never tried Zentangles. Thanks for helping to explain the difference. I also love Stopyourekillingme.com

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Wow, just sleep in a little late one Monday morning and looky, looky--all these lovely comments. Thanks so much to Linda for taking the time to join us!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I think one thing I'm learning from Zentangle is to be in the moment. Sometimes I find myself hurrying through a design, and then I'll realize that I'm cheating myself. See, we do these leisure arts to relax, but we get in the habit of moving too fast, so Zentangle offers a great opportunity to slo=ow down.

Jakki said...

Interesting interview - thank you! I am new to Zentangle and Linda's website was one of the first I found and one I refer to often. I've tried to tell people what it is that draws me to Zentangle - this will help me explain!

loscann said...

Great interview! I too read books "vertically" and love organinzing my Tangles!

Aurelia said...

What a nice interview. I've also been contemplating getting started with Zentangles for a while now but just haven't gotten the starter kit or taken a class yet.

Cindy Blevins said...

I am new to Zentangle. I have the official kit (and just ordered additional supplies.) Also..I have Linda's eBook of patterns...and it is amazing. Thank you for this informative interview. I am one of those who have been watching youtube thinking "what? this doesn't "zentangle it" for me :-). I am glad to know it isn't just me trying to separate the "real" zentangle from the rest!

molly z. said...

great interview with Linda, I love her site. It is so helpful in finding new tangles. molly z.

roland said...

Thanks for the great article. I am attending the training next week in Maine. I am looking forward to furthering my Zentangle connections. I am a PhD student studying Literacy Education, I plan to use Zentangle as a way for teachers, parents and students to use their natural sense of curiosity to relax, connect and create their way through literacy.

susan said...

A year ago, searching to jump start any artistic talent I had hidden away, I signed up for an online paper flower making class! Fortunately a fellow student posted a note that she was taking a break from Zentangle! I googled it, and found Linda's website! Forgetting about the class I signed up for, I spent hours studying the contents. My first tangle looked great! I was hooked. Not a day goes by without tangles of some sort! If you haven't tried it, don;t waste another moment! It has changed my life, one stroke at a time! Thanks Linda!

Ginny said...

I'm a Certified Zentangle Teacher, and when I teach a class, I only give my students Maria and Rick's Zentangle site and Linda's Tanglepatterns site as resources. I know that the patterns they show truly embrace Zentangle, and other blogs/sites mentioned there will too.

Linda, I'm so glad you're organized for the rest of us!

Ginny

Anonymous said...

This really is an art form by itself. Fascinating to look at and learn how to do. Thanks to everyone who shares this so that we may learn. Marti L

crotnem said...

Loved the interview myself! I love Zentangle and all the aspects of it.

SueK said...

Linda's work of the tanglepattern site has been a fabulous resource for thousands! Zentangle Kit was a Christmas gift to myself after spending some hours using Linda, Susan, and Suzanne's sites. The flicker resources are inspiring. My Carole O. Z. calendar has become a journal of gratitude, life observations and of new life skills as I recover strength from 4 major surgeries. My tangles are often post cards I send to friends to share support. My first Zentangle workshop is with Sandy Bartholomew in March. Zentangle: centering, medittive, creative, fun, gifts to share, quiet moments and ahhs and laughter. Linda Farmer, Rick and Maria and the Z. artisits ` my thanks!

mollie bryan said...

Fascinating. I'll check it out. I've been admiring those e-book covers of yours, Joanna. Those are Zentangle, right?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Yes, Mollie, I've been tangling my covers for my Kiki Lowenstein short stories--and loving the results. Also, I've included some of my own tangles in the books, with the hope that they'll inspire others to give it a go!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Roland, I'm attending the training next week, too, but I'm going to Rhode Island. You're going to Maine?

Jane said...

Super helpful interview, thank you! And so nice for Linda to get recognition for the amazing work that Tangle Patterns represents.

Unknown said...

Great interview! I am so interested in the meditative aspect of Zentangle and have been skeptical of some sites that don't seem to mention this part of the art. I was happy to hear this mentioned in the interview.

erblair said...

I found Zentangles about 6-7 months ago. I used them to make some Christmas ornaments, and now I have to find a way to organize my stuff. I started with a small notebook to record some tangles and how to draw them - but I've out-grown it! Thanks so much for the TanglePatterns website! It's a great resource.

DonnaD said...

Great Interview, I fell in love with Zentangle and my hope is to earn enough money to attend a certification. I have been an avid follower of Linda's this past year and really enjoyed the interview!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Wow! Stay tuned, everyone. I'll start posting more about the world of Zentangle as time goes on. Now that I know how interested all of you are--the sky's the limit! So why not join us as a follower?

Heather Victoria Held said...

Great interview!!!! It truly is a wonderful artform.

JulieM said...

I'm intrigued by right brain exercise activities. I find that tangling really does help shut out the left brain. I wonder whether Linda listens to classical and alternative (right brain) music while tangling. I particularly enjoy native American flute music while tangling.

ArtfromtheHeart1951 said...

What an inspirational interview! I, too, find Zentangles addictive, and have been adding them to almost every kind of art I do....I even decorated a plastic pumpkin with Zentangles this last Halloween, and everyone loved it! Can hardly wait to read your books on my new Kindle!

Maya said...

I love Zentangle! Each time I take the time to read about it I learn something new or am reminded of something I knew but have let drop off my radar.
I just put "Ink, Red, Dead" on my must read list too!
Thanks you for this interview post.

Shelly Beauch said...

With delight I sat next to Linda at the Certified Zentangle Teacher Seminar in Providence. We have become great mates, she is so very generous with her time and ideas. Zentangle is the best addiction!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the interview with Linda Farmer. I came across her website about 8 months ago and have been tangling ever since. Her site is so informative and inspiring. I didn't know she loves mystery stories though. So do I! And I read them all in order just like she does. Getting to know the people behind the blog is great.
There are not any CZT's here in my state in Australia, so I rely on the www to get information. I haven't been able to find any books here either yet, but will keep looking.
Mary

Claudia said...

Thanks for a great interview with Linda. I found her site after finding Rick and Maria's site about 2 years ago. All this after having "discovered" Zentangles in an issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors.

I'm a self-taught tangler. Love, and am constantly amazed at, the beauty that comes from doing repetitive motions. Doing Zentangles has allowed me to branch out into other art forms. Would love to become a CZT, but thus far haven't managed to save the dollars for it. Think I'll sign up for your blog. Again, thanks for the interview.

Linda Farmer said...

Wow is right! Thanks so much for the wonderful comments everyone. Glad you've enjoyed the interview, it was fun to do and to discover that Joanna is also a HEAT fan :-) For all those who just found Zentangle today, WELCOME!!

sosarahsew said...

What great information. I have been intrigued with the Zentang;es I've seen on various sited, but did not realize it is to be intuitive (rather than the planned doodles). I think spending time with this would be both relaxing and help me with quilting. Thanks!

Janet said...

Linda is a fantastic boon to the world of Zentanglers. Her website honors the originators of Zentangle and also provides a service to newbies and old hands. Zentangle has improved my memory, focus and concentration. Since I was not in a position to take a class, I ordered the beginner kit and then depended on Linda's site to help me develop my skills. I will be forever grateful to her and plan to be a CZT soon.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Whooo-hooooo! I love it! Who knew that tangles were so hot????? (Okay, I kinda did, but still...) Linda, you rock! Okay, I'll DEFINITELY be doing more stuff about tangling. Next week I'm going to Providence, RI, to get certified, so I'll tell all of you about my experience. Meanwhile...TANGLE ON!

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

DonnaD, send me your postal address--you won the book by Sandi Bartholomew. Send it to me at joannaslan@aol.com

And I hope to see all of you tomorrow at the Valentine's Day part at my Facebook page http://www.Facebook.com/JoannaCampbellSlan.com where we'll be giving away copies of our mysteries--and CHOCOLATE!!!! The party starts at 9 p.m. EST.

And yes, Linda, go HEAT!!!

Catherine said...

Wonderful article with Linda, I love her site. It is so helpful in finding new tangles.

PJ Waldrop said...

I love the tangle patterns site. Thank you so much for putting so much time into helping us all find new tangles to try. You are a great inspiration.

paperfusion said...

After buying a Zentangle book over a year ago, I found this site recently, I'm determined to sit one day, after our big move from FL, 5.5 years here, to our home state of NY next week. I hope to get some 'me time' soon and sit down, referring to this site for inspiration, and start tangling! Thanks for all you do!

Glenda Bollivar said...

Wonderful work. What a great 'do anywhere' type of meditation.

G

Rebecca in Portland said...

Even the few attempts at Zentangle I have made have convinced me that I am not completely lacking in artistic ability (a lifelong belief). What liberation!

Ronda said...

Tanglepatterns.com is awesome. I spent hours looking and drooling. I am very interested in trying Zentangle and wish there was a certified teacher in my city. Can't wait to give it a try.

Gail said...

I'm a newbie at zentangle, and excited about learning more.
Gail in Florida

Janel said...

I love doing Zentangles. They're a great break for my brain when I need to take a break from my writing.

Molossus said...

Fantastic interview! It's nice to learn a little more about some one I consider a friend, and I'm so pleased to see her recognized for the work she does with Zentangle.

Lisa said...

I was amazed to learn that there are so many designs that do not fit the actual profile of true zentangle! I searched a few times but did not try many that I found because they just did not feel right! Thank you so much for the information.

Lisa from Dunbarton, NH

www.picturetrail.com/ddartmission said...

Thank you Thank you I received my Zentangle Alpha Book in the Mail today right at the end of a beautiful Rainbow!! Really!!(we live in the country) Soon as Taxes are done I am going to tangle my troubles away!! Thank you again Joanna really enjoy your posts! DonnaD Mission, BC

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful interview. Many thanks to Linda for all of her contributions to the Zentangle community. I love, love, love teaching it. Best thing I ever did is become certified. Tangle on my friends! Linda, you rock!

Cheryl, CZT#6

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Cheryl, I agree. I so enjoyed my time becoming certified. What a lucky crew we are to have found a way to un-tangle life's tough knots.

Pam Nixon said...

I also love Zentangles, and became interested when I was looking for a new outlet for my artistic creations. I've painted for years, but wanted a New way to express myself, and I have found it with tangles and the great patterns you have on your site. Thank you, Thank you.