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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tangling Outside the Box



Molly writes: 

 Some of you may have heard of the phrase, “thinking outside the box”. This metaphor speaks of a creative thought process that perhaps explores an unknown territory, looks at something from a new perspective, offers a unique approach and steps outside of the otherwise expected way. Encouraging this perspective on brainstorming and problem solving often leads to new and exciting exploration and discovery.

I was raised in an “outside the box” house. Every day, every meal, every holiday, every hairdo, even every prom dress was a new adventure. Sometimes I would ask to get back in the box. Not an option. Looking back I realize how lucky I was. I now know to not just look at things for what they are or what they have always been but rather what they could be. Life is full of change, growth and opportunity and aren’t we lucky to be able to take advantage of that.

To me the Zentangle Method is a beautiful collision of structure and chaos. While it nurtures specific steps and illuminates borders it also encourages us to take our practice into uncharted territories. It pushes us to not fear so called mistakes, but rather see them as seeds for new opportunities. It invites us to “color outside the lines,” and to be lead only by those strokes that we put down ourselves. It teaches us that our unique marks are not only beautiful, but also important because of their uniqueness. 



We often say to our Zentangle artists to learn the rules so that you can break them. I love the structure and beauty of the method as it written, and I find it so inspiring to explore and try things a little bit differently once in a while. In the world of Zentangle art we time and time again see tanglers taking that artistic license and going “outside the box”. We continue to learn and be inspired by the all the ways you are doing this. This type of thinking is different for everyone. It might be that tangling a little lower the string line is a big deal for you, or you might be someone who likes adventure like perhaps tangling underwater like mermaids do.

When the time is right take a leap in your practice. Jump at that opportunity. Allow yourself to look at something for what it could be.

Whether it was a so called mistake or flash of brilliance that led you there, it took that bit of confidence to take a chance to see what could happen when you not only "think outside the box" … but actually “tangle outside the box". 

Join us with your "outside the box adventure" … Tell us your story here and post your work on the Zentangle Mosaic App using #outsidethebox. You can also download the Zentangle Mosaic app for free and search #outstidethebox to see the Zentangle art from across the globe!

We welcome both literal and metaphorical interpretations here … we do like to have fun after all.
 
We will pick a commenter at random to send a box of Zentangle goodies to in our next blog!


22 comments:

Anoeska said...

I love tangling outside the box. In my Zentangle practice I find myself tangling beyond the border or the string even without truly noticing it happens. And then it just happened again. Maybe for me it would be a leap to try and stay in the box for a while. But then again... What's the fun in that? (Let me think about it....) Thanks for sharing this insightful blogpost Molly!

Donna Ravenscraft said...

Zentangle IS outside the box for me! Getting myself to show up and tangle can often feel like a huge risk for my tender artist self. But the more I have tangeled the easier it becomes. I went to CZT27 and learned that what ever I did was just fine. So my box did not seem so restrictive and I tangled the journal I received. That was a huge outside the box for me! The support from our Zentangle community definitely makes such explorations feel safer and fun. Plus every time I have stepped outside of the box the risk was so worth it! Looking forward to more explorations.

Cris Letourneau said...

Beautiful tile. It takes a confident artist to leave all of that white space!

Kathy said...

I just started thinking outside the box! I've been exploring tangling in my nature sketchbook, sometimes to border images and others to become part of the visual image. I guess it's both outside the box AND inside the box, all at once. Will post an image on Mosaic. (Can't get this comment box to attach a photo.

Thekla said...

Hello, in school and after i doodle on every pad of paper. But it was almost a little mark, because i can't go over one or two centimenter, before i dislike the pattern/picture or loose patience.
Drawing was for me fantastic but a foreign country. It was not really to reach and it was impossible for me to jump over my own sophisticated requirements ( - for an one square centimeter size :( - ). Now, drawing comes to me.
Since i have spot Zentangle, i get everytime a now look of Art. I see the shading, the coloring and so forth. A lot of things i had known without seeing it.
I like your imagination of a box, because a box is nearly a frame. And i had need this frame. With the frame on a Zentangle Tile and the way of doing it in zentagle way, i have a frame to begin and do something. So i really started with paper and pen. After doing it with gusto, i did not only want to break out, i break out and do my own things. And i do all this with huge jumps over my sophisticated requirements. I led them in the box and have fun with my 'no mistake' Art oustside the box/frame.
Thank You for your imagination and sorry for my English.
Thekla from Germany

dridlon said...

Great minds think alike, even if slightly different. I have started a partly Zentangle inspired project "Thinking out side the box, escaping outside the box" quite tangley it is.
Outside the box is awfully fun.

Cindy Bowles said...

Everything about Zentangle was "outside the box" from the very beginning! Growing up in a very perfectionist family, anything that required no particular talent, had no particular outcome and no particular rules was WAY outside my box. The idea that I couldn't "fail" was a totally foreign concept! To say that I'm forever grateful for Zentangle is an understatement of grand proportions!! Thank you from the bottom of my very imperfect heart. cindy b.

Linda Dochter said...

I fondly remember an early foray I took after learning The Zentangle Method. I participated in a stained glass window tour at the National Cathedral in Washington DC. At the end of the tour, we stopped by the Center for Prayer and Reflection and were invited to stay as long or as little as we liked. The center had a number of quiet activities for pilgrims. I had some Sakura Microns in my purse and choose to complete a pre-printed mandala by tangling both inside, outside and on top of the lines. The docents at the center kept saying things like "I've never seen anybody do that before" and "People usually stay inside the lines" and "That's the first time I've ever seen that done in black and white. It's beautiful." Than the Director of the Center asked if I would allow her to hang my first ZIA for a time in the National Cathedral. Such a joy to share my "outside of the box" experience and share my newfound love.

Cynthia said...

Thinking and tangling outside the box means for me tangling on the box, and the furniture, and my blue jeans, and on stumps of wood, and on a big giant double bass case and on sneakers and on lampshades to name but a few. I bring my zen to each project and never know how they will turn out. I now want to spend more time on tiles in between all these outside the box moments!

Linda JF said...

Rick and Maria! As always, your beautiful artwork and ideas give me so much to think about! When I am truly in my tangling frame of mind, I am able to think outside the box, relax, and surprise myself at what I am able to create! I feel that is the true essence of Zentangle; to be in such a relaxed state of mind, that ideas and methods develop because of the freeing of thoughts! No preconceived outcome of what I will create, just an enjoyable, relaxing time! Thank you for sharing your ideas with the world!

Anita Aspfors Westin said...

Isn't this what art is all about? Thank's for your blogpost! It is so inspiring. Love your tile!

Kathy Young said...

When I first found Zentangle I didn't know what to do. You see, I attended a catholic school where right and wrong where clearly defined and rigidly enforced. Art consisted of coloring book style pictures filled in with crayons and later colored pencils. There were always instructions, recipes, patterns and guidelines to be followed at home. I happily thrived in this environment and the few choices allowed were super fun.
Now in my sixties I understand the expression that I have always been drawn to in art and have slowly dropped my training wheels and learned to follow intuition with the help and guidance of Zentangle and The Zentangle family and community. This is what I call an awesome difference in my life! Kathy Young CZT 22

Jean Chaney said...

I read this article with extreme pleasure. I have often wondered why I am almost unable to do a tangle the way it was designed with the step-outs provided. For that reason, I felt like the black sheep of our tangling family. As a teacher, I always encourage my students to "break the rules" with joy. Thank you for putting this right in my mind so that I can merrily go on with my "pushing" tangles to go wherever they seem to insist on going, pulling my pen with some unseen force.

1 Art Lady Kate, Tangles and More said...

I first started tangling outside the box, not really knowing what I was doing but just trying it anyway. I had always drawn patterns, designs, fragments of this and that on any little scrap of paper that was around, and while in meetings and in classes. For whatever reason it always helped me focus. When I became a CZT, I learned what an elegant thing having that string to start with is, and still do use them, but it is fun once in awhile to just start and see where the tangles take you.

Quwatha Valentine said...

I am 81 years old and have always been an "out of the box" person, even more after retirement. That's why I have my gray hair colored in red, blue, purple, green, pink, teal, all at the same time.

Pat Floerke said...

Several years ago I started a tile I was really excited about, but I ended up absolutely hating the finished tile. I told myself there were no mistakes in Zentangle, I set it aside to see if it would grow on me, I reminded myself that every tile is a surprise, but I was so disappointed. So I literally cut the tile in two, glued each part to a new blank tile, and re-finished each separately. I knew I wasn't "supposed" to do that, but I ended up with two tiles I loved instead of one I hated and have always been so pleased I had the courage to do that. I was thrilled recently to read Maria suggest something similar in a blog, cutting out a disliked portion out of a tile, so maybe it wasn't heresy after all, although it sure felt like it at the time!

gobarb26 said...

I have been a perfectionist for most of my life. When I learned the Zentangle method and shortly after, I learned to work outside of the box. I am a cancer patient and it was during the beginning of my battle that I discovered Zentangle. I think that my new "normal" has changed me to realize that there really is no normal! When I tangle, I will sometimes use a string and sometimes just start and see where it takes me. I love to draw outside of the string and work hard to let my students know that it is ok. I know it is hard for them but it really frees them as it did with me! I have always loved your saying "there are no mistakes in Zentangle, only opportunities." I can't stress this enough to my students! Thank you for all you do!
XOXO
Barb B. CZT

Barb said...

Eye Opening article! Thank you, Molly!
I also love reading all the comments. ❤️
You are inspiring!

Michele said...

This post is right up my alley. I'm currently in a back-to-basics mode in my Zentangle practice because I veer outside the box frequently, mostly with an excessive use of color�� Thanks so much for this inspiring post!

Lady Dragoness said...

Thinking outside the box - something I most definitely need to be better at doing.

j said...

This is such a good reminder with a combination of your words and the great tangle. thanks for the reminder about the joy of the space in the middle.

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