Sunday, February 20, 2011

Metaphors. And a Contest!

The Zentangle art form, it has been discovered, engenders metaphors. In fact, it may be more than a metaphor as Carole Ohl so aptly expresses in her blog post from last summer.

A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to something in order to suggest a resemblance, but to which it doesn't literally apply. An example would be You are the sunlight of my day.” You are not actually sunlight, but you brighten my day. Well, you don't physically "brighten" my day... you get the idea. A metaphor is also something that is used as a symbol to represent something else; the national flag or the capital city are often metaphors for the country or its government, as in "Yesterday, Ottawa announced plans to shorten winter next year."

I was talking with some friends recently and this definition of 'metaphor' came up:
"... a process of comparing and identifying one thing with another. Then, as we see what 
things have in common, we see the general meaning they have. Now, the ability to see the
relationship between one thing and another is almost a definition of intelligence. Thinking
in metaphors... is a tool of intelligence. Perhaps it is the most important tool."
(Louis Simpson in "An Introduction to Poetry" p.6)

I knew we zentangling folks were smart cookies!

"Anything is possible, one stroke at a time."  
    ... has been adopted by Zentangle founders Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas as the official metaphor, seen in lots of Zentangle materials. When the zentangle tile is complete, we can give people a bit of good advice for life and encourage them to
    "Look at it from a different angle."  
    "View it from another perspective."
        Even the tile itself is a metaphor. When everyone in a class has completed a tile it's great fun to bring them all together on the table so the students can see everyone else's artwork. Even with the same string, same tangles, and same instructions it's always amazing how
        "Every Zentangle tile is unique and original, just like the person who created it."
          During a recent weekly zentangle challenge Maria created a spectacular tile with hearts going off the edge of the tile and the negative spaces filled with wonderful, ribbony Hollibaugh. Some people noticed the hearts right away; others needed to have them pointed out. I think there's another metaphor there:
          "It isn't always obvious what holds it all together."

           I like to share these metaphors with my students during a class. I'd like to have more metaphors to share. I'd like hear other metaphors that arise from Zentangle. So... 

          * * *  I'M  HAVING  A  CONTEST!  * * *

          Here are the details:
          1. Tell me one or more zentangle-related metaphors that you've discovered. Leave a comment after this post or, if you prefer, e-mail me. Metaphors mentioned above are ineligible :-)
          2. You have until 5:31 on March 20, Saskatoon time - the vernal equinox at my spot on the globe - to send metaphors. Okay, I'll be lenient. Let's say midnight your time March 20.
          3. I'll share my favorite responses in a future blog post, and I'll choose a favorite and award a prize. There's no rubric or criteria here, just my personal 'Oh, wow!' decision.
          4. I'll do my best to have a winner by the end of March, but sometimes life interferes with life. Be patient.
          A grammar lesson:
          Don't use 'like' or 'as'. That would make it a simile. "Zentangle is like a breath of fresh air" is not eligible. "Zentangle is a breath of fresh air" is.

          The prize, you ask?
          The prize is one of my original zentangle-inspired artworks: your choice of any one of the apple corer mandalas I've posted here on the blog. You can see three of them here and several more here. I'll contact the winner and get your mailing address. It won't be framed; I don't want to risk mailing glass. One thing to note: "Rose Window" is no longer available. It's been sold.

          And just to sweeten the pot, here are two more:

          SUN STARS - 12 cms. (5") square; pen-and-ink; colored pencil
          ©2011 Margaret Bremner (Betweed, Flux, Gneiss, Printemps, Striping, Tipple, wavy lines)
          SECTIONS - 12 cms. (5") square; pen-and-ink; colored pencil
          ©2011 Margaret Bremner (Cubine, Finery, Flux, Meer, checked Aura)


          1. Margaret, this is sooooo cool....... and love the apple corer Zendalas.....slicing and dicing the tangles so deliciously. Have fun with this contest. Maria

          2. Zentangle is the fingerprint of the Artist's soul.

          3. I've always felt that zentangle is the complex made simple.

            Complicated and eye-staggering patterns are broken into small steps and you can only marvel at the simplicity of the designs once you see how they work.

            Is that a metaphor?

          4. I've been really thinking about this today, thinking about what zentangling means to me, it is a relatively new thing in the Uk and there are but few to discuss with! I often refer to it as "saving my sanity" but I think I have decided on the line "focused freedom", the whole experience focuses me, absorbs my whole mind but although focused even when slightly panned there is an inbuilt freedom to the designs, they lead you. This might be all waffle!!! but is my 2 pence!

          5. Not sure it counts as a metaphor, but I've always liked something I read early on about zentangling:

            The inability to draw a perfectly straight line is not a barrier to amazing art.

          6. Good metaphor, Joni!

            I think of a metaphor as a single sentence creating a relationship between two things that aren't actually related.

            What are other things that are sanity savers or complex but simple? Draw a comparison between that and zentangle.

            Jill and Molossus, I like those thoughts. Not metaphors, but I've shared similar ideas with my students.

          7. Zentangle is the explosion of my inner artist onto paper!

          8. As Rick always says, "I never metaphor I didn't like"...... I just had to throw that in for fun.....Maria

          9. I am new to this wonderfully delicious form of art! I am beyond addicted and enjoy Zentangling daily! My metaphor is:" Zentangle is the dessert of the food that feeds my soul!" As soon as I figure out how to do it...and a camera that can take a good picture..I will post some of my work. Thank you to each and everyone of my Zentangling sisters and brothers...You are all beautiful and inspiring! Bella

          10. I love your blog and all the patterns you create! This contest was a great idea! Here are three I have come up with:
            Zentangle is a massage for your brain.
            Zentangle is an art retreat on a paper tile.
            Zentangle is ohm with ink.

            Thanks again!
            Sarah Garrity

          11. I seem to have metaphors (and the philosophy of Zentangle) on my mind at the moment. I wonder why? Oh yes... you're why, Margaret! [smile] You got me thinking again. Had a lovely time writing my blog tonight (thank you for your lovely comment, too). More metaphors from Kit here.

          12. Your mandalas/Zendalas are amazing and beautiful. I am off to find my apple corer after I finish this comment.
            Zentangle is my escape into silence.
            Zentangle is water flowing over my brain.
            Zentangle is peace in the midst of chaos.
            Zentangle is salve for my hurt.
            Zentangle is calm for my anxiety.
            Zentangle is wine in an art form.
            Zentangle is cascading water over my right brain.
            Zentangle is finding a beautiful new flower species on a spring walk.
            Zentangle is discovering the first green sprout each spring after a long winter.
            Thanks for the was fun! I better stop, though...

          13. I often 'Get Lost in the Tangle', a blissful moment of creator at creation being one.

            Oh, I do hope that was not one of the examples you posted.

          14. What a wonderful challenge I want to accept – but first I´ll have to translate my thoughts into English ;-) .

          15. Lots of great metaphors (and other wonderful thoughts) pouring in! Thenks all. Keep 'em coming!

            Phine, feel free to send something along in German too; I'd love to read the original and both my husband and myself studied German in high school.

          16. Margaret, thank you for being such a beautiful inspiration!

            Here are my metaphors:
            Every Zentangle is perfectly imperfect.

            Zentangles illuminate individuality.

          17. zentangle is calming complexity

          18. Zentangle illuminates the path of life - shining light onto and exposing the surprises that emerge from the shadows.

            Zentangle is a butterfly that is born from the struggle of emergence and flies for a moment in its brilliance.

            Or something like that... :-) Thank you for sharing your amazing work. I love the zendalas (especially "Water Wheel!"


          19. I made sure I didn't read anyone else's posts before I came up with mine so I wouldn't plagiarize (unintentionally, of course) anything. Here goes:

            Zentangle is a space shuttle en route to the moon of creativity.

            Zentangle is a tune up for your think tank.

            Zentangle is a massage for your mind.

          20. Just thought of another one:

            Zentangle is a symphony on paper.

          21. You asked for more! [grin]

            With apologies (an homage?) to Thomas Merton:

            "By [tangling] I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of [tangles] and I feel fire and music under my feet."

            ...Yes, not a proper metaphor... but I came across this quote - an old fave - and couldn't resist a tangleation of it. (Having figured out that I can 'tangleate' anything!)

            So here are the metaphors from that:

            1. Zentangle is fire and music.
            2. Zentangle is renewal.
            3. Zentangle is the language of Nature.

            And, just for fun:

            4. Zentangle is my nourishment and my junk food!*

            *There's a line in Savage Garden's song, "Affirmation" that says "I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you" - the paradox of Zentangle is that it's good for you, but somehow seems like it shouldn't be, because it's so much fun!

            5. Zentangle is my happy place.
            6. Zentangle is the art of living.
            7. Zentangle is a LIFE sentence.**

            **You've probably got that one already from me. ;-)

          22. Oh Margaret, you sure have got us thinking!

            Zentangle is an addiction without drugs.

          23. Zentangle is mana for the mind in the boring desert of the media-dictated world.
            (mana=food the egyptians got from God in the desert when they escaped from the farao)
            I don't know if this counts,my English is perhaps not so good,but i wanted to give it a go.
            Zentangle did me really good, i even forget to eat junkfood as i used to do before when i had nothing to do as to watch tv.

          24. Zentangle is a step off the hamster wheel of the left brain.

          25. One thing I've learned in life is 'never say never'.

          26. "Tangling was the only ticket she needed for her artistic journey."

            Or maybe:

            "Tangling is the only ticket she needs for her artistic journey."

            Thanks first for your wonderful tangles and then for this playtime of ideas and words. I'm loving it!!!!!

          27. A couple more..
            Zentangle is a game you can't lose.
            Zentangle is a road where you can't make a wrong turn.

          28. Zentangle is a smorgasbord on paper.
            Zentangle is an escape from reality.
            this is a fun contest with wonderful prizes. Thanks so much.
            Pam Barnes

          29. I usually try to zentangle in the morning so I will add

            zentangle is my mormning delight!

          30. Zentangle is an instrument that lets you play the music of your soul.

          31. Zentangle is the instrument that lets you play the music in your soul.

          32. It took me a while to mull it over – and I spent a post on my own blog
            My extract is: ZENTANGLE® is a brigde to my Inner Self.
            As all the original ZTs emerge from deep down of myself they mirror what´s going on in me. How I feel etc. Looking at the composition and the tangles used – their shapes and structure – gives me a key…

            Thank you very much for this 'challenge'!

          33. Margaret,

            Did you ever announce a winner? I must have missed my prize :-)

          34. Cris, and anyone else who missed the announcement, the winners - and LOTS of metaphors! - are here:
            (I don't seem so be able to make a link to it.)