The Lost Art of Creativity: Zendragon
My business is deeply connected to dragons. The most familiar dragons are horrible, heartstopping Western Dragons. But half the world sees dragons differently; there are Eastern dragons too. Seeing things differently is the Zen in my dragons.
I have always been creative. I drew regularly, cast jewelry, sculpted metal, printed serigraphs, made pine-needle baskets, penned calligraphy, wove, quilted, and line-danced my way through almost 100 cookbooks.
Shortly after I chose the business name Zendragon, I saw this sign below a small dragon statue I was about to buy. “Dragons are the symbol of Creative Power. The Dragon is one of the four divine creatures that adorn the Tibetan Prayer Flag. Tibetan Dragons also ward off negativity.”
I know in my heart that each of us is creative. Each of us can let go. Taking the first step into creativity, into that letting go, is like facing a dragon. Your own personal dragon. And all you have to do is hold still long enough to let the dragon find you.
Zentangle is drawing patterns with pen on a small paper “tile". And you may think, “What’s so special about that? Anyone can doodle or color to relax. Why is this so different?”
First, every Zentangle pattern is built on only four strokes, i c s and o.
Second, there is a method to drawing Zentangle tiles. When you learn even a few patterns, you also learn how to morph, embellish and enhance them so each time the result is different.
Third, the patterns have names, and they're always recognizable in someone's work. By naming the patterns, an ease comes over the drawing process. You don't have to invent a new pattern each time you draw, you simply morph the patterns you already know to fit the boundary you set.
Zentangle is a paradox. It is the combination of regularity and unpredictability in Zentangle that allows for limitless creativity.
Art has always been in my life. Whenever there was a school project that included art, I was the first one chosen. Art was how I fit in.
I never thought I would be a teacher. I was an only child, very shy. Without art, I was the one who was left out, last chosen, and miserable. I was somewhat surprised when I found myself with a teaching certificate. But I quickly learned that teaching allowed me to create a learning environment of acceptance and encouragement; one I longed for as a student.
Eventually I found myself teaching at Foothill Middle School. I especially loved teaching seventh graders, lovingly known as "Hormones with Feet".
It was seventh grade where I taught Beowulf and read fairy tales to my students. It was seventh grade where I discovered not only the famous Western Dragon, but the wise Eastern Dragon. It was seventh grade where I was able to include the shy, the loners, the scared, the ones who were certain their inability to fit in would be found out. It was heaven.
At this point in my life, I teach Zentangle. I know what it's like for each of us to long for community, for acceptance, to find common ground.