Stepping Outside the Block

We all love quilting, right? It’s a wonderful way to express our creativity, learn something new, try something different. But it’s probably not your only creative, crafty outlet, am I right? I think by nature, quilters tend to be creative in a multitude of arenas. Most quilters I know also spend time knitting, scrapbooking, painting, crocheting, taking pictures, beading, or any one of a number of other hobbies. I think this variety and “stepping out of the quilt block” so to speak, are important to developing our creativity. We can find inspiration everywhere!

I recently learned the art of creating Zentangles, developed by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Traditionally the drawings are created on a 3.5″ square “tile”.

195273333813135868 LJtZHVym f Stepping Outside the Block

What is it? From the Zentangle website: “Creating in a Zentangle way is an easy to understand process of simple deliberate strokes which build on each other in beautiful, mesmerizing and surprising ways. Our Zentangle method is a way of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is fun and relaxing. Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages. We believe that life is an art form and that our Zentangle method is an elegant metaphor for deliberate artistry in life.”

zentangle1 Stepping Outside the Block

With a few quilty friends, I took a class this Spring from a local teacher thinking this might lead to inspiration for quilting designs on my quilts. It turned out to be so much more. The deliberate strokes and working without a plan are very liberating and meditative all at the same time. The piece evolves as you continue to add designs. There are no wrong answers and anyone can do it – you do not have to be able to draw. REALLY!

zentangle31 Stepping Outside the Block

The supplies needed are minimal. Something to draw on, a couple of 01 Micron Pigma pens, pencil, eraser.

supplies Stepping Outside the Block

While many of the traditional Zentangle patterns probably wouldn’t translate directly onto a quilt, I think the process of freehand drawing and the shapes from the patterns will be a great starting point for creating unique quilting designs for my quilts. Not to mention just having another creative outlet!

zentangle2 Stepping Outside the Block
zentangle4 Stepping Outside the BlockI would highly recommend “stepping outside the block” and exploring other creative hobbies and ventures. I think it can bring a new perspective and creativity to your quilting. How do you “step out of the block”?

About Denise Starck

I am the Graphic Designer for Quiltmaker. I really love what I do and being able to combine my two passions, graphic design and quilting, into every day is fantastic! I've been quilting for over 14 years and enjoy all types of quilting.
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7 Responses to Stepping Outside the Block

  1. Very interesting. The fine lines and freeform drawing of the Zentangles reminds me of a lot of the artistry I did as a child. I did basically the same thing, only I also enjoyed coloring in all the spaces with magic markers. Very creative and liberating. Have a super day!

  2. Terrific work! This is the kind of info that are meant to be shared around the web. Shame on the seek engines for no longer positioning this submit higher! Come on over and visit my web site . Thank you =)

  3. Claudia says:

    Ooooooooh, this takes me back to my days as an art student. I went to the Zentangle link, and it is almost mesmerizing! Why don’t we play anymore?

  4. SewLindaAnn says:

    I had started Zentangles because of a post by Frieda I think, or someone who had done beautiful pictures of scenery in zentangle form. Love it, I so love it. If I’m tired, but still want to create a bit it’s perfectly easy to pick up one of my books. I started branching out a bit and drawing a series of zentangle homes with thicker lines and highlighters for color. I plan on making them into a quilt when I get to learning freezer paper piecing. Your drawings are wonderful! There is also a Newsletter that’s worth getting from them as well.

  5. I have seen these posted on and didn’t know they had a name! I have studied them often to see if I could do it on the machine…fun fun!! Thanks for the post!

  6. Judy says:

    Zentangles look very fun and relaxing plus something new for me to try.

  7. Christa says:

    I started zentangles last year and have found it to be very helpful in longarm quilt design ideas

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