One day I received an e-mail from Chris Cathers, the branch manager here at the Kentucky Arts Council. It was a day of awakening, a explanation of the methodic passion that I had been developing all these years and the ultimate “Ah Ha!” moment. Okay, it wasn’t really that dramatic. But, it was kind of funny to learn that the drawings I have created throughout my life had a name. There is even a science and an art form to what I always called “meeting doodles”.
In order for me to concentrate on what others are saying, and not have my mind drift away from the conversation during meetings, I have to doodle. One day, my co-worker Vallorie Henderson told me that I’d make a good rug designer based on a doodle I created during a staff meeting. I laughed, thinking that it did resemble an oriental rug that I had at home. Maybe I had missed my calling.
Meeting after meeting, I continued to create masterful, beautiful pieces that I shared with my co-workers. As I sit at my desk to write this, I see two very different masterpieces. One has large letters decorated with fancy swirls and enhanced with designs. The other is a blocked-off piece featuring triangles, dashes, swirls, plaid and circles.
Getting back to my “Ah Ha!” moment: the e-mail that Chris sent was to let me know there is actually a name for the mad doodling I had been doing all these years. They are called Zentangles. If you Google the name, you will find many fun facts about Zentagles. The search will tell you how it started, the theories behind it, how others use it; there are blogs about it; and you can even sign up for a newsletter.
I have worked in the arts for over 23 years organizing events, trainings, workshops, exhibits and much more for artists in Kentucky. However, I have never once considered myself an artist. To all those I’ve met along the years, I can now say, “Yes. I am a Zentangler and I’m proud of it!” I now need to remember all the advice I have given to others and try to create a product and market for this hidden talent. I’m really in the beginning stages of this newfound art form, so you will not see me quitting my job anytime soon. But, the next time you are at a meeting and I am focused on pen and paper, please do not disturb the master at work!
In all seriousness, I still do not consider myself to be an artist, but maybe I do have some other hidden talents that have drawn me (no pun intended) to working with artists all these years. If you do see me at that meeting and I am “creating”, go ahead and stop me. If I actually have a Zentangle, I’ll be happy to share. I do have to confess that I did sign up for the Zentangle newsletter.
Charla Reed, partnerships and initiatives director