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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

What's in a Name?

Molly writes; 

 In the famous play, Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare, Juliet speaks to Romeo,

 “What's in a name? that which we call a rose 
By any other name would smell as sweet.” 

I love this phrase. It makes me ponder many things. I think about what a beautiful thing it is that people and many animals alike have developed sophisticated ways to communicate. I think about the complexity of both the spoken and written word. I think about how practically everything has a word or a name that labels it or describes it. And then how different words are used in different languages, cultures, or geographic locations to describe the same thing. And to think about this system again ... does that "thing" change at all without that label or word to identify it? Do we see it differently? Does a different word change or alter its existence? We use words to inform, identify, educate and communicate, but as Juliet says, "What's in a name?"

 For instance, here is a word that is frequently used and has very important meaning in so many places across the globe. In English we call it love, but in other languages you will see it as basque, voljeti, обичам, estimar, voljeti, láska, elsker, liefde, armastus, rakkaus, amour, amar, liebe, αγαπώ, szerelem, elska, is breá, amare, mīlestība, meilė, сакам, imħabba, elsker, люблю, љубав, láska, ljubezen, amor, älskar, любов, caru, ליבע, 爱, and 愛. And this is only to name a few. Each word identifies the same thing but the word itself that is used is different in each language.

Another example is when I was a little girl, my mother would make this casserole made with layers of ground beef, corn and green beans and topped with mashed potatoes. It was called Pâté Chinois. I thought our family invented it. Years later I was at school and on the menu was this thing called Shepard's Pie. When I saw what it was, I thought, that is not Shepard's Pie! That is Pâté Chinois! Did they steal our family recipe and change the name? How dare they? So it turns out my family did not invent this recipe, they didn't even name it. It is a very old recipe. With more than a handful of names and variations. Does what it is called change the way it is made or alter the flavor? Perhaps in our heads a little ... but not really.

What does this all have to do with the Zentangle method? Well I think about the vocabulary of Zentangle. How we have such fun words to reference techniques and terms and we have names for all these amazing patterns we call tangles. This language is so helpful to identify, communicate and learn the Zentangle Method. We use language to teach this method. And we love to use it, but can we learn it and use it without any language at all? YES! We totally can! That is what is so amazing about this method. It can be beautifully understood, practiced and shared without a single word ... written or spoken. It crosses cultures, continents, religions, and generations. Zentangle art becomes a language in itself.

We put names on tangles and their step-outs so that we can identify them and learn how to create them. It does not mean that we invented the pattern or that we were the only one to ever discover it or create a step-out for it. Are their some tangles that are perhaps original patterns? ... maybe? but many of our tangles are beautiful patterns rediscovered from history and nature. We just come up with a way to draw them and identify them. So is it possible for one tangle to have more than one name? Sure it is. Is it possible that the same tangle has multiple step-outs? Of course. Can there be multiple variations of the same tangle? Yes again.

So...
“What's in a name? that which we call crescent moon
By any other name would still be the same beautiful tangle”

Tangle on my friends.


 -----+----- 

The winners from our last blog are:

1. a free year's subscription to Zentangle Mosaic: Mary (Biology professor)

Please email julie [at] zentangle [dot] com

2. Anything is Possible One Stroke at a Time Print: Linda JF

Please email your shipping information to maria [at] zentangle [dot] com

27 comments:

Pat Mathes said...

Well said!!

Laura said...

A Taiwanese CZT has hesitation to teach an English speaking person who'd like to learn Zentangle Art because this CZT could not speak fluent English. So she asked a friend to write down the sentence to show to the foreigner.
"When learning Zentangle art, language is not necessary, you just keep silent and follow my steps". And it works well!

Frances Coffland said...

Great explanation! Helps me to think about "tangleations" in a different light.

Kathy Barringer said...

Well put Molly!

Aishwarya Bharadwaj Darbha said...

Superb post...

For me its the methodology of Zentangle, which is Bible in itself. The more I read, practice, it opens up and reveals new truth to me. 💞

Tonia C said...

Great Quote Molly and excellent question! Makes one think about how to truly describe something...Thanks for the Blog this week!

Charlotte Carpentier said...

it does truly show that the "re-invention" of some tangles to be changed slightly and renamed is in fact...ok.

Jodi B said...

Very eloquent, Molly. My first class I taught after becoming a CZT was to a room full of non-English speaking kids at Shriners Hospital for Children. Because the Zentangle method can be demonstrated visually, it wasn't a problem. As I immerse myself in the tangled world, I see a lot of tangles that are quite similar with different names. Patterns are everywhere you look and inspire people daily to draw them or attempt to break them down into something easily drawn. My favorite tangles are those that are non-representational patterns. Right now I am obsessed with Bucky!!! Thank you for your thought provoking and enlightening blog, Molly.

Jo Quincey said...

The beauty of the written and spoken word is something very special but communication is about more than words.
A wonderful blog article, Molly. ��

Melissa Cahn said...

Yes having a vocabulary of tangles (both named and memorized by our hand) helps create a common ground among tanglers. A way we can describe what we are doing abstractly and still all know what we are referring too.
Melissa Cahn
CZT 6

ForgetmenotTangles said...

Love is not only a word it is an action.
This is a great read and a wonderful way to think on all the differences we can bring to each other by sharing our "version" of the word love. We all have a different version of the word-just like we all have a different way of tangling a single pattern.
I think it's great to share those ways together.

Franciose Lip said...

Thanks for this, Molly. I have often seen tangles / step outs referred to using different names, and wondered whether this was right or wrong. Your post definitely puts things into perspective. :-)

Sue Sharp said...

Love this Molly, especially the end where you pull it all together and explain that the same tangle can have different step outs, and/or different names.... and it's still the same tangle. It's all perspective!

Kat van Rooyen, CZT said...

Wonderfully written, Molly!

Carol Graham said...

"understood, practiced and shared without a single word"....my granddaughter's very first tile was done without a single word of instruction, in an auditorium with several thousand people at my daughter's convocation. Her faculty was the last to receive their diplomas, and my daughter worried that a 10-year old would get antsy in the almost three hours it took to get to her name. Armed with two pencils, two pens and four tiles (just in case), without a sound, she followed my example - one stroke at a time. We finished one entire tile, and began the second when my daughter's faculty was called to the podium. My granddaughter was SO proud of her first Zentangle tile, and it made the perfect "congratulations on your graduation" card!

Debra Myers said...

My name is "Debra". In elementary school we had to research the meaning of our names. Deborah/Debra is Hebrew for "the bee". As anyone who has been around 10-12 year-olds knows, they can be mean. So, I was teased about stinging and buzzing and being all around nasty. It wasn't until I was much older that I recognized the significance of the bee. The miracle of flight for wings that are much too small. The pollination process, the honey bees... so many wonderful aspects of the bee. So, my name had new meaning for me. But, what's in a name? Only the actions of the person carrying it. And that is what makes Zentangle so important to me. It gives me a neutral ground in which I have planted many friendships. It has carried me into places I might never have ventured to.

Quwatha Valentine said...

Well said. My name is Quwatha. I am called Quwatha, Wassie and just Q. No matter what I'm called, I'm still me.

Kerry said...

Love the idea behind this post. Yes, there are so many ways for us to connect and communicate in common languages that anyone can understand, that even other species can understand. This is one more way to find connection rather than yet another way to be separate. Very much needed in this world. I wonder what could be achieved if summits between world leaders started with a hour of Zentangle instead of talking and presentations. Hmmm...

loscann said...

Well said!

J. Stough said...

Insightful again! Many of us have heard it said, "There is no such thing as an original thought". It seems the more we "mature" (code for growing older), the more we realize this. How wonderful it is that as we receive the "Step Outs" and as each one of us practices, we put our own "stamp" on it so that it reflects not only the originator's submission, but the Tangle reflects our style as we develop in the Zentangle process!

Tracy Marie said...

Hi! I enjoyed reading your post. For fun you can add "shieda" to your list. This comes from the Persian category of languages. Although my friend is from Iran, there are many ? dialects ? ^_^ I have discovered that even here in our beautiful USA, there are dialects which, when I hear them, cannot be words of "common" English. I'm not including accents in this. If one adds accents, wow!

Your post was/is very well written. It is the first post I've responded to in over 3 years. It's fun to truly learn a "new" word so well that one can then use it in their daily life. I just learned the word "foment". I thought there was a misspelling at first. Nope! It's a real word of the English Language.

Have fun learning it and finding ways to use it in everyday life.
Best Wishes, Tracy McDonald

Bette Abdu said...

Molly, thank you for your elegant description of our use of the Zentangle 'vocabulary'

koi seo said...

Great Quote Molly and excellent question! Makes one think about how to truly describe something...Thanks for the Blog this week!

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Sally Kuhlenschmidt said...

I've just finished reading all of the blog since the beginning (yes, I can be a tad obsessive...or the name I delude myself with is "thorough.") Reading it in a condensed form leads me to see patterns (no pun intended), particularly in how Maria uses the tangles-- they are a language to her. They have a grammar and a flow and she speaks with them as I might speak words. With that level of skill the name of the thing really doesn't matter as the action is the "word." All we do is give it a pale imitation of a translation to English. I think that is why the nonsense names work-- it isn't about any "interpretation" of the tangle. The tangle is and the name we give it is not serious, just a convenience-- it could just as well be "403" (but the play is more fun than numbers.)

Language can transform our understanding of an event and so choosing labels is serious business in most instances. But in this instance, the label cannot compete with the pattern that is. I think it is very appropriate to use nonsense words--that frees people up to interpret patterns as they wish. They avoid "priming" us to see something that isn't really there (e.g., a floor for Florz instead of diamonds).
My 2 cents, centavos, pennies, metal disks.....

Melinda Barlow CZT said...

Thanks for your post well said. Love your view on this subject. Thanks for sharing such important thought provoking information.

Ria Matheussen said...

Thank you for this great post Molly. I'm very grateful to have met you in Providence, always with a friendly smile on your face. I'm glad to be a little part of the big Zentanglefamily!

brenda shaver shahin said...

Molly, your post reminds me of this huge mural in the front entrance of a school where I am often invited to teach Zentangle. It has " "Welcome" written in so many different languages as this particular school has students coming to Canada every month from dozens of countries around the world. And many of these children speak very little English. Each time I am there, I am humbled by the joy these children feel as they are creating their tile, when they often do not understand what I am saying. Recently I was in a grade one classroom including a little boy who had just arrived from Syria and this was his first day of school. He could not speak or understand a word of English, but it did not matter in our world of Zentangle. Seeing the joy in his eyes as he tangled away made my heart sing. Oh how I love being a CZT. Thank you for your inspiring words!