October 13, 2015
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The art of zen
PROUD OF HER WORK: Karla Rodriguez is excited to bring her Zentangle work home so she can put it on display there. “It looks nice once you’re done with it,” she said.

Carriage House Day Care on Shaw Avenue in Cranston hosted a Zentangle art show on Friday, Jan. 20, where school-age children who chose to participate in the 15-week program displayed the Zentangle squares they’ve been working on.

Artist Mary Jane Bohlen, who is a certified Zentangle instructor, has been working with the students over the 15 weeks, creating different Zentagle creations, like ornaments, culminating in last week’s art show.

“It’s an expression of all the feelings they were having that day,” said Assistant Director Tammy Donohue, as she looked over the final products.

Bohlen was drawn to Zentangle in part because of the calm process involved in creating it. When she was going through treatment for breast cancer, she would bring blank tiles with her so she could work on her Zentangle.

“It’s just a wonderful process,” she said. “It really took my mind off things.”

She says Zentangle helps young people with handwriting, creativity, concentration and even anger management. Most of all, it helps artists of all ages relax and meditate.

“You have to be really quiet during the sessions,” explained young artist Karla Rodriguez.

Bohlen believes Zentangle can be a positive experience for young people in particular because there’s no right way or wrong way of doing it.

“It’s very affirming for them,” she said. “There’s no mistakes and I think that’s the beauty of it.”

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