May 24, 2021

Ants = Cooperative Work + Collective Sustainability. Emergent Strategy + Zentangle Drawing = Connective Tissue

The interplay of light, shadow, wind, water and tidal currents at Crane Beach in Ipswich, Mass. were enthralling. Noting the patterns, l thought: l feel a Zentangle drawing workshop coming on. 

Fractal Life

Oh yeah. Nothing like lesson planning.  The basis of Zentangle is awareness of patterns, so I strive to connect my real world pattern observation with artistic practice.  

Human Impact

The day after the beach I noticed a human footprint on a sidewalk anthill.  Waves, ants, footprints (carbon or otherwise) led me to create a theme for the workshop based on the ideas presented in Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown's book that provokes to us unite, learn from the natural world (biomimicry) and create a just and healthy future for all.

Just a Start

adrienne maree brown encourages us to understand that in the way one dandelion seed can create a meadow of beauty, a single positive idea for change can spread far and wide.

Bird's Eye

Here is the collection of patterns I wound up teaching at the workshop.  Various dots within circles echo the eye of the gull.

Fountain of Hope

The morning after the workshop, I was delighted to notice a trio of ant hills that evoked the central pattern in the drawing.

What's Going On?

Then l went to photograph the ant reference in Emergent Strategy and found three more circles, circled in black, like we drew. 

Ants:  Cooperative Work.  Collective Sustainability.

No accidents!  Thank you adrienne maree brown for provoking thought.

More on the Emergent Strategy from Akpress:

Emergent StrategyShaping Change, Changing Worlds

adrienne maree brown (Author)

Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.

John Nordell teaches courses in the Visual and Digital Arts Program that he created at American International College in Springfield, Mass. He blogs about the creative process at   Instagram: @john.nordell