Mary Beth Schoonover is a Certified Zentangle Teacher. You can find her under the umbrella website www.Rockgirt.com that houses all her business ventures. She can also be reached at (570) 250-4221 and email@example.com.
Mary Beth has been a woman entrepreneur all her life. She began her ventures with a construction and insulation company that she sold after 15 years. I asked if she was a partner in this business, but she owned this herself. The Rockgirt Bed & Breakfast and frameshop began about the same time 30 years ago. There have been other businesses along the way.
When the construction business was sold, Mary Beth wanted to have “something to do”. Her children were gone. She loved calligraphy and Pen & Ink. Every time she searched Pen & Ink, Zentangle came up. Not knowing what this was, Mary Beth began learning Zentangle patterns. “I had a tear off calendar that was George Carlin. Every day I would do another tangle on the back of the calendar sheet. I still have that”. 14 years ago, Zentangle was up and coming and Mary Beth could not understand what made this so much different than just drawing. To her, this could almost be doodling.
In 2012, Mary Beth became a certified Zentangle teacher in Providence, RI. Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas helped her discover the essence of this artform.
So WHY is this so different than doodling?
Because of the ritual – the method they set up for you to focus. Zentangle is a technique to reach a mindful state, to give your ‘brain a vacation’ from all the noises we have going on. Picking up the pen and feeling it on the paper and doing these lines repetitively to create a pattern, allows me to feel totally relaxed. People can come in and out of the room and I barely notice (or I just don’t care).
Some people use this for pain management. I have a friend in Albany, NY who teaches cancer patients. I have not done any of that, but I have gone into personal care homes and taught children at camp. I just received a local grant for an Artist in Residency. I will be using Zentangle in a very positive way.
Where do you teach Zentangle?
I teach at the Hobby Lobby, Horseheads, NY and at my Bed & Breakfast in Canton, PA. I do private classes and parties.
Have you ever done a Webinar online?
I have not
Is that anything you would want to do?
Maybe. That is something other teachers do. I’m not sure how successful they are. It’s something I have not paid a lot of attention to.
What have been your greatest stumbling block – personally or in business?
My biggest stumbling block is my lack of confidence – both personal and in business. It’s my own demons that keep me from stepping out. I have to conquer the fear. It’s just fear. You have to walk through it and get on the other side.
Do people have any misconceptions of you or your business?
I think people think I am real confident. (laughing) And I’m NOT! I’m scared to death! But I do believe that they do think I am very confident and outgoing and self- assured. I think I am not and an introvert.
If you could have a do-over in business, what would you do differently?
The thing that I like best is doing the thing that I love. The construction business I did and made money, but it wasn’t something that brought me joy. Right now, Zentangle brings me joy. The Bed & Breakfast brings me joy. I probably would not do anything differently. The construction company paid the bills. At this stage in my life it’s more important to make money doing what I love.
Someone once said before 50 we work to make money. After 50 we do what we love and make more money doing it. I’ve hung my hat on that one!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
With the Bed & Breakfast, I see it grow so that we are very busy and I can hire staff. Doing more corporate retreats and more family reunion rentals. It would be whole house rental rather than just a Bed & Breakfast.
The Zentangle, I hope to just continue on. I just love this. It’s fun watching new people come to Zentangle and have that ‘A-Haa’ moment. They can find that creative little second grade artgirl that they lost long ago. They can say “Holy Cow! I did that! I am creative”! It really is fun. I have watched students move from mediocre ability because they haven’t trained the muscle memory with a pen and paper – all those things we have lost over time – to those who are outdoing me. They are creating amazing pieces of art.