focus your mind with the XYZen garden by jonathan odom
focus your mind with the XYZen garden by jonathan odom focus your mind with the XYZen garden by jonathan odom
mar 24, 2015

focus your mind with the XYZen garden by jonathan odom

focus your mind with the XYZen garden by jonathan odom
all images courtesy of jonathan odom




breathe in, breathe out. repeat. the zen philosophy urges followers to sit back, relax, and go about their days with a sense of mindfulness and purpose. unfortunately in modern times, finding the time and ability to disconnect from technology, busy schedules, and sensory overload is next to impossible. that’s why jonathan odom of instructables designed the ‘XYZen garden’. the device works exactly like an etch-a-sketch, allowing users to create their own miniature zen garden. it demands concentration, giving no option other than to focus on the present moment.

XYZen garden jonathan odom designboom
right-hand crank moving x-axis




XYZen is made of a wooden base, a custom pulley system, brass tubing and hardware. hand-turned cranks move a stylus along a gantry and with concentration, patience, and practice, users can draw just about anything. the piece was constructed with a combination of basic wood tools, traditional japanese tools, and a laser-cutter–for consistent and precise pulleys. for an extensive tutorial complete with shop drawings and templates, click here.


video courtesy of instructables


y-axis gantry

XYZen garden jonathan odom designboom
purple garnet sand provides contrast and luster

XYZen garden jonathan odom designboom
a deep sea fishing line and pulley system creates movement

drawing takes concentration, just like an etch-a-sketch



designboom has received this project through its ‘DIY submissions’ feature, which welcomes readers to submit their own work for publication. see more designboom readers submissions here.

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

design news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
492,115 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample