Monday, September 29, 2008

Mandala Workshop

The Frayed Edges had a fantastic workshop on Mandalas with Natasha Kempers Cullen while I was in Maine.

Isn't this a wonderful studio entrance!?


We started by drawing an improvisational mandala. We were trying to think a bit about what our hopes for the day might be. I think we did that first mandala for 30 minutes.


I used handwriting as fill in those background sections. I drew lots of little icons of things I want in my life. I'm not sure if that's toast or a chef's hat in the 11 o'clock position.

We were free to take breaks as needed to peruse Nastasha's inspiring studio.


Here are Kathy and Sarah's work spaces. They like colored pencils.


More inspiration.


My beautiful friends. (In fact, Sarah just blogged about our workshop too. Read her recap here.)


Next we all picked out a tiny magazine clipping from a collection that Natasha put out for us. Each would become the center of a new mandala made from magazine clippings.

Here is my purple and gray piece. I was really pleased with it.


I loved incorporating those faces and figures, plus the wonkiness of the circles.

I'm not sure what this expression says. Kathy?


Next we all chose a word from Natasha's Angel Word Basket. Kate and both chose "adventure." We made mandalas using only words. (Well, Kate added those orange wedges for color at the end.) Kate was also facing some demanding time issues with her life, work and family. So Hannah cut out that big fancy watch for her.


Here is my "adventure" mandala.


I think Sarah had "flexibility" and Hannah had "truth." I don't remember what word Kathy had.

More inspiration.


Then we talked a lot about how we could use other types of mandala exercises for brainstorming, growth or creative problem solving. Lastly we did six huge round robin mandalas. Yikes!

We started with larger paper --- probably 20x20. We each drew the beginnings of a mandala in the center and passed it around the studio to the next person. Five minutes each. We did two complete rounds. Five minutes each!


That is not enough time to agonize over what to do. You just have to dive in.


This exercise was filled with laughter and agony. Sometimes the ideas flowed right out and looked great. Other times nothing came clear and then even what I did add to the mandala looked lame. Usually, the next person was able to improve on the mess.


Eventually I resorted to adding words which I really enjoyed. We didn't have any rules, so I'm not sure what made me think I shouldn't be adding words.

Here is my finished mandala. I started with the house, mug, hand and heart in the middle.


I'm not sure who started each of these. They really did become completely collaborative.

Aren't those leaves fabulous?


I think some of us tried to avoid cliche images (like houses, hearts, hands, etc....) but really, they are wonderful symbols and I'm so glad we embraced them.

Lots of less predictable images in this one with the logs and the flames. I love it.


This one is a bit celestial.


Isn't this a surprise? I was stuck when it came to me, so I got really crazy and added arms, shoulders, chin and hair to the hands that were already part of the central mandala. Sarah added the skirt and I love that we went out of the box.


Here is Kate's. It has such a sweet garden quality about it. I will admit that I added those awful squares and circles in the corners at the end. Yuck. She and I agreed that they should be cut off. I hope she has slashed them away by now. We might have been able to improve on them, but it was close to the last round, so not enough time to really incorporate them into the whole drawing.


Do I anticipate making any mandala quilts? No. Do I anticipate using a mandala as a tool for spiritual growth? No. Do I plan to fill may sketch book with pages and pages of mandalas? No. Did I have fun? Yes. Did I stretch my creative muscles. Yes.

It was all good.


Sarah accidently drove into a giant hidden pot hole in Nastasha's driveway. The grass was grown up and she had no idea what she was getting into -- literally.


Natasha's husband and friend were able to yank her out in a snap. I hope Sarah won't be annoyed that I've posted this picture. Isn't that what blogs are for?

1 comment:

Kristin L said...

The mandala exercises look interesting. I really like the round robin one for a group -- especially one as close as yours.

I hope Sarah's car didn't suffer too badly.