Mandalas - Marking My Crossroads

skyisland mandalas: I spent the month of July working on mandala patterns in lampworked beads. The mandala based on the numbers four and eight is an old friend of mine; my senior project in college was a collection of large, organic mandala paintings of leaves and ice and snow and rock.skyisland mandalas: I spent the month of July working on mandala patterns in lampworked beads. The mandala based on the numbers four and eight is an old friend of mine; my senior project in college was a collection of large, organic mandala paintings of leaves and ice and snow and rock.I'm not exactly a child of the 60's, although I went to a school that seemed like the last oasis for offspring of flower children, where the high schoolers with long hair -- boys with untrimmed beards and girls in peasant skirts or patchworked overalls -- celebrated alongside us younger free spirits at the school's art festivals, taught us folk dancing and drawing, and hung out with us in the park playing games right up until the banjo-playing, comic-strip-illustrating, dancing-on-the-playground hippies were suddenly gone after one summer in the 70's and the next fall kids came back with spiked black hair and black fingernails...

Oops, sorry for the nostalgic digression. What I really meant to emphasize was that all the grooviness that lingered in that school exposed me to more than I thought it did at the time. Different ways of living, thinking, and doing art.

I was always in love with art, from the time my dad showed me how to hold a pencil to draw. My home room teacher, Betty Mayther, let me do pretty much what I wanted as far as art went, and exposed her class to pottery (including raku) and had us painting murals and making mosaic tiles to decorate the playground's retaining wall when we were in grade school. I think if I took a walk by the school, I might be able to find the little pieces of glass I puzzled together 35 years ago.

skyisland mandala - seven: One of my new skyisland mandalas, based on the number seven.skyisland mandala - seven: One of my new skyisland mandalas, based on the number seven.As anonymous as any of us might feel as artists, we leave something behind as we wander through life. The mosaic at my old school. A series of paintings I did as my final project in college... several were sold, and I gave several to my sister when I started wandering around the country. Somehow my sister purchased the missing paintings and reunited the entire series, when I was lost somewhere in Colorado (or was it Ohio?)

Looking back, I can see that the completion of that series marked a turning point in my life, a crossroads where I took a wrong turn and lost myself. Looking at the paintings now, I see them not as something I did a long time ago, but as the last piece of inspiration I had, until now.

The idea for that series came to me in the middle of the night, in a half-sleep state. I was under pressure to come up with a concept for my senior project and nothing I had thought of so far felt right.

What I saw in my mind woke me up and had me sketching at my bedside so it wouldn't slip away. I painted the pictures, weeks of grueling work (don't let anyone tell you art school is easy!) and was awarded top grades by the professors for my work. When I see the paintings hanging in my sister's house, I feel like it wasn't so long ago that I finished them. They're as alive and meaningful to me now as they were then.


Rock - a mandala in acrylic: This was one of series for my senior project. The light wasn't optimal when I shot this photo, so there's some distracting glare that hides some of the detail.Rock - a mandala in acrylic: This was one of series for my senior project. The light wasn't optimal when I shot this photo, so there's some distracting glare that hides some of the detail. Ice - a mandala in acrylic: Another in my senior project series. Sorry about the leafy bits overhanging this one! You can also see one of my sister's decorative beads on a mandrel that are scattered in her plants and garden.Ice - a mandala in acrylic: Another in my senior project series. Sorry about the leafy bits overhanging this one! You can also see one of my sister's decorative beads on a mandrel that are scattered in her plants and garden. Stone - a skyisland mandala: This new lampworked skyisland mandala lentil focal bead is based directly on my work of two decades ago. The bead has been tumbled to give it the feel of a smooth stone.Stone - a skyisland mandala: This new lampworked skyisland mandala lentil focal bead is based directly on my work of two decades ago. The bead has been tumbled to give it the feel of a smooth stone.


They were a series of mandalas, subtle circles of fours and eights, layered with dozens of layers of washes using stencils I'd made from pressed leaves, and detailed with lines to resemble cracks in ice or rock.

Shortly after I was done with them, I left... left home, left myself, left art. But I came back, and drawing mandalas was one of the things that made it possible to find myself again and come home. That was four years ago, and I still could not do art.

Baroquen skyisland mandala necklace: The necklace features one of my "skyisland mandala" focal beads as the centerpiece.Baroquen skyisland mandala necklace: The necklace features one of my "skyisland mandala" focal beads as the centerpiece.Recently I decided to participate in TotusMel's "tatting is not a lost art" challenge, and I finally felt that same thrill of inspiration that I felt so long ago when I woke up in the night to draw mandalas of leaves. Her medallions are mandalas, and it seemed logical and right that I should make a mandala bead to sit in the center, so I worked on the concept of a lampworked mandala bead for a month. Some of the beads were pathetic, and I won't show them here. But some things started making sense as I made them, and I started to feel like an artist again. I'm so pleased with how perfectly the one I chose for the challenge piece fit my vision.

I feel like each skyisland mandala is part of my redemption. Each one I've made has given me back a piece of my soul.

amazing

That's true. The pictures are great. I can't believe that you made all that. Its amazing, my sister was taking art school, she is only 9 years and she said it is really hard. She did some things and made me a magnet. I loved it, so cute. Thank you for the post.

Tell your sister to keep it up!

Thanks for the nice feedback. Art school is hard work, and art can be as challenging as anything else we try to do, so tell your sister to stick to it and make the most of her talent!

Wow! Especially that last

Wow! Especially that last Picture of the Mandala Neclace, I love it!

Amazing!

These mandala are awesome! I'll be scouring through your works, it would make great christmas gifts for someone who share the spirit you had when you first came up with the mandala. It's impressive how you've let your inspiration lead you to. Keep up the fantastic work!

Love the skyisland mandala

Wow, the skyisland mandala is mesmorizing, it almost seems alive. Continue to let the creative juices flow and more of this unforgettable work will be created. Amazing what you did on the lampworked skyisland mandala lentil focal bead, I would love to see more.

Wow!

Gorgeous work, with a truly inspiring "back story" :o)

Your mandalas are truly

Your mandalas are truly amazing pieces of art! Happy birthday right back at you & I'm so glad you like your necklace!

Thanks!

Thanks for popping in, Pamela! I love the tatted choker so much (in case anyone wonders what I got, click here to see)!