Young people have lots of emotion, and sometimes need lots and lots of paper. Thank goodness for art!
After creating mandalas individually at Art Club, we played an art game: each starts with a blank paper, and we take turns calling out what the next “ring” of the mandala will include. Of course, despite the system, each one came out wonderfully unique:
The last one is mine, because I couldn’t resist joining them–who could? Unfortunately, a few artists left before I could get a picture of their mandalas.
Can you spot the fish, sandwiches, water and hearts in each mandala?
I love mandalas in whatever form they take, however temporary or permanent, colorful, simple, filled with words or My Little Ponies or scribbles. My hunch was right that the young artists would enjoy them, too, and create some beautiful designs.
I showed them some Tibetan mandalas online, and my freehand samples:
The young artists’ creations:
Mandalas have long been a favorite of mine—etched, embroidered, drawn, painted, inked, done with full focus or my eyes half-shut. Mandalas are good medicine for a lot of troubles, very meditative and methodical—even when asymmetrical.
I don’t use a circular template (which has rather small circles) or a drawing compass, because freehand makes my heart sing. I’d go slightly insane if I tried for mandala perfection, so I enjoy artistic irregularity to the fullest. I was happily surprised to find other beautiful mandalas that are freehand.
I’ve been gathering mandalas I’ve created to show the 6-10 year old kids at Art Club for an upcoming class. I’m sharing some of them here first, and remembering all my many, many mandalas drawn on clothing, postcards, letters, disposable napkins, walls (legally, of course), menus, train schedules and play bills that I’ve lost track of. Maybe they’re still out in the world somewhere…
Aside from recent embroidery projects, the majority of my mandalas have been monotone, usually black ink using Koh-I-Noor Rapidographs—my best friends for many years (in a totally not sad way). But for the Art Club session on mandalas, I’m working on samples that would have pleased every person (there were a lot) during my teen years who said “Why don’t you try color? Just a little wouldn’t hurt, right?” That I like black ink never seemed to make an impression. Ah well.
Homemade trees make an appearance around my house fairly often: crocheted, knitted, stitched, felted, wooden, paper, cardboard, and simple branches in vases filled with sand. So when excited kids, air dry modeling clay and small bits of trees get together, yet another homemade forest is born:
You can let the clay dry with the mini-trees stuck in the stand, but the branches dry out in a few days and the needles make a pretty mess. I recommend making the clay base taller with a larger, deeper hole, leaving out the branch until the clay is dry. This creates a reusable pine stand that can make appearances in any season, for colorful ponies and woodland animals alike.