Mandalas are a geometric design intended to represent the universe or cosmos. They began as a spiritual drawing used in Buddhist and Hindu practises. Mandalas are typically an Eastern cultural practise, however they are becoming accepted in the West as well. Tibetan monks would create sand mandalas with intricate symbols and full of colour to use during religious practises.
A kolam is a symbol of invitation. Traditionally kolams were created using flour to invite small creatures such as birds to eat it, thus welcoming other beings into one's home and everyday life. A daily tribute to harmonious co-existence. The kolams are symbols for prosperity and wealth, warding off evil spirits who can not enter the complex geometric designs.
Rice flour paintings called Kolam
Below, an American artist creates a contemporary take on sand mandalas.
Joe Mangrum, sand paintings
Here is another example of art that is ephemeral. Andy Goldsworthy collaborates with nature to create intricate installations. He only uses materials on the site he finds them in. Instead of glue or nails to bind artworks, he uses thorns and sticks that he finds while on site. I have chosen to show you some of his works that he has created in a circular or radial design like the mandalas and kolams.
You are to create your own mandala. It could be traditional in design like the Tibetan sand mandalas or the kolams. Or, it could be a contemporary version like Mangrum's or Goldsworthy's work. You can choose from sand, flour or found items to complete your mandala. These will be presented outside where they will wear away and change throughout the day.
- Brainstorm about yourself. Who are you? What colours, materials, patterns and textures represent you?
- Choose a style of mandala to create. If you choose to make a piece like Andy Goldsworthy think about how you can collect materials in an unobtrusive way that will not harm the environment. If a lot of materials are needed these will need to be collected outside of class time and brought in.
- Create a design. Begin by drawing a framework to guide the creation of your mandala. Create a central design and build up repeating shapes around this to create rings of pattern.
- Once you have completed your design and there is good weather we will go out as a class to create your mandalas. Your design will need to be created within the double lesson.
- Photograph your mandala. Try to get a clear photo that shows the whole mandala from above.
- Stick a picture of it in your book and evaluate, 200 words. Did it work out as intended? What went well? What didn’t go well? How could you improve?
- Brainstorm page.
- Mandala Design.
- Photograph of mandala.
- Evaluation 200 words.