(Last year's mandala created by twelve determined individuals. See below.)
I think we can agree that we are all looking for something positive right about now! I have something. One year ago, I hosted a co-operative mandala project in my studio that, because of social distancing, required people to sign up in advance for specific, separate time slots. The idea was to reinforce the fact that although we may not come in contact with each other, we are still very much connected! Twelve thoughtful people signed up and showed up for this little event, taking time out of their busy lives just to place a few objects! The circle and message was beautiful and poignant!
It is so hard to believe that just one year ago we were masking up and social distancing! Recalling the event and thinking about how we now interact differently today, in most cases, I feel more hopeful! So to celebrate how far we have come, I am hosting a Holiday Open Studio for people to create another co-operative mandala and this time there will be no time slots! We can all see each other and interact as we create! I will also have lots of cards and gifts available for your last minute shopping. I can't wait!
Stop by 211 Columbus Avenue, Second Floor, Studio 218, Pawtucket, Rhode Island on Saturday, December 10 from 11 am to 4 pm and contribute to the circle and do a little last minute holiday shopping.
(Video of last year's twelve person circle)
I will be teaching a new workshop next week, "Family Circles". I love this part of the process when I am coming up with ideas and trying them out on myself. The very best way to approach a workshop, creation of a mandala, or often life in general, is to go into it with no expectations. Surprises can be beautiful!
As I explore this often explosive or heavy topic, I realized there are so many ways to go with this workshop, and not all are sideways! The first run through with this exercise, I discovered I was trying very hard to represent each person equally and I learned a few things about my true desire to appreciate and respect everyone in my circle.
In my second run through, I thought about "family" in a much broader sense. I recently visited Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the town in which I was born and lived until I was twelve years old. I thought about my ancestors who had emigrated there and their challenges with mountains, water, and the harsh steel and coal industry that contributed to one of the worst disasters in America with over 2,200 thousand lives lost in a day. (Read about The 1889 Johnstown Flood, "How America’s Most Powerful Men Caused America’s Deadliest Flood" here. See incredible images here. Or watch David McCullough's documentary here.)
I recalled my great-grandfather Norman Stewart's story of his experience in The Johnstown Flood when he was eight years old. I thought about the hillside where I recently blew through my car breaks because I had forgotten how to drive in the mountains. I remembered how the snow used to get covered with a layer of soot from the steel mills and ash that was put on the roads instead of salt. When the snow began to melt, it would create a distinct pattern of little black and white circles. I also remembered the distinct orange color all the roofs that would eventually turn because of the iron in the air. I considered my ancestors' character and how some of their grit, perseverance, and complicated connection with the land has in some way been passed down to me. How the land changed the people and the people changed the land. The haves and the have-nots. The mountains and the winters. The effort and the blessings. My circle, the second time around, became an illustration honoring the place and people from my past.
Family Circle Mandala Workshop!
Now it is your turn! Do something interesting! For the brave, curious, or those just wanting to consider their family through insightful eyes, "Family Circles" Mandala Workshop is next week! November 16, 6-8 PM at Blithewold Mansion and Arboretum, Bristol, Rhode Island. Space is limited. Register here.
So there are multiple ways to think about "Family
Circles" in the upcoming workshop . . .
1) Create a circle with objects to represent your immediate or extended family members
2) Make a circle that represents one particular person, past or present, who has made an impact or who may need some extra love right now.
3) View a larger perspective of your family genealogy
4) Create an interpretation of passed down family traits
5) Create a circle representing your children or grandchildren and order a print for them.
(Consider the "add on" option to have your mandala photographed, edited, printed, and shipped to you to save or give as a gift. Add on available with registration.)
Other upcoming workshops at Blithewold include "Re-centering" (a very popular workshop), and "Rock Stories". All of my classes are subject driven, so take a look at the descriptions online and see if one speaks to you. Read and register here!
Interested in hosting your own workshop? I can come to your group in New England. Just shoot me an email and we can discuss options! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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