Finding Your Whole

P1030737Last December, I held a mandala-only workshop for the first time. These are the circular “gwiazdy” (star) style wycinanki, but I called it “mandala” because it seems to be a more familiar term. I learned that we needed about an hour more than I scheduled. I also learned that it is better to pick out your color combinations first to save time later. When I work on these myself, I rarely do it one sitting so this was a good learning experience for me.

Everyone worked on their background shapes and designs before cutting began, then I shared my technique for cutting, folding and working in layers. It just takes patience and practice. Then I shared my technique for adding colorful layered shapes in the right sizes.

The wonderful thing about this technique is no matter what your skill level, the final product always looks whole and complete and is a true reflection of the maker. Here are a few of the pieces completed in class. I look forward to doing this workshop again!


Finished work!

Finished work!

Detail view. Even our "flaws" make our work complete and interesting. These are stories of our lives at that point in time.

Detail view. Even our “flaws” make our work complete and interesting. These are stories of our lives at that point in time.


This set of mandalas were inspired by the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. Created by folding a single piece of black paper and cutting it sections at a time, the process can be very meditative as well as the result. After the base is cut, the colored pieces are then layered on top.

I plan to do a short demo on this technique in my studio at tomorrow’s open house, The Building’s World Famous Summer Spectacular. The final four “Element Series” pieces will be on display together before “Earth” gets shipped off to a group show in Massachusetts. I’m thinking of having a workshop on this technique if I can generate enough interest… the process takes patience but the results can be so satisfying!Mandalas in progress

Water in progressMandalas in progress_wind and earth




The Path to Serenity

Last month I created one of my gwiazdy (star)/mandala pieces as a custom order.  I call the final piece “Serenity”, hence the title of this blog. In this post I am sharing some photos showing the process from beginning to end.

There were a few specific requests by the client before starting this project, but otherwise I was left to my own devices. The color palatte needed to be “greens and purples” on white to match some existing accessories. It needed to fit an existing frame, about 25″ x 26″. There were some shapes from some earlier work of mine that were favored. And guiding my final choices were the words “bright” and “serene” that I picked up from our conversations.

Option B

The first thing I did was cut out the base. I ended up creating another one because I decided the first one didn’t quite feel right based on my conversations with the client. My client made the final decision, and she chose the second one as well. Going with my gut pays off!

My next step was to create a color palette that I would use to make the colorful layers in the work. I find that having this decided ahead of time really helps. Now the fun really starts!

I often create and play with several options as I figure out what works. Gluing the final choices onto the base is one of the final steps, because once it is glued, it can be difficult to change later.  Here are a few pictures showing different stages.

Figuring out colors and placement

Ready for layering

Pieces ready for gluing onto base

More ready for gluing to base

Making choices, nothing glued onto base yet

And finally, it’s ready!

Final piece ready for framing!

There are up to ten layers of paper in places, all cut by hand.  To me, the process and final result share a meditative quality.  This piece now provides a bright and serene focal point above a fireplace in a lovely room!