In the studio-Mandalas

Mindful Mandalas

Mandala collection.

Mandala collection.

 

During multicultural art week at Little Loft, I presented several examples of mandalas created with varied materials and in different settings. I asked the kids to share their observations and talk about what the mandalas had in common. "They are circles." Repeating patterns." "It looks like it took a long time to make them."

After that, I introduced the Sanskrit word mandala and they tried to guess it's meaning. Many of them guessed "circle." Correct! I explained that in Hinduism and Buddhism mandalas are a spiritual symbol used in rituals to represent the universe. A great discussion emerged about why a circle might be used to represent the universe. I pointed to a picture of two young monks making a mandala from colorful sand on a temple floor. We talked about how the monks use the mandalas as an aid in meditation. I had them choose a mandala to focus on for 30 seconds and  asked them to share their experience. Some noticed that they seemed to move in and out. Some felt relaxed and hypnotized.

Mandalas with markers.

Mandalas with markers.

I explained that mandalas can be made with a variety of materials and that we'd be exploring mandala making with natural materials. Each child went outside to collect materials they wanted to use. Some chose sticks, acorns, berries and even dirt! 

Honoring natural materials.

Honoring natural materials.

 

With our collection of treasures, we came back to the studio and I demonstrated how to draw concentric circles on a cardboard circle base. We used colorful beans and rice in addition to the found materials and I demonstrated how to add materials carefully to each layer.  Listening to Indian classical musical set a relaxing tone while we worked on our mandalas.

Mandalas are a fun, creative way to introduce mindfulness and connectedness while incorporating rhythm, balance and pattern.  Ideas for mandalas using things you may have at home:
Make a mini mandala with glue, beads and a yogurt/jar top.
Wet a coffee filter and use markers to create concentric or radial  patterns.
Gather up all the tiny toys from around the house, this looks so fun!

 

Shouldn't every day be fairy day?

 are you ever too old to be enchanted by fairies? Not at Little loft. our camp day dedicated to fairies began with wings waiting to be painted with blues and greens.

A table of fairy wings ready to be painted and clothesline dried.

A table of fairy wings ready to be painted and clothesline dried.

Then, these little fairies and their magical pets arrived.

Waylon the fairy + her symmetrical butterfly

Waylon the fairy + her symmetrical butterfly

Fairy + snail + ferns 

Fairy + snail + ferns 

 there was even an improptu fairy wedding......"Right this way, take your seats, the wedding is about to begin."

Preparations for a fairy wedding. In a tree, of course.

Preparations for a fairy wedding. In a tree, of course.

finally, we got to meet some of the newest fairies in the land

and a magical art filled day was had by all! 

Party Project: Woodland Party Time Terrariums

Any autumn birthdays out there? Try a woodland theme! Thanks to all the falling acorns, mosses, pinecones and branches there is some great stuff to squirrel away for fall projects. Can't wait till those leaves start changing! 

1. Collect some inspiring natural materials. Thanks, Mother Nature!

1. Collect some inspiring natural materials. Thanks, Mother Nature!

2. Invite some woodland friends. We found these wooden peg people at our local craft store. Add some faces, acrylic paint and felt ears, feathers or antlers.

2. Invite some woodland friends. We found these wooden peg people at our local craft store. Add some faces, acrylic paint and felt ears, feathers or antlers.

3. Gather mushrooms. Red and white Fimo red caps with a wire armature (paper clips).

3. Gather mushrooms. Red and white Fimo red caps with a wire armature (paper clips).

4. Have your party guests choose a jar, any clear one will do (these are plastic nut butter jars). Smush some modeling clay into the lid and start creating a mini woodland terrarium.

4. Have your party guests choose a jar, any clear one will do (these are plastic nut butter jars). Smush some modeling clay into the lid and start creating a mini woodland terrarium.

5. Send these little guys home with your friends as a thank you for coming to the party! 

5. Send these little guys home with your friends as a thank you for coming to the party!