While everyone was waiting for their book to be arrive, we were given some general guidelines to use in creating our personal mandala. Generally mandalas contain a lot of symbolism and meaning to the maker.
We each chose a subject and explored our personal symbols and the meaning of colors to express our topic. My mandala, below, is based on friendship.
I am the small blue (loyal) circle in the center surrounded by the friendly (orange) circle. The pink (loving) open hands are a sign of welcoming. My friends are represented by the blue (loyal) stylized figures in the outer circle. The quilted spirals represent femininity and fertility. The yellow (happy) circles symbolize infinity, eternity. I have used circles in my artwork for many years, so the circular mandala was a very comfortable shape for me to work with. However, packing so much meaning into every section was quite the challenge.
I started with a bluish-yellow piece of hand-painted fabric for the background. I cut the hands out of organza with a hot pen tool which fused the edges. I laid them out to determine how large the circle needed to be. I then made a stencil out of freezer paper for the stylized figures. I used dye sticks throughout the piece. The red and yellow circles on the outside edge were made using tissue paper that releases its dye when wet.
The final piece was quilted. It measures 17" square.
You can view all the mandalas at http://webpages.charter.net/sbleiweiss/muse/mandalas.htm