Have you ever been introduced to something new – a song, word, or concept – that now seems to be popping up wherever you go? I have recently had the same situation, as I have many times before. Throughout my recent schedule changes, hobbies, and experience in the field of Art Education I have been noticing a continuing similarity between the three. Yes, I know schedules, random hobbies, and my experiences at school sometimes don’t seem like they coexist in the same realm; mostly there is only time for one or two of those activities at a time. However, my busy life has been brought together with one growing artistic design.
This design is known as the mandala. It is a circular, symmetric series of shapes and colors that we may see on the covers of coloring books, in yoga studios, or in your art classroom. Those three places, in fact, are where I first saw this beautiful and intriguing design. Because school, jobs, and general college student responsibilities become so draining, I decided to purchase one of those newly popular “adult coloring books,” in which I saw this mandala. I decided to buy it because it was the first time I saw anything like a mandala. I was drawn to its intricacy but also its delicacy in something so deliberate. Ever since having it in my possession it has popped up more and more, to my delight (it starts to have a sort of calming affect; that somehow the uniform circle makes you feel orderly in your chaotic mind). Next it came about when walking into one of my yoga classes. A local artist had painted one on a table littered with papers. I saw a small fraction of the design and immediately moved everything away to get the full experience. It was beautiful. Then, for the third time, the mandala showed up during my five week field placement. It was one of the lessons being taught by my co-op, and interestingly enough the first lesson she let me teach on my own. The students immediately took to it and allowed their creativity to run wild.
It has been interesting to see how this new aesthetic has impacted very different parts of my life for the better. It makes me happy every time I come across one because they celebrate strength, growth, and balance within something so chaotic and intricate. No two are the same and that is how I explained it to my students. They showed visible focus and were more calm working on a project than I had ever seen them. As an artist, I appreciate so much when small but powerful things like this come into my life and that I can share it with others. It is worth the buy if you feel stressed and would like to pass some time coloring some beautiful mandalas; and maybe research the design, it may open up some inspiring doors.