GIFTS FOR THE RIVER: WITNESS MANDALA,
This mandala was made as part of the Gifts for the River projects. It is made from shells and bones found in the river right beside where it was made, as well as snakeskins and deceased monarch butterflies and litter found in these woods. Hand- painted Kentucky coffee bean pods from a local tree are also included.
Mandala making for me is less of an art than it is an exploration and conversation with place. It’s a chance to search, to explore, to observe closely, to gather, to honor, and to do my part to care for the earth, while also appeasing my seeker eyes, my gathering hands, and my maker heart. Through the making, it’s a chance to slow down, sit low, connect through body and breath, to listen, and to have a quiet visual conversation with all that surrounds me. Sometimes that conversation takes the form of an apology, sometimes an offering, sometimes a new story, sometimes an honoring of spent lives and turned cycles, sometimes it’s just playing, and always it's an honoring of place and experience of place. This particular conversation led to me spending the next three months in this beautifully nurturing area of the woods beside the river, making work for the Gifts for the River project.
After making and documenting the mandala, all non-organic materials are removed and only organic materials are left behind.
To learn more about the Gifts for the River project or to submit your own river stories, art, or experiences, visit www.giftsfortheriver.com