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This space is for publishing my last searches, interview, events wich I participate involving Mandala. 
I hope that across this space the harmony and the power of mandala could flowing in everyone as a big gift. 
I hope to enrich this space and create a web of interested people in the Mandala and its world.
Thank you and enjoy your reading!

Talking with Sue O'Kieffe about Mandala

posted Sep 7, 2015, 3:21 AM by Annalisa Ippolito   [ updated Sep 7, 2015, 3:22 AM ]

Sue O' Kieffe
is a physical and emotional intuitive and visionary artist, she make mandala with different tools inspired by nature. 
We are in touch from many years and I have always looked her work with admiration and curiosity, now it is time to share some words about her work with all readers of  mandalaweb.info. 

Annalisa: Hi, Sue when did you first encounter the Mandala?

Sue: Hi Annalissa.  Thanks for asking me to do this interview and be part of your website.
I remember looking at posters of Hindu mandalas when I was in high school and college, but they didn't make much sense to me. They confused my Western mind. I would say my first conscious memory of mandalas was probably a  coloring book that I purchased for a friend when I was in college. I remember liking the patterns and I thought they would be fun to color. 
And yet it seems like I have always been aware of the mandala form. I do believe that I came into this lifetime to be part of a world wide community creating mandala art to bring healing and light to humanity at a time when there is truly a need.

A: Do you remember your first Mandala?

S: Yes I do. I had to think about it to remember which was probably my first. One afternoon at work, probably 15 years ago, I was feeling a little bored with what I was supposed to be doing. I sat with a piece of paper and pen, and my first mandala came through. It was made up of variations on the word 'haha'. I'm sending it along so you can see it.

A: What are your favorite techniques to make Mandala?

S: I have been creating mandalas in Photoshop using my own photographs of nature since 2005, and I really didn't think I would ever do it differently. But life is full of surprise and change, isn't it? Early this year I became curious about creating mandalas away from the computer. I felt the nudge to paint on stones. I wanted to learn to create mandalas using a compass and working with a grid. And I've explored a new free drawing software program called Krita (https://krita.org). So right now I am in a period of lots of exploration and I really like it. I am aware of and admitting to the differences I feel between the digital and hand-drawn worlds. Creating by hand does bring forth a more meditative state than creating digitally; but the digital realm is still my first love. So to answer your question, I don't really have a favorite technique. Whatever way I choose to create that mandala transmission is my favorite in that moment!

A: You say about yourself that you are an “intuitive and visionary artist” could you share with us the meaning of your sentence?

: I am intuitive. I listen deeply when I am out in nature for what it wants to share with me and I use that information when I create mandalas from my photographs. I also create mandalas by listening to that 'still small voice within' when I'm in meditation and even more while in the creative zone (since I find creating mandala art to be a meditation of its own. When I first started creating my online presence ten years ago, I began calling myself a visionary artist. Today I would say that a more accurate description would be 'contemplative intuitive artist.' Contemplative spirituality, as I understand it, is about living with an awareness of God's presence in my life. I can't create this art and not believe that!

A: Have you met people that misunderstood your art or your approach to mandala making? 

S: It surprises me, sometimes, that everyone doesn't know what mandalas are! I have explained to quite a few people what I know mandalas to be to the best of my understanding. And yes, there have been some who have been critical of me creating mandalas using a digital medium. I've finally come to understand that really has more to do with them and their beliefs than it has to do with me.

A: Who or What is or has been an inspiration for you in your part with the Mandala?
S: Certainly nature has been hugely inspirational. The study of Sacred Geometry has also played a big part in the way that I look at how I create and what I feel wants to be communicated in mandala form.  I have a book still waiting to be read called The Alchemical Mandala, about the mandala in the Western world, that I am looking forward to exploring more in depth soon. I want to learn more about their history and relationship to magic making and Hermetic mysticism. There is always something new to learn, isn't there?

A: Could you share with us some words about your next projects with the Mandala?
S: I have just re-opened my shop on Etsy (https://SacredCircleMandalas.Etsy.com) after having closed the shop two years ago. I have a variety of mandala art in my shop. Currently I have painted mandala stones, greeting cards, original digital prints listed, and I plan on listing coloring pages for digital download and prints of my hand drawn mandalas in the near future. I have also begun work on my 2016 Lightworker Mandala Calendar. The best place to learn more about that will be on my Facebook pages. (https://facebook.com/sueokieffe  and https://facebook.com/SacredCircleMandalas)

A: Thank you for your kindness.

S: It's been a pleasure, Annalisa.


Mandala at MIT

posted Oct 14, 2014, 5:53 AM by Annalisa Ippolito

I respectfully urge you who study the mystery,
don't pass your days and nights in vain.
Sekito Kisen, Sandokai

Mandala @ MIT
The Medicine Buddha: Harmony, Healing, and Well-Being

October 23 - November 1, 2014 
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Simmons Hall | 229 Vassar Street | Cambridge | MA 

Public viewing is free. Donations appreciated.

Public viewing hours are 11am-5pm on all day (except October 31, open until 7pm).


  • October 25, 5:30pm: Opening Ceremony
  • October 29, 7pm: (Tentative) Screening of "Rising Tide of Silence"
  • October 30, 1pm: Talk by Alan Wallace, at the MIT Media Lab
  • November 1, 2pm: Closing and Dismantling Ceremony

The Monks of Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery 

The monks of Gaden Shartse Dokhang Monastery are here with the blessing of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to share their culture, philosophy and arts. Historic Gaden Shartse Monastery was originally founded in Tibet in 1409 by Je Tsongkhapa.

About Mandala at MIT:

The purpose of this project is to increase social and cultural awareness in the participating communities by exploring the various dimensions of aesthetic and contemplative traditions. Art, music, and storytelling will be among the diverse disciplines we explore. Through these community-building exercises, we will help students share and develop a more positive attitude by acquiring basic tools for conflict resolution and peace building. 

Mandala @ MIT is a visionary and reflective exercise that hopes to encourage young minds to visualize and meditate about the positive qualities that they would like to see manifested in the world. It motivates them to express their ideas through art by symbols and patterns. The representation of positive qualities in an ideal world in the form of an artistic pattern has often been referred to as mandala by several cultures. 

Co-sponsored by Simmons Hall, MIT Office of Religious Life, Prajnopaya at MIT, and a generous gift from William R. (1956) and Betsy P. Leitch.

Mandala Solstice and blessed words

posted Jun 22, 2014, 1:03 AM by Annalisa Ippolito

The warmth of the sun's embrace, 

the gentle breeze swept in by incoming tide,
the rhythm of seasons, 
of new birth, 
death and recreation.
All these speak so clearly of your love, 
your power 
and your beauty. 
All are expressions of your creativity, 
and more importantly of yourself.
As an artist might share his personality 
within each brushstroke, 
so within the myriad colours of a butterfly's wing 
you share the exuberance of your love

© John Birch. 

Mandala from Africa

posted Mar 29, 2014, 8:45 AM by Annalisa Ippolito   [ updated Mar 31, 2014, 7:29 AM ]

Ronel E Duvenage is an artist from South Africa
that creates mandala in different kind of materials.
I found them very interesting and have asked her to share with us her experience with mandala.

Annalisa Ippolito: Hello Ronel, could you tell us when did you first encounter mandala? 
Ronel E Duvenage: In around 1995 I was sitting scribbling flower patterns, continuing with a flower inside a flower and the learned they form a mandala which was a new discovery for me, but felt very familiar in practising. Looking back at art I did when I started painting before, I always painted around something, like a cup, pot or plate...a circle form:) not realizing its a mandala.
I started living a more spiritual lifestyle in around 1995 coming "home to myself" after years of travelling, and discovered mandalas in being STILL and in contemplation times. I often felt Spiritually inspired and being the medium for Spiritual expression.

AI: How did you begin creating mandala?
RED: Always starting from the centre, creating patterns toward outside, any times in need for meditational practise, or when Spirit calls. I never planned or designed a mandala, it happens in the moment. I only measure the circles in pencil and all designs get painted directly by free hand. The stone mandalas also happens the same way, starting in the centre, placing each stone in color and shape I like and as I am called for.

AI: Do you remember your first mandala?
RED: yes, it was a huge purple flower design on bright green back ground painted with oil. (no picture available to)

I saw that you make your mandala in different artistic materials. How did you start the experience of creating crystals, gemstones, and glass beads mandalas?
RED: Over the years when I was painting a mandala, I had visions of me doing them with colored beads one day. I started with glass bead and hemp mandalas in around 2010. After turning 50 I experienced huge life healing changes and I became drawn to crystals and gemstones which I always loved and decided to use them with the glass beads and hemp designs creating Sacred Dream Mandalas. I came up with the term "Sacred Dream Mandalas" because some people feel they are like Dream catchers. I feel they are more of a mandala, but can be used as a dream catcher if a person chooses to have one with feathers and used it for that purpose. 

AI: There are differences between mandala painted and stone madala?
RED: Painted mandalas gives healing and contemplation thru viewing and feeling the colors, design and vibration of each mandala, also offering union and balance, bringing stillness during chaotic times. The crystals and gemstone mandalas offer the same but do have more special active healing abilities of their own because of the vibration of each stone. I get inspired by using colors and shapes of beads together, but find each stone offers the healing in their own unique way. The person who uses this type of mandala can experiece their own healing in what suits them by studying the various healing abilities the stones has to offer, if they wish too.  In both ways of creating these mandalas I am the medium/instrument for Spirit to come thru.

AI: Do you think that there are common prejudices or misunderstandings about mandala of stone? If so what are most common?
RED: I have not heard of any prejudices or misunderstandings of these yet.

What is or has been an inspiration for you? 
RED: Nature - flowers and plants especially the cacti family. 
Birds - they make their nests in a circle.
Moon, The Earth and Sun.
Indigenous Cultures - natural living lifestyles i.e. round housing structures and sacred gatherings.
Meditations and being still in contemplation for my own healing and becoming whole.
Spiritually inspired - Being open to spiritual guidance and being used as a medium/instrument for spiritual healing art forms.

AI: Thank you for sharing your experience and the beauty of your mandalas.
RED: Pleasure. 

For more information visit her website: http://www.mandala-africa.com/

Is Quilt an “heirloom mandala”?

posted Mar 6, 2013, 1:10 AM by Annalisa Ippolito

Judy Niemeyer is a professional quilt designer with almost 40 years of experience in the quilting industry, 20 years of which she has been designing quilt patterns.  Her techniques are based on a concept called paper piecing, which she has adapted over the years to help even quilters with minimal experience complete intricate and complex quilts.  She has personally trained thousands of people with her methods and has organized a team of instructors and shops to reach out to an even wider audience.  

When I saw the quilts, I realized that they contain a lot of mandala influenced shapes. I was curious about her inspiration and asked Mrs. Niemeyer some questions about her technique and the meanings behind her designs.
Here is our exchange.

Mrs. Niemeyer, first of all, many thank for sharing with all the readers of mandalaweb your experience, then let me say that your quilts are very “mandalic” art work. Can you please answer the following questions for me as you see them?
Annalisa: What is it a "quilt"? 
Judy: A quilt is a form of design that is completed by stitching together (historically by hand, but in the modern world, we have the option of using a machine) fabrics and textiles of various colors, textures, and contrasts to achieve a visually appealing impact but also has a very practical and utilitarian function in that it provides protection, warmth, and security.

A: What is the history of this special handmade cloth?
J: I actually have never really delved into the deep history of quilting, but understand the concept of a three layer blanket (with fabrics on the outsides and an insulating center dating back to Egyptian times.  However, the oldest versions of quilts inspired more so by creative expression than functionality appear to have originated in Europe.  In America, quilting has a strong history as early American settlers relied heavily on handmade quilts to provide bedding for their families.  With the production of printed textiles becoming possible during the Industrial Revolution, the expansion of the art of quilting was inevitable.  Over time, the art of stitching, creating intricate designs, challenging our sense of sight through creative color combinations, and reaching past simple shapes to “out-design” our fellow quilters has pushed creativity and design in quilting to new limits.  
In the last 50 years, the evolution of personal sewing machines and quilting machines, along with technology, have even expanded our abilities to create more intricate designs.  Our specific approach to quilting relies on paper as the foundation of guiding the process of combining difficult shapes, including points and curves, to create heirloom quality designs that even those relatively new to the art of quilting can complete.  

A: How do you choose the shape?
J: We have over 100 quilting designs, but in general, a constant in our designs is the star.  Paper piecing is an extremely effective method of bringing together many, many points in a perfect shape every time.  Other piecing methods just cannot achieve the precision and efficiency that you obtain through paper piecing due to the amount of pieces included in such complicated designs.  As a result, our patterns are designed to provide both large scale and small scale impact related to stars and curves.  
Additionally, because you can create such an organized design, our patterns are extremely geometric, with repetitious elements.  Quilting has historically evolved to provide visually stimulating results, which often are most appealing when geometric organization and repetitious elements are used as a focal point.  
I have always been drawn to the clean, simplicity of a traditional pattern, with many of the same units repeating themselves throughout.  As a result, my patterns continue to carry the common themes and elements to them that resemble mandala or circular design elements.

A:  Does each shape have a meaning or is it an expression of your creative intuition?
J:  I’ve never really considered whether the shapes that I create has meaning to me, but it certainly is an expression of some sort of creative intuition that has been specific to all things that appeal to me.  When I was younger, architecture, tile work, beams, unique textures, and organized spaces were most appealing to me.  Perhaps my strongest inspiration is the flower, to this day.  My garden, to this day, is where I go when I need to disconnect.  The color and the shape of what is in my garden always bring new ideas.  What I’ve learned through the years as well, is that scale, volume, and dimension also appeal to the senses.  If eight of something looks great, then sixteen of something just might look even better!  And usually, this is the case in quilt design.  

A: I saw a lot of stars, circles, knots, flowers, and frames that reminded me of the traditional shapes used in mandala. May we consider the quilt a sort of “heirloom mandala”?
J: Quilts can definitely be considered heirloom mandalas as they are quite often designs that spiral out from a center and envoke emotion in those who see them.  They are also usually inspired by something, whether it be the way someone selects their colors or the actual shapes and designs they choose to repeat in the design.  It really represents what people think and feel about being creative.  Additionally, most quilters find the actual process of making the quilt to be grounding, providing focus, releasing stress, and leading to a stronger connection with whatever inspires them.
A: Do the shapes used for a quilt have a special meaning?
J: In the case of the patterns that I have designed, the special meaning wasn’t necessarily inspired by something specific in my own life, but more so from the tradition that lies in the art of quilting in general.  The patterns I tend to migrate to are those that have lots of points, a central feature, and have also be traditional heirlooms in the quilting industry, accomplished by only the most sophisticated piecers.  I wanted to give everyone the chance to make these designs and do them well.  From there, I have added my own ideas to take the pattern from its traditional roots to something that showcases exactly how useful of a tool the paper is in allowing you to take a quilting project to levels that even the most sophisticated piecers would be seriously challenged to accomplish.

A: How do people create a quilt? It is a long process and how much time do you need?
J: More experienced piecers that use our technique are able to complete many of our designs in a matter of a few days of dedicated quilting.  We have also worked to develop cutting techniques to make cutting out the quilt and organizing it for sewing a very quick process.  We incorporate processes to strip piece quilts (sew multiple papers to one piece of fabric) and speed piece the foundation units (sew the same piece of fabric on to many units at one time).  We also minimize the possibilities of errors by encouraging points to float, providing easy guides and approaches for stabilizing the sewing of curves, and help our students understand strategic approaches for sewing everything together and pressing the fabric on the back (ironing) that result in the optimal construction of the quilt top.  
The process can be a long one if you are new, but most of the time is involved in people trying to choose their colors and planning for the project.  As a result, some people end up taking years to complete one quilt.  

A: Is it a project that you can do alone or is it better to make a quilt in a group?
J: In most cases, it is a project you complete on your own because most people complete them to give to someone special to them or for their own collection.  However, many of our patterns have also been done by a group.  In these cases, it primarily because they are collectively making it for a common goal or for a common person (group of people).  That being said, even if you are making the quilt for yourself, many people do this activity in a group setting, attending workshops and retreats.  Quilting tends to bring people together and create bonds similar to how competing in a team sport or attending an inspirational retreat might.  

A: Where we can find an original quilt? 
J:You can see samples of our quilts on our website at http://www.quiltworx.com or visit us on Pinterest or Facebook. Our Pinterest page is Quiltworx Judy Niemeyer and our Facebook page is Quiltworx.com.  Quiltworx.com is looking forward to continuing the publication of patterns that inspire others for many many years into our future.  For as long as people continue to enjoy and support what we do, we will continue to produce designs that challenge quilters around the world to expand their awareness of what is possible.  We appreciate the opportunity to talk to you about what we do and hope that this interview helps link the art of quilting with mandala design!

A:  Thank you again for all your words

For more info visit the website http://www.quiltworx.com 

Talking with Adam Blatner about mandala

posted Dec 20, 2012, 9:31 AM by Annalisa Ippolito

It is a great pleasure and honour for me exchange some words with Adam Blatner about Mandala.
In his blog Mr. Blatner wrote about himself “is a multi-faceted fellow: amateur philosopher, contemplateur of contemporary cultural trends, confabulator (i.e., one who at times brazenly makes stuff up, like the word “contemplateur” -- meaning one who thinks about stuff), playful part-elf, promoter of imagination as well as more rational modes of thought, and so forth.”
During his long experience with people like a “depth-socio-psychologist” he studied and used mandala. I asked him to share with us some of his experience.
Annalisa Ippolito: Mr. Blatner, could you tell us about your experience with Mandala? How did you begin creating and studying mandalas?
Adam Blatner : I started around 1966 with a variety of designs such as the Chartres Labyrinth, but when the fashion of “buttons” was popular around 1973- 1980, I began to fiddle with geometry, small star-figures with designs in them, especially forms that involves 5 - 13 points, sometimes more or less.
A: In your texts you described the importance of archetypes. What differences between the traditional Tibetan Mandala and personal mandala in relation with “archetypes”?
AB: archetypes as described on my website are simply the imaginal expression of the mind's tendency to perceive and impose meanings on its perceptions and creations. Regarding the mandala, there is an innate tendency to find a center, and to perceive that things tend to relate to each other and the center in terms of layers and opposites, so geometry and circles are part of this. They also offer a satisfying aesthetic sense of wholeness.
A: Can you tell us something about your Mandalas?
AB: I confess that they're doodles, well organized. I make little effort to be perfect, but rather discover that if the pictures end up being somewhat symmetrical---often superimposed on some geometric scaffold, a square, a seven-pointed or nine-pointed star, with little sub-circles around the points, for example, it ends up looking interesting. My own fun is then discovering configurations that are amusing and interesting in the doodles. One can imagine “meanings” for the different configurations, but originally they just came forth through what seemed like random movements of my hand holding the pencil or pen. Often I do a pencil drawing, laying on another layer of detail, and then I pen the main figures and erase the underlying lines. You can see many on my website.
A:There are some connection between Mandalas and your “psychodrama”, (complex of role-playing-like tools and concepts that can be used to amplify the nature of communications, and applied to enhance the effectiveness of therapy, education, and other forms of applied drama)?
AB: No. Well, only at an abstract level: I value spontaneity, and the drawings are spontaneous. Psychodamas are also improvised enactments. But other than this common element, no connection.
We're talking about people becoming involved and active rather than passive and living vicariously. We're talking about personal empowerment in the face of a media-celebrity establishment offering a super-reality experience from the outside.
So psychodrama, spontaneity training, action explorations, real people co-creating, in art, in dance, etc.---it need not be all that polished, but it's authentically alive.
I like your wonderful mandalas, but more than the mandalas, I like the idea of your doing the creativity, your being alive and excited and discovering as you go. You're quite talented, but I want everyone to discover and enjoy their own talent, as modest as it may be.
The fellow who invented psychodrama, Jacob L. Moreno, wrote in a poem earlier in his life that more important than the creation is the creator--- the you doing the creation, the living person discovering. Much that is created is provisional, amateurish, unfinished, a model, a doodle, an idea that needs to be developed. Sometimes that idea never gets fully developed. Hey, it's okay! Your personal life and psychological and social process is really more important than any product.
So I guess I'm a bit of a populist. I honor art, but there's so much of it that most people are getting the sense, “Oh, I could never do that… so why should I try to do anything?”  And so I promote folk singing and song fests, folk dancing and other dancing where more people can discover that even if it's not “great,” hey, it's fun, and more, “I” am doing it, not just watching it.
It partakes a bit of Plato's allegory of the Cave, that sometimes we watch life and begin to think that what we watch IS life.
A: What are the most common mistakes and prejudices about mandala that you had to face in your long-lasting experience?
AB: I may not have had enough experience to notice mistakes or prejudices. Perhaps one is that they must be done well, mainly in color. I am biased a little in my feelings that my own work pales in comparison with your lovely constructions. On the other hand, my figures are joyously free and have all sorts of little sub-figures in them that are slightly asymmetric. And that also has another kind of aesthetic value.
There are many people, perhaps most in my country, who so far don't know the word “mandala” or find these figures particularly interesting.

A: Who or what is an inspiration for you, there is a particular person that resulted to be crucial in your life regarding the mandala? Or some book?
AB: I have a goodly number of books on mandalas, and they may impress me at a subliminal level. Some pictures I like more than others. The general field of sacred geometry has been a significant source of inspiration.
A: Do you have other project with Mandala in the future?
AB: Well, not a project exactly, but it seems to me that here might be a form of populist art. What I mean is that I am interested in getting people actively involved in creativity instead of being spectators to someone else's work: Doing instead of watching. The advance of electronics and mass media has led to a sense that a person can enjoy more the finely developed art of another---which is okay to a point, but we're well beyond that point. People are becoming hypnotized and dis-empowered and have given up doing their own work. It may be less wondrous than an outside expert, but, hey, it's their own.

A: Thank you for sharing your personal vision!

For more info visit his website    
http://www.blatner.com/adam/cartoons.html   gets more to the mandalas  
Or http://www.blatner.com/adam/cartoons/mandalameanings.html  
or  http://www.blatner.com/adam/cartoons/mandalas/aata1109.html
But this is too general:   http://www.blatner.com/adam/default.html
and his blog    as is this… http://blatner.com/adam/blog/?page_id=2
To contact him: adam@blatner.com

Carmen Mensink an artist of Thangka

posted May 3, 2012, 2:51 AM by Annalisa Ippolito

Carmen Mensink
is an artist of traditional Tibetan scroll paintings called “Thangka”.
I had been honored to meet her a last year when I attended one of her courses about drawing “White Tara Thangka” and she gave me a very interesting support and a lot of info about this original, and ancient tools for prying and meditation.

We have exchanged some word about her story, her work and experience with Thangka.
Here our conversation:

Annalisa: Well, Carmen, what is a Thangka?
Carmen: A Thangka painting is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist scroll painting and the images on it are that of Buddhas and Mandalas. It is a medium through which the Buddhist philosophy can be explained.

The literal translation of the Tibetan word THANG KA means 'recorded message'. Thangkas communicate a message to the practitioner, serving as an aid to teaching and as an aid to meditation through the visualisation of the deity. 

A: Which materials are most used to create a Thangka?
C: In the early days they used a combination of bone glue and natural pigments made from rocks, minerals and plants. 
Nowadays it’s mostly gouazzo paints on cotton. The colors of the gouazzo paints are most similar to the natural pigments.
Also sometimes acrylic paints are used.

A: Do you remember when you saw your first Thangka?
C: Yes!
It was in 1998 when I traveled through Ladakh (a part of North India, where the Tibetan Culture is very well preserved). I visited all the important monasteries, the walls were full of thangkas and I also saw thangka painters paint the walls of the monasteries.
I thought it was so very beautiful and I was wondering what the meaning was of all these different images.

How did you start drawing, and creating Thangka?
C: Shortly after this trip I looked for a Buddhist Centre in Amsterdam (where I live) to practice the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) and I did my first meditation retreat. Again I saw these beautiful thangkas hanging on the wall and somebody told me there was a famous thangka painter in England, Andy Weber, who comes to Holland now and then to teach thangka. 
I took my first weekend course with him and it really felt as I was coming home!
I knew this was the path that I had to go… 
Since then I have been studying with my teacher for in total bout 13 years – and I’m still studying. 
The first few years it was just drawing, drawing, drawing. To practice my hand and to understand the lines and the special way of Tibetan drawing.
After a couple of years I painted my first Buddha - Buddha Shakyamuni (our historical Buddha).

A: What is the difference between a Mandala and a Thangka?
C: A thangka is just a scroll painting. The images on it can be all kinds of Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Mandalas. So a Mandala is also a thangka.

Tibetan Mandalas (which are different to new age mandalas) are geometrical patterns that symbolize the ‘palace’ or ‘residence’ of a Buddha. Each Buddha has his or her own special mandala.

Here for example is the Mandala of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara), the Buddha of Compassion:

Do you think that there are common prejudices or misunderstandings about Thangka? If so what are most common?
C: Well, thangkas are not just ‘pretty pictures’, otherwise we could also paint Micky Mouse, haha!
Thangkas have a deep meaning (every detail on a thangka refers to a part of the Buddhist philosophy) and are connected to the Buddhist practice.
That’s why in my teachings I always give the meditations with it and also slideshows for the explanation.

Also you need to understand that it takes a long time to paint a detailed thangka. In the West we are always so focused on the end result and want to finish quickly, but in the East they say that it does not matter at all if you only paint 1 thangka in your life – it’s about the WAY instead of the result.The drawing & painting of thangkas is a meditation in itself.

And because we are working with grid-patterns as an example, everybody can do it, also people with no drawing experience whatsoever!

A: A part of your work is teaching to create a Thangka, for this reason you make trip around world. Could you share with us your next project? And When will you come to Italy again?
C: My next teachings in Italy will be from 3-8 luglio in the beautiful retreat center of Kushi Ling, in Arco, vicino a Lago di Garda.

We will be drawing Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) the Buddha of Compassion. This is a very beautiful and famous Buddha, he is seen as the protector of Tibet. And also the Dalai Lama is seen as the incarnation of this Buddha. 
In the course there will also be meditations on this Buddha and an explanation of the famous Mantra of this Buddha: Om Mani Padme Hum.

Here you can find more information on this course:

I would to invite you all!

A: Thank you so much for sharing your great experience with us.
C: Thank you for inviting me for this interview!

More info or contact  

In loving memory of Martha Bartfeld.

posted Dec 8, 2011, 6:50 PM by Annalisa Ippolito

This page is for remembering Martha Bartfeld. She dedicated a lot of time of her life to draw geometric mandalas. 
She published different coloring books and a book about creation of geometric shapes for mandala. More information about her can be found in her website that is still active: www.marthabartfeld.com
I was honoured by her friendship and her counsels have being a big gift in my life.
Martha passed away one year ago and I'm dedicating her a little tribute.
The video is a tribute for Martha and her love for the angels.

One of her mandala remind an angel so I invited friends, or people that are studying, creating and colouring mandala to color one copy of that mandala and re-send it to me.
The purpose is to share the love and harmony of mandala that Martha shared with all people.
This project is not closed. I will be glad to add all “angel-mandala” of people that wish be part of this tribute.
To receive a copy of this mandala, please, contact me by e-mail at MarthaTribute@mandalaweb.info.
The mandalas could be re-sent to me by e-mail after colouring them.

Thank you 

Tribute to Martha Bartfeld

Jay Mohler and the Ojos de Dios: "Mandalas” of Western Traditional Culture

posted Oct 4, 2011, 9:52 AM by Annalisa Ippolito   [ updated Oct 4, 2011, 3:05 PM ]

Jay Mohler is an artist of Ojos de Dios a very special traditional handcraft made by Native American people.

I saw his amazing pieces of art and I emailed him some question about his art, his experience with Ojos de Dios, that we can consider "Mandalas” of Western Traditional Culture.

Annalisa Ippolito: Hi Jay, could you share some words about the meaning of “Ojos De Dios”?

Jay Mohler : “Ojos de Dios” is Spanish for *Eye of God”, and can be thought of as a prayer that can be hung on your wall, reminding us both that we can see God in our daily lives, and that God is watching over us.

AWhat is an Ojos the Dios?

J: An Ojo de Dios is yarn hand woven onto crossed sticks into interlocking geometric patterns, as a wall-hanging.  More specifically, such designs were originally made by various North and South American Indian tribes.

ACould we call it like a Mandala of Western Traditional American Culture?

J: In the original Sanskrit, "mandala" mean "circle", or artwork in the form of a circle.  Carl Young wrote a book on mandalas, and talked about "the change of a circle into a square".  In Buddhist terms, a Mandala is a form of sacred artwork that is meant to still the mind.  An Ojo de Dios can be all of these things. 

ADo you remember when you saw an Ojo de Dios for the first time?

J: I first saw an Ojo de Dios for sale in a stand of Huichol herbs and artifacts in the Guadalajara, Mexico, Marketplace in 1966.  I was instantly fascinated, and later bought two or three to give as gifts.

AWhen did you start to create Ojos de Dios?

J: Later in the same year, 1966, I went to an exhibit of sacred artifacts sent to the USA by the Dalai Lama of Tibet, where one artifact was made up of 4 faces, with any one of those four walls, or faces, was, to me at least, exactly the same as the Ojos de Dios I had purchased in Mexico.   Soon after this I started creating Ojos de Dios, at first following this pattern.  A couple of years later I started making simplified ojos to sell to gift shops in southern California.   

AWhere do you find the inspiration for your creation?

J: Always I am drawing inspiration from the first ojos that I saw, and now also from the colors and patterns I see in nature; especially natural landscapes, flowers and artwork of the American Southwest.

ADo you following some sacred rules or are you free to use your fantasy?

J: I feel free to follow my own fancy and intuition; but I do stick with crossed sticks and yarn as my materials, and with keeping my patterns basically symetrical.

ACould you give me some details about the process of creation?

J: You can find a great amount of detail about how I make my creations on my website, Ojos-de-Dios.com, or, with newer photographs, on the etsy.com how-Tuesday blog for September 13, 2011

AWhat kind of materials do you need to make an Ojos de Dios?

J: I use doweling from lumber supply places for sticks, and all wool yarns that I buy mostly over the internet.  Many kinds of sticks and yarn can be used, however.

AHow much time you need to create a Ojos de Dios?

J: Simple ojos can be made in a few minutes.  Very large and complex ojos might take a week or more, and every length of time in between is possible. 

ADo you find prejudices about the Ojos de Dios?

J: In spite of the Native American origin, simple forms of ojos are commonly made in Sunday school classes, by Girl Scout troops, ets.,, such that I've never seen any prejudice against them.

AWould you share with us what are your plans for the future?

J: A very important plan in my future is to help organize an International Festival of Ojos de Dios, to be held in Pune, India, in the fall of 2012.  I also hope to start holding more workshops, both here in the USA, and when I next visit India, 2012.

AMany thanks to share with us your experience

For more info please visit:



Meeting a "Mandala Magic Mom"…

posted Mar 6, 2011, 7:19 AM by Annalisa Ippolito   [ updated Mar 6, 2011, 7:55 AM ]

Stacy Wills is a mom and an artist that make mandalas. She believes “in the sacredness of life and the interconnectedness of all things, and creating mandalas is one way I express that belief.  Like people, I see that each mandala is  a unique creation, and like people, each mandala is, in some sense,  the same.  It is our uniqueness as individuals  that enables us to experience and appreciate our common humanity."
I found her in “mandala world” and decided to talk with her about mandala… here is our exchange!

Annalisa: I saw your web site and your blog “A MAGIC MOM AND HER MANDALAS” and both are very riches of inspired handcrafts, amazing and gorgeous mandalas, could you tell us some words about the Name of your web site?
Stacy: Several years ago I wanted to find an art teacher to see about getting my children some private lessons.  That was the truth, but the deeper truth was, I was the one who was searching for a teacher, and a creative outlet.   I’d been told by a friend that a woman named Jacki Kellum was the person I was looking for.  At the time, I did not follow through on contacting her, but I did tuck  Jacki’s name in  my memory bank.
Then one  day,  while standing in line at the post office, I noticed the woman ahead of me who was mailing a package.  The name on the return address was Jacki Kellum.  Shyly I introduced myself, quickly explaining  that I normally don’t approach strangers in the post office, and  proceeded to tell her  all the wonderful things I’d heard about her.  I asked her if she was still giving children’s art lessons, and she said that she was. Then Jacki looked me right in the eye and said, “You are a magic mom.”  For some reason, her  words went through me like an electric shock.  We exchanged phone numbers and set up a time for my children to come to her home for their first lesson. I hovered in the background, soaking up Jacki’s every word as she told them, “Anyone can learn technique.  What I want to do is to open up people to creativity.”   As it turned out, the lessons were short-lived.  Jacki suffered the loss of her home in a terrible fire and moved to another state.  But the seeds of hope, that I would find my own creative outlet,  were definitely planted in me.
A few years later, once I had started creating mandalas, a friend offered to build me a website.  I had related this story to him about my encounter with Jacki and he is the one who christened my website as “A Magic Mom and Her Mandalas.”   

A: When did you discover the mandala?
S: I have always had very vivid dreams.  I can even remember ones from my childhood. Back in 2004, I saw an article in the paper about a local dream group that was sponsoring a conference on dream work to be held at a nearby church.  It piqued my interest, so I signed up.  A group called Journey into Wholeness put on the conference. As it turned out, the conference was not so much about dreams per se, as it was a crash course on Carl Jung – a kind of Jung 101. I felt as though I’d been thrown in to the deep end of the swimming pool. I absorbed as much of the information as I could and learned, among many other things, that Carl Jung started each day drawing a simple mandala. I knew very little about mandalas at that time, but something about them definitely appealed to me.

A: How did you start doing mandalas?
S: In the fall of 2005, three friends and I decided to read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, together.  Each of my friends already had some kind of creative outlet, but I was still searching for mine.  It was then I remembered Jung’s practice of  creating mandalas, and thought, “Well, if it’s good enough for Carl, it’s good enough for me.  At least I can draw a circle.” So in December of 2005, I drew my first mandala, and it was as if all the color I had bottled up inside just came pouring out.  For the next several months I drew a mandala  nearly every day, and it seemed a whole new world opened up inside and around me.     I have also struggled with depression for much of my adult life, and I  found  creating mandalas  to be very healing.

Do you remember the first mandala you created?
S: I created my first mandala (Genesis, photo on the left) in a sketchpad  using my daughter’s  Crayola markers.  It isn’t exactly circular, though I started in the center.  I was simply using  the tools and knowledge I had at the time.  Once I bought a compass and ruler, my mandalas became more symmetrical.  I also started experimenting with other mediums and techniques.  

A: What is your favorite technique?
S: I love  experimenting with various mediums, methods and techniques.  It’s hard to say which is my favorite, but one of my newest passions is working in the digital realm, creating  mandalas from photographs I have taken of things in nature.  I  don’t  have much technical know-how,  so I’m mainly just playing and learning as I go.
One day I came across the website of Christine Claringbold who paints fabulous  mandalas on old vinyl records, and thought I’d give that a whirl.  As I was painting, I remembered that as a child, I used to put a piece of paper  on the turntable of my portable record player and hold a paint brush above it as it went round and round.  It was a “come-full-circle” moment to realize I have been drawn to the mandala all along.  

A: What or who is an inspiration for you?
S: I draw on many sources for inspiration.  When I am painting, I will often listen to poetry, interviews or books-on-tape.  Something in what I’m hearing will capture my attention – a word or phrase or idea – and suddenly, it’s as if  a river of creative intuition begins to flow through me. Or if I am creating a personal mandala for someone, I will listen to a playlist of that person’s favorite songs while I’m working.  It’s amazing what comes through in those mandalas – things that are meaningful to that individual that I was not  aware of on a conscious level.
I also am inspired by nature – the sheer beauty of the natural world –  is utterly intoxicating to me.
Other artists inspire me as well, and in recent years I have had the wonderful privilege of getting to know several other mandala  makers, courtesy of the world-wide-web!

A: What is your plan for the future? 
S: I can’t say that I have a specific plan for the future.  If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would be doing what I’m doing now, I would not have believed them.  Nothing relating to my art has been planned up to this point.  It has all simply unfolded as I have been open and attentive to what is happening around and within me. So, I guess you could say my plan is to remain open to all the possibilities and take one day at a time.

"Natural Stained Glass" (Photos on the right) 
is an example of one of her nature-based 
digital mandalas created from a photograph 
She took of a paper wasp nest held up to the sunlight.

for more info and contact Stacy Wills visit her website

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