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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