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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.