Ever since reading Clare's remark that one woman used flower petals to make a mandala, I've wanted to try using some of the leaves that N & I gathered and pressed in the fall. Today I did just that. N wasn't interested (alas, Z had shown her a new game online while I was on campus, teaching, and she was too absorbed in it to be happy doing art when I forced her offline). Z, however, was delighted to sit and have an "art hour" with me.
Since Z decided to get a head start on valentines for her friends, the notion of making valentine mandalas struck me. I put on the cd that just arrived today from swapacd - windchimes with a background of wind and water - and it turned out to be perfect, calling to mind leaves blowing in the wind. Just right!
I remembered that we'd found a number of heart-shaped leaves, so I sorted through the hundreds we'd saved (it's hard to pass up a pretty leaf in autumn!) and began. I ended up making two. The first is this one for R.
The bindu (center) is a large heart, with a funny little heart-leaf the shape of which intrigued me. Across the heart is a bit of grass that had begun to seed, representing the continuing growth of our relationship. Around the outside are three pressed rose petals from the rose garden R planted for me, each with a different pair of leaves (one pair is a "whirligig" representing the games he plays with our children). The rose petals point outwards. Between these are three more heart leaves, this time pointing inwards.
Another simple valentine mandala is this one, which is for my parents but won't be sent to them IRL because it would arrive in shards.
Working with the leaves is tough. They're quite brittle - the smallest and thinnest of them must be handled with tweezers, I discovered (to my chagrin, after destroying one of them by picking it up with my fingers - note the tiny "heart" on the left, missing part of one lobe).
The bindu is a very tiny heart (cloverleaf) on top of a strawberry collar. This reminded me of the tiny wild strawberries we used to pick in Montana. Above this are two "roofing" leaves sheltering the bindu, as my parents still try (in vain) to shelter me. ;-) The entire mandala is bordered (I know, I know, borders again!) by a variety of leaves I found interesting, most of them with twisty points. Sprinkled here & there are leaves reminding me of lace or hearts, to make it more valentiney.
To see the colors and the gorgeous details of the leaves themselves, you really have to look up close (which you can do by clicking on the images). Unfortunately, then you also see the shiny glue. Bleh. I was afraid to use Elmer's, since it often leaves lumps, so I tried craft glue. Unfortunately, it is very sticky (at least, my 3-yr-old bottle of it is sticky; perhaps I need a new one?). This means it's slow to pour (consistency of COLD molasses) and, while it doesn't leave lumps, it dries very shiny.
I need a different kind of glue. I will continue to experiment.
And for the spring: I need a kit for pressing flowers - one of those that helps retain some of the color! If you look closely, you can see that the rose petals have a bit of color, but not much. I look forward to creating mandalas with fresh petals, but it would be fun to do some with dried flower petals, too.
Hey! Maybe with potpourri? But my allergies . . . .
Oh, the other down side of working with the leaves: at one point I sneezed. I'll tell you, it's like working with a stamp collection. NEVER SNEEZE. Worse than playing 52-PickUp.