Monthly Archives: June 2015

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turn your frustration into art.


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Trash Mandala

ready to begin

ready to begin

I’ve started yet another community art project.  This one is a mandala created out of colorful trash, all cut into hexagons and left for people to glue together.  It’s again at the amazing local coffee shop, where the regulars are generally open to making art projects.

two days of participation

two days of participation

Here’s the idea behind it:

Mandala (Sanskrit: मण्डल Maṇḍala, ‘circle’) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.[1]

Why trash?

Consumption is inherent in living. The result being that while fulfilling our needs we create a nearly unavoidable byproduct – trash. This trash surrounds our lives, is necessary to our lives, and while tossed aside, can represent our lives lived. It is inevitable that trash will be created and will continue to exist beyond our lifespans. Our trash today will continue on past the lives of our children and their children, becoming a representative of ourselves – an immortality through what we discarded in order to live.

This idea is created literally through the mandala and the trash together – symbolically combining us with the universe.

I took a large piece of unstretched canvas – 5 feet square, and sketched a basic outline of a mandala.  I then used washes of color to indicate the areas where trash should be placed.  I also made a great origami lotus for the center using this tutorial:



There are many layers of meaning within the mandala, all the shapes and colors have a purpose.  My resources for these include:




And for reference here:

Colors in a Mandala


Direction: East

Element: Water

Emotion: Anger that can transform into reflecting all appearance in perfect symmetry.


Direction: South

Element: Earth

Emotion: Pride and ego that can transform into recognizing the humanity we all share.


Direction: West

Element: Fire

Emotion: Desire, lust, and greed that can transform into compassion


Direction: North

Element: Wind

Emotion: Jealousy that can be transformed into all-accomplishing action


Element: Space

Emotion: Ignorance that can transform into wisdom and intelligence[2]

in progress

in progress

Different Shapes in Mandalas

Dot: everything is one, symbol of the Unmanifested

Circle: wholeness, integrity, unity

Horizontal line: divides up from down, the earth and the sky. Maternal energy.

Vertical line: connection between worlds, energy. Divides right and left.

Cross: two lines meet and form a centre. Recognition.

Triangle with the vertex pointed upwards: aspiration, energies pointing upwards, in the direction of the spiritual sphere

Triangle with vertex pointed downwards: aspirations towards the earthly, material sphere

Hexagon, created from the above-mentioned triangles: unity spiritual and material aspirations

Square: our existence in the material world

Circle and square together: implementation of the spirit in the material[3]

So far it’s going well and looking lovely, I think!  I really can’t wait to see it finished!

two days of participation

two days of participation

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