About this project
What is The Flower Mandalas Project?
Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
- Carl Jung
The Flower Mandalas Project is a meditative book of Flower Mandala images and related text that delves into 52 fundamental aspects of the human experience - and more.
A mandala (the word means circle in Sanskrit) is a meditative art form found in nature and throughout the world's religions. Natural mandalas occur everywhere - in flowers, spider webs, the shapes of galaxies. They have inspired people across time and space to create sand paintings, mosaics, dream catchers, cathedral windows, as well as more mundane mandala-like objects such as corporate logos and decorative manhole covers.
Mandalas have often been used for developing insight and for emotional healing. They connect us with sacred wisdom and with our deepest selves. Carl Jung, one of the fathers of modern psychology, believed mandalas are a pathway to the Self and used them both with therapy patients and in his personal transformation.
In my own way, as both mandala artist and psychotherapist, I carry on Jung's tradition.
The Flower Mandalas Project (hereafter the Project), uses mandalas based on digitally enhanced flower images as a vehicle for delving into the essence of the human experience.
From my Beliefnet Flower Mandalas blog and Facebook fan page, I have seen how the Flower Mandala images can be transformative. My hope is that through this Project, the Flower Mandala images will reach a broader audience, promoting inner harmony and peace and inspiring others to use art as a means of healing and transformation - the primary purposes it has served for me.
In the Project, I plan to use the Flower Mandala images, accompanied by inspirational quotes and personal essays, to capture and convey what I have gleaned from 10 years as a psychotherapist, 20 years of life beyond a near-death experience, and 60 years on the planet.
The initial stage of the Project, and the one for which I'm seeking funding now, is the book Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas (hereafter called the Book).
The Book is a collection of 52 Flower Mandala images, each created from a photograph of a flower, linked to a related concept, quote, and personal essay. I intend these units of image and text to serve as weekly meditation objects.
Each image/concept/quote/essay grouping will resonate with a fundamental aspect of the human experience. Some of the subjects I plan to explore in images and words include: Acceptance, Anger, Atonement, Awakening, Balance, Perfection, Boldness, Change, Choice, Compassion, Connection, Curiosity, Determination, Desire, Failure, Faith, Forgiveness, Grace, Gratitude, Harmony, Hope, Illumination, Insight, Intention, Intuition, Joy, Justice, Kindness, Longing, Loss, Love, Memory, Need, Passion, Patience, Perception, Persistence, Play, Power, Imagination, Purpose, Regret, Resilience, Self Love, Silence, Solitude, Strength, Trust, Uncertainty, Uniqueness.
The Book will be square format, produced in both a deluxe 12"x12" hardcover limited edition and a high-quality 8"x8" softcover edition.
In addition to the Book, the Project will eventually also be presented as a print/multimedia exhibition, portable electronic version, and website. See below for Project plans beyond Book completion.
How I plan to do it
I've already created most of the Flower Mandala images I'll need for this Project. I'm currently identifying concepts to associate with images and images with the concepts - it's an iterative process. I'm teaching myself a desktop publishing program. I have yet to write a single essay, but I have notes and ideas for many of the 52 that I will eventually compose.
The steps involved in getting from where I am now to the completed Book include:
- Complete creation and selection of 52 of the most evocative Flower Mandala images and associate with concepts and quotes.
- Write the 52 essays.
- Write the intro.
- Design the Book.
- Produce a PDF version of the Book.
- Beta test the PDF version.
- Create Book samples at several self-publishing companies and select the one with the best output.
- Make the Book available as a deluxe 12"x12" limited edition hardcover and a high-quality 8"x8" print-on-demand softcover.
- Send the finished Book to conventional publishers for their consideration.
What the money is for
The initial $7500 will go toward:
- Taking time to select the images, match them to concepts and quotes, and write the essays.
- Designing the layout of the Book, including consultation with a book designer and selecting fonts for text and headings.
- Printing samples of the Book and getting them reviewed.
NOTE: I'm interested in "beta testers" for the Book-In-Progress! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in reviewing Book selections and/or drafts as the Book moves toward completion, and tell me why you'd like to do it.
What I'll use any additional funds for
My initial push in disseminating this work will be to place it in healing environments such as hospitals, but my intention is to reach a global audience in multiple forms. Any additional money that comes in beyond the $7500 will go toward developing and distributing the Electronic and Exhibition forms of the Project.
Creating the Electronic version
The Electronic version will be a continuously operating slideshow displayed on a large flat-panel screen, each concept and quote spoken by one of several voices while the image is being displayed. It may also include music and image animation. The Electronic version can be portably placed at venues where displaying prints would not be effective. I will also create a version to be permanently displayed on the Internet and an inexpensive DVD version.
Steps in creating the Electronic version include: Testing and buying DVD slideshow software, recording and mixing the audio, scripting the slideshow, building and funding the website, producing the DVDs, and purchasing and testing appropriate flat-panel displays.
Creating the Exhibition version
The Exhibition version will consist of 52 large-format Flower Mandala images printed on photographic paper, canvas, aluminum, and/or translucent or lenticular material. Matching concepts, quotes, and essays will accompany each image. Optionally, the Electronic version can accompany the Exhibition version.
Steps in creating the Exhibition version include: Finding high-quality printers for each print surface and printing sample images, selecting the best printing companies, printing and framing the final prints, designing the accompanying text frames, creating audio recordings of the accompanying text, and contacting potential exhibition venues.
Beyond the Project
Ultimately, I'd like to use the Project as a springboard for establishing a foundation to support and promote art as a means of healing and transformation.
Thank you in advance for your donations and support. PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD! Let your friends and colleagues know about The Flower Mandalas Project.
The more people who know about this project, the more likely it is to get funded. Even $1 contributions bring the project closer to meeting its goal.
I begin with a photograph of a flower. I carry a camera everywhere and take flower photos anywhere I can - on the street, in people's houses, in restaurants, in gardens, at the supermarket. Then, using various software programs, I take multiple triangular slices through the images and multiply them around in a kaleidoscopic manner until I get something that speaks to me, gives me a "wow!" moment. I remove the background and continue to work on the image, usually in Photoshop, until it feels ready. Sometimes this process takes only a few hours, sometimes it stretches out over several days. Often, I'm working on two or three mandalas in the same period.
I began working with the mandala form by accident.
I was in a particularly dark place when I started to make these images. A very important relationship had ended, I was physically ill and had neither a clear diagnosis nor any real hope for recovery, and I had become isolated by both the illness and the end of the relationship. During this bleak period I took up photography again, after a 20-year hiatus. Initially it was a way to distract myself from chronic pain. I discovered that walking on the beach eased the pain, and I grew fascinated with the sky and the sea. As I walked, I paused to take pictures. I spent a couple of hours each day doing this. When it got too cold to walk the beach, I began to edit and manipulate these images, and I found that this process, too, took away some of the pain.
Eventually I happened upon a way to rearrange segments of my images into mandala-like creations. I began with my images of the sea and the sky, then experimented with other objects. I came across a photograph of a dying dandelion I'd taken toward the end of the season and wondered what would happen if I took something that was already mandala-like and "mandalaized" it.
The result was the first of the Flower Mandalas. It felt both more peaceful and more powerful than the other mandalas I'd created. As I applied the same technique to other flower images, I found myself feeling not only distraction from pain, but also a sometimes breathless excitement in the initial stage, followed by a deep, centering peacefulness as I brought each mandala to completion.
Pursuing this art form has led me not only out of that dark place in my own life, but indirectly also into the practice of psychotherapy where I often help to lead others out of the dark places in their lives.
The Flower Mandalas Project is part of a broadening effort at promoting the use of art as a means for healing and personal transformation.
As a psychotherapist, I see the healing and transformative effects of a creative approach to life every day. For many, the creation and appreciation of art in its many forms is a significant part of this process. I want to "spread the word" more broadly than I am able to do as a therapist, working with one client at a time.
I intend to begin with the Book, continue with the Exhibition and Electronic versions of the Project and, if at some point sufficient funds are generated by this work, continue by creating a foundation to support art as a means of healing and transformation.
My initial choice of the hexagram (the Star of David, "beloved" in Hebrew) as the organizing shape for these mandalas was subconscious, but I believe this choice was not accidentental. In many traditions, the Star of David, composed of two overlapping triangles, represents the reconciliation of opposites - male/female, fire/water, and so on. Their combination symbolizes unity and harmony, the underlying intent of all of my work.
Prints, cards, and the screensaver will go out shortly after the Project is fully funded. The Book will go out shortly after it is completed.
There is no charge for shipping the rewards within the United States. If you are an international contributor, please add a $5 shipping charge for rewards at the $25 to $50 levels.
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