Friday, May 21, 2010

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall . . .

I'll be posting pictures of my mandala mirrors over the next few days. The one above was made from a sample floor tile surrounded by screws and plastic screw sets and some simple chain.

What is a Mandala?

Many philosophic and religious traditions create and meditate on the mandala. Most commonly, a pattern centers around a sacred object with decoration and/or illustration that extends out toward the edges. Meditation occurs when one’s eyes and attention move from the center to the edges and back again, creating a calm and composed mood. I had made several of these mirrors before realizing that I was creating mandalas. While gluing the pieces around the mirror within the prescribed 12” x 12” plywood core, I found myself greatly calmed by the process. At first, my motivation was to recycle—to give new life to the detritus of my “stuff” — the everyday objects in my world and life —most of them long ignored, broken and abandoned. I got more than I had expected from the process when I realized the pattern dictated by the form was leading me to a place of inner calm. After researching mandalas further I learned that Carl Jung often drew them to gain insight into himself and his patients.

Why a mirror rather than a sacred object or deity in the center?

Is having the center object a mirror an act of arrogance? I think not. Each of us is the center of our own world. And our worlds are full of “stuff.” Are we our stuff? Does it define us? These mirrors are small for the purpose, too, of self-reflection as opposed to self-assessment. I encourage people who buy them to look into them as cosmic mirrors to find the person beyond the stuff and to use the stuff to get to the person.