Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Inspired Wednesday: Mandalas!!!

I haven't done an 'Inspired Wednesday' in a while, but when Leah, a former student of mine (one of the most amazing 7th graders ever...seriously awesome girl that I miss like crazy!) let me in on a little Eau Claire, WI news today, I HAD to share my excitement!

In 7th grade art, (which is what I taught in Wisconsin for 2 years before making the move to Indiana) I taught a fantastic unit about Mandalas, which are a Buddhist art form practiced by Tibetan monks as a form of meditation aimed at bringing peace and understanding to those who experience it. The 7th graders created their own mandalas with colored pencil based on a theme of their choosing, something that was special and important and told something about who they were. (I even created mandalas along with them every semester I taught it - it was so much fun! See below for my examples :) 
Can you guess the 'theme' and personal significance of each of my examples? :)
So... on with the story. There are some traveling monks that are IN EAU CLAIRE THIS WEEK demonstrating a real 'sand mandala' live at UW-Eau Claire!! Of COURSE this would be the year I'm not in Eau Claire to witness it ... I've been longing to see a real one being created since I started teaching this unit! I would have LOVED to take my students to this demonstration - hopefully some of them go on their own - they too were fascinated with the traditional process. Click HERE for more information about the monks in Eau Claire and check out the video on that site to see how laborious and time-consuming this process is. Here's a little time-lapse video from a presentation that was done at Dartmouth University in January:

To sum it up: Monks spend about a week laboriously creating a circular design (mandala) out of loose sand (or crushed marble) on a table top and at the end of the week perform a ceremony and sweep up the sand, destroying the entire mandala design. It is meant to show the circle of life, everything is born, lives and then dies. How amazing!! If you ever get the chance, GO SEE THIS!! (hint, hint... anyone near Eau Claire!!)


  1. I'm planning to go to the little ceremony tomorrow night so I'll check it out for us! I wish we could go see it together! I had a student ask me if I was the teacher who liked pandas...they were obviously mistaken...but you left your panda legacy at South! I can't wait to dress baby Meyer in his/her cute panda 11 weeks!!!

  2. 11 weeks?! You're so close!! I can't wait to see baby Meyer- in panda clothes or not!! And I'm missing you so much! Let me know how the mandala ceremony goes, ill be there in spirit!