Collaborative Sand Mandalas at Family Art Labs!

Nemo who!?  Despite blizzard conditions over the weekend, Family Art Labs was in full swing.  We had a small, yet brave group of families who trudged through the snow to help us begin the celebration of Losar (the Tibetan New Year) through the building of a collaborative sand mandala.

We began the workshop by discussing mandalas – looking at their square/circle designs and what they mean to the individuals who make them.

We then talked about the process of making a mandala using sand and even watched a video of Lama Karma Tenzin creating a sand mandala here at the Rubin Museum!

Finally, we discussed the collaborative process that we would be using to make our own sand mandala.  We thought about how collaborative work can be both a challenging and rewarding experience that helps to unify everyone involved.

To inspire our artwork, we went to the museum to look at different types of mandalas.  We also thought about the things we might consider important in our own lives and could include in a personal mandala.

We had a lot of fun exploring the galleries and it seems that we had some talented visual artists in our group who created some fantastic gallery drawings!

We made our way back to the Education Center for the big workshop finale: creating our sand mandala!  Because we had such a small group, each member was an integral part of the artistic process.  Their ability to work as a team impressed me endlessly.

From start…

…to halfway there…

…to nearly complete…

…to a completed sand mandala!

Our mandala experience was not quite finished, however, as we discussed how the impermanence of sand art is a metaphor for the impermanence of life.  After all of our hard work creating our sand mandala, it was now time to sweep it up.

Each participant got to use the same brush used by Lama Karma Tenzin to sweep up a small section of the mandala.  This part of the process proved to be just as meaningful and enjoyable as creating the mandala.

Participants were able to take some souvenir sand home with them for a memory of their experience.

I am already looking forward to next month’s Family Art Lab where we will be exploring the art of Traditional Tibetan Felting!

Until then…have a peaceful February!




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