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May 24, 2017
“Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”
Could anything be more uplifting than seeing a row of decorated flags floating in the Spring breeze? I have long been captivated by the dynamics of fabric and wind. I get the same feeling of bliss seeing laundry hanging on a clothesline as I do when dancing with veils. The graceful movement of soft cloth echoing the direction a breeze is meditative for me…a way to slow down and become mindful.
Traditionally Tibetans believe in the power of decorated Prayer Flags. By hanging the flags along mountain tops in the Himalayas the prayers and mantras are blown by the wind to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The wishes are not carried to the gods, but instead benefit all who are embraced by the wind. Subject to the elements, the Flags symbolically become part of the Universe, fading over time. New flags are hung beside the old; a sign of the ever changing wheel of life.
Inspired by the new Artistcellar Tibet Series I was ready to craft my own flag, the first of four I hope to create. As it is the colour of Air and Clouds I purchased white chiffon fabric. It is quite transparent and will easily float when caught by the wind.
To keep the fabric from slipping when stenciling, I used an old screen printing trick and sprayed a light coat of repositionable adhesive to a large piece of cardboard. It made acrylic application easy and if luck was with me I was hoping to remove the cloth with little damage. The top of the flag was the perfect spot for the Buddha Eyes, also known as the Wisdom Eyes, stencil. I chose shades of blue acrylic paint…the colours of sky and space…and a wonderful way to show the Lord’s existence around us.
Spring has certainly arrived with flowers blooming in their beds. It is here in the garden that I find complete serenity. Our bearded irises are now gloriously cloaked in a vast spectrum of lavender to deep purple. They share the garden, living side by side with pansies of yellow, orange, and violet. They, like the Flags, will eventually become part of the Universe as their blooms fade and die. Hoping to hold the memory of this moment, I stenciled the bottom half of the flag inspired by the flowers. The perfect stencil for a kaleidoscope of colour is the Halftone Dots series. Layered, they recreated the riot of colour on display in the garden.
Once dried, it was time for the moment of truth: the removal of the fabric from the cardboard. Just as I had hoped, it peeled off easily with very little distortion. I wasn’t sure if the acrylics would stiffen the chiffon. I am happy to say it was anything but. Even with multiple layers of paint, the finish is muted and sheer, almost dreamlike. And best of all, hanging from a dowel rod finished with wooden end caps, the stenciling on both sides is equally as nice.
Of all the wonderfully creative benefits Artistcellar products have to offer I especially love the way they encourage me to think, slow down, and become mindful. Now more than ever we need to surround ourselves with empathy, strength, peace, and above all wisdom. My hope is that wherever you may be, may the wind caress you and the serenity of my garden encircles you.
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