Botanical Mandalas

In June to celebrate midsummer, we made botanical mandalas. It was the first activity we had tried over zoom and lots of fun to experiment with plants.  

Botanical mandala
Member Helen making a botanical mandala while watching the meeting via Zoom

We started the meeting talking about mandalas. Mandalas are brightly coloured artworks that are found in a range of different cultures, particularly in Hindu and Buddhism. We looked at a range of different ones – Aztec stone calendar, Tibetan sand mandalas, designs from Tamil Nadu and the links between mandala making and mindfulness. 

Then we looked at how to draw mandalas (YouTube tutorials) before Alison demonstrated how to make botanical mandalas on fabric. This was inspired by Rebecca Desnos blogpost, which uses a hammering/pounding technique to print the flower and plants onto the fabric. Alison showed how she laid out her mandala, talked through some samples she had made earlier, and hammered some plants live so we could see how they transfer to fabrics – beetroot leaves and sage worked particularly well.(A massive shout out to Alison for using her trusty fruit carton web cam so that we could see her hands hammering live!)

Then we had a go at making our own – we had foraged handfuls of plants from in local parks, gardens and allotments ahead of the meeting as well as raiding our houseplants.  It was really relaxing laying out our design making sure that there was a sense of balance and symmetry on paper or fabric.

Leaves arranged as a mandala on fabric
Botanical mandala made by Member Anne

The range of plants led to some beautiful designs. Some people drew and coloured them in, some people pressed their design under books or in flower press on paper, some tried the hammering technique on fabric (while muted!) and some of us just enjoyed them for that evening.

Botanical mandala made by Member Emily
Botanical mandala made by Member Emily

It was a really lovely evening where we had an opportunity to enjoy making together and had some good chats. It was great to see so many members at our meeting (past and present) and welcome some new guests to Borough Belles.

See some more of our botanical mandalas on our Instagram…

Next month’s meeting is going to be a talk from Katy, a previous member who has been travelling for two years and will talk about her trip travelling as a solo woman. 

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