Inspired by the ancient Tibetan Buddhists, and with this session's theme of "Sun, Sand, and Surf", the campers created a sand mandala today. The mandala was created in the traditional way where there was no glue used. The colored sand sits on the paper and you must work very carefully, and all together. After the mandala is complete it is ritualistically destroyed.
We started the workshop with a long conversation about what it means to be a careful artist. If you are being a careful artist you are aware of your body, you are thoughtful, you are looking at what you are doing, you are quiet, you are patient. It is not easy to be careful. A sand mandala is precious and can be easily ruined. We want to ruin it, but not until we have worked on it all day. If you laugh too hard, if you sneeze, if you shake the table, if you drop something on the table, if you reach too far across the table, if you jump up and down next to the table... all these things could ruin our mandala.
We talked about ephemeral art. I made everyone repeat the word out loud. I explained that ephemeral art does not last, it is only temporary, and the joy is in creating it. The campers brainstormed other forms of ephemeral art: chalk, ice sculptures, sand castles, snow men, birthday cakes, piniatas, jack-o-lanterns. They were ready for the challenge.
Each age group had a ring of the mandala to create. Every camper got to add something. I must say, I was very surprised and impressed by the results of such careful artists.