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Fire Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon

Nutmeg Designs at 26th Annual Holiday Marketplace, Lehigh Valley Guild of Craftsmen, November 5th & 6th, 2011

Fire Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon
Fire Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon

Stratoz and I will be at the 26th Annual Holiday Marketplace, Lehigh Valley Chapter of the PA Guild of Craftsmen,November 5th & 6th, 2011, at the Swain School in Allentown, PA.

This Juried Fine Art and Craft Show features handmade one of kind items by local artisans. You’ll find: jewelry, photography, art, furniture, hand-woven clothing, holiday ornaments and much more.  All items are handmade and the artists are onsite to answer your questions and help you select the perfect holiday gift.



Volutes: Awesome Spiral Scrolls

Gourd Tendril
Gourd Tendrils by Lynn Lunger of UnaOdd
Woodland Snail Shells #snail #spiral #shell #volute
Woodland Snail Shells by Lynn Lunger of UnaOdd

Lynn of UnaOdd posted this photo of gourd tendrils, and I was happy to introduce her the wonderful word volute which happens to be one of my favorite forms.  I first found the name for the swirls I gravitate toward in a book by Franklin Gottshall, Design for the Craftsman, and in my craft geekiness was giddy to know this shape has a name.  It’s from the Latin voluta, meaning spiral scroll.  I am enjoying Lynn’s Woodland Snail shell volutes now.

Volutes via Tagote on Flicker

Not to mention the ironwork volutes I saw attached to Violin in the Sky, and the scroll that crowns the violin itself.

What are your favorite volutes?


Mosaic Gazing Ball Detail
Mosaic Gazing Ball by Margaret Almon

Related Post:

Franklin Gottshall, Swirls and Volutes

Sophia Spiral by Wayne Stratz
Sophia Spiral by Wayne Stratz


More photos on my Volutes Pinterest Board.

Over at Stratoz:

Sophia Spiral

Moon Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon of Nutmeg Designs.

Royal Couple and the Magic of Mandalas and a Hunger for Art at Inner-City Arts

There are times when I read something and wonder if I am having a particularly strange dream, such as the headline “Royal Couple Make Mandalas in LA.”  Thanks to a post by mandala artist Lillian Sizemore, I discovered this actually happened at the Inner-City Arts Studio, a non-profit that provides art classes to students from some of Los Angeles’ poorest neighborhoods and encourages academic and personal growth by placing art within the web of all disciplines from math(making geometric designs), to chemistry(3-D design)  to computers(digital arts).

Moon Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon.
Moon Spiral Mosaic Mandala by Margaret Almon.

These kids are engaged, learning, growing.  Finding out that such an organization exists is just as magical as having royalty making mandalas with 75 members of the press there to witness it.  Prince William is an advocate of the arts, and he chose to visit a place where art changes children’s lives.  Does art in the inner city seem like another strange dream?  We have become separated from the sustenance that art can provide to the soul, and to the role of the soul in finding purpose and life’s work.

Sunflower Mandala Chair by Margaret Almon.
Sunflower Mandala Chair by Margaret Almon.

What are mandalas?  The word mandala is Sanskrit, and comes from the Hindu religion.  It means “circle” and symbolizes the cyclical nature of life.   Many spiritual traditions have mandalas as part of their contemplation and prayer, from Christian labyrinths to Tibetan and Navajo sand paintings.  One of the first times I saw a mandala was on the cover of an album of early chant music composed by nun Hildegard of Bingen, but didn’t realize what it was.  Lillian Sizemore writes eloquently about Hildegard’s visions, and the paintings that she was moved to make.  Art takes me into prayer like nothing else, and I believe being absorbed by something outside of ourselves is a healing act.

I am drawn to the circular form in many incarnations: the halo in Celtic Crosses, the Rose windows in Christian churches, nautilus shells, flowers, as well as Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s circular Guggenheim Museum.   My first mandala in mosaic was inspired by a close-up photo of an eye on the cover of a National Geographic Magazine.  The circle speaks to my heart, and to the hearts of many of the people who have purchased my mandalas to be part of their prayer spaces, homes and lives.  I started reading a book on the interpretation of mandalas, but I realized that there is no one dictionary or key of what a mandala means.  The meaning evolves out of the relationship between the one beholding it and what they witness in the light shining from within.

Eye Mandala by Margaret Almon.
Eye Mandala by Margaret Almon.

More Photos of Mandalas by Margaret Almon

I’ve written about my introduction to drawing mandalas with white pencils on black paper using Judith Cornell’s book in Healing Mandalas: Our Bodies as Conduits of Light.


Nautilus Mandala: New Work For Lancaster


I have a new Nautilus Mandala for the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Lancaster Show so come check it out in person!  This is 8″ in diameter, and begins at the center with an Italian glass bead swirled with Aventurine, then spirals out into copper smalti alternating with blue silvery smalti, shading into pale blue iridized glass tile, and finally into amber and coppery glass, orange gold smalti and glass tile.  I had some glass squiggles, and I cut them up and interspersed them throughout with a neat effect, because of their rounded shape.  Here’s a closer look: