Happy Earth Day!
Today, April 22, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. According to earthday.org the origins of Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 and was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson. “Earth Day 1970 would come to provide a voice to this emerging environmental consciousness and putting environmental concerns on the front page.”
To celebrate Earth Day this year I am going to take all of the advice from the previous blog (Mandalas: It’s all about the Math) and hit the outdoors to create a Nature Mandala.
Nature Mandala are inspired from two sources and artist and a book.
Artist, Andy Goldsworthy
Andy Goldsworthy is a British artist who now lives in Scotland. He is a contemporary artist who sculpts the land and the environment to create a site- specific sculpture in the tradition of land art. Below are some examples of Andy's artwork. Images taken from his website.
Book, Morning Altars
The second inspiration is the book and Instagram account for Morning Altars by Day Schildkret. This is a beautiful book with the lovely photography from the author, and in the forward by Anne Bogart they state that they are debris arrangers. Arranging natural debris is the definition of a nature mandala at its most basic form. Images below are from the book, which can be purchased on Amazon.
How to Create a Nature Mandala
According to Morning Altars there are seven movements for morning practice. These seven movements are just a guide but presented here as your guide to creating one on this Earth Day.
1.Wander and Wonder. This is a treasure hunt and go for a long winding walk and begin to pick up multiple things of different sizes and shapes that interest you. Look for contrasts. Big- small, light- dark, smooth- bumpy, bright- dull
2.Place. Connect with where you are and witness the place come alive.
3.Clear. Use a brush or your hand to clear the space to reveal a blank canvas. You are looking for a flat area to work.
4.Create. Play! Play around arranging the items. Try them in several different locations and arrangements. You are an artist arranging shapes and colors and textures.
5.Gift. Practice generosity as you offer your altar in a celebration of nature, your family’s well-being, your ancestors, or a way to mark a special occasion.
6.Share. Photograph and share your beauty with your friends, the community, and with people you have never met.
7.Let Go. Practice walking away. This art is beautiful in its impermanence. The wind will take it away or someone might walk through it, and that is okay. Its job is already done.
On this, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, I encourage you to try to connect to the environment and see the beauty in its small wonders. I encourage you to get out of your house and play with nature. I encourage you to create a nature mandala.
Please share your creations with me. You can post your photos in the comment section of this blog or on Instagram using the hashtag, #professorcharity or @charitymika.
I teach future art teachers at Emporia State University. Here is what is going on in my classes.