I create pressed flower mandalas and art and teach mandala coloring classes and workshops for healing, meditation and to increase personal growth and creativity in the Rogue Valley, Oregon area.
When I began my journey into this art form, I was experiencing a mid-life crisis that manifested in depression. As I started gathering and pressing flowers, leaves, even weeds, the life-affirming qualities of nature began to transform the depression into joy. Through my art and the classes I teach I want to share the miraculous beauty of nature and its ability to heal and connect us with a sense of hope and optimism.
I was trained as a counselor, receiving my Master's Degree from Antioch University in 1974. For twenty five years I worked in community colleges, teaching psychology and personal growth classes and counseling. At age 50, I enrolled in an Artist's Way class, and two things happened: I began creating pressed flower art and later began offering Artist's Way classes myself. Now I'm sharing the healing I've experienced with others, and watching them move from darkness into the light as their creative skills blossom is deeply rewarding.
Today I instructed eight year old Emma on making a pressed flower pendant in the "Mountain Lake" design. She is one of the students in the Dharma School Program in the Buddhist Center where I teach. She had seen a pendant I had made for one of the others teachers at the center and ask me if I would teach her how to make one. I had observed her for a year doing various art projects and decided that she had the focus and patience to be sucessful at this project. When we began the project I showed her pictures of breaking down the project in three steps. She said she understood this and was ready to proceed. I explained the various gluing proceedures and as she started the first step she utilized these methods using her original way of gluing and placing the delicate botanical material using straight pins and tweezers. When some of the botanicals broke Emma started again until she had placed the botanicals without breaking. Many adults I have worked with were not able to hold the focus in the way Emma did. She wanted to add the small details of the bushes and trees which I could have side-stepped. She completed the bottom third of the picture and then I showed her how to place the picture in glass in she inserted it into the memory frame. Together we added the jump ring and put it on a suede chord. I talked later in the day with one of my adult flower art students and she said she didn't yet have the courage to tackle a pendant. Emma taught me a valuable lesson on how intention, focus and determination led her to achieve her goal. I also learned from working with her that I could simplify the project for some children who do not yet have her ability to focus.