Inspiration behind the Mandala collection

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I wanted to give a little insight to how I start to develop a new collection and the process involved to getting the final pieces.

It is very hard to narrow down a few images from the massive collection of photos I have taken during my years living and travelling in Asia. I will try to add some themed posts in the future. Just looking through for this post, there is so much to inspire me for future pieces!

Developing on from my Paisley collection, I wanted to do a circular mandala design. It is often a design integrated into paisley patterns. I love the repeating symmetrical radial designs. Part henna design, part Sri Lankan lotus, part snowflake, part Tibetan Thanka painting.

I start by looking through all my images I have in my sketchbooks and draw elements that catch my eye and start with mandala possibilities, adapting to a design that will simplify enough to be made in strong silver wire.

Then I move on to replicating the design in metal. I bend and cut all the pieces individually, trying to get them all exactly the same. Then I lay them out in the design – often at this point I think of variations and other possibilities which I take a quick picture of to compare and refer back to later.

Then I layout the first solder arrangement as precisely as I can, “gluing” the pieces in place with flux and placing the tiny bits of silver solder where I want them to join. I gently heat the piece, moving back pieces that move using my solder pick until the solder runs. After the piece cools and is cleaned I add the next layer of wires, ensuring all the joints are solid.

Once I have the piece soldered and all the joints cleaned up and perfect, the piece is ready to cast. This means I can make exact copies and many of them, making the pieces more ecomonical and strong.

This is just the beginning point. I am always adapting the original piece into new pieces. I decided that I couldn’t get the sharpness of detail I wanted handmaking the small size of mandala so I decided to look into 3d designing and printing this. That process is for another day – but I have included a sneak peak of what is involved!