The mandala is the center

Art Gallery

A viewing of Sandhya’s exquisite appliqué mandalas.

Tibetan Buddhist Mandala
Tibetan Buddhist Mandala
Mandala Adi Buddha
Mandala Adi Buddha (detail)
Chamunda Fierce Fire Offering Symbol, Tibet, 17th-18th Century
Tibetan Buddhist Mandala of Vajrayogini
Mandala of Jnanadakini (Intuitive Wisdom Angel), Tibet, late 14th - early 15th Century

I’m not really sure why mandalas fascinate and attract me so much, but it has been a gift during lockdown to lose myself in the meditation of their creation.

My relationship with mandalas began in 2002, when I made a simple silk one for my eldest brother, Tony. He had just told me he had a terminal illness, and spontaneously stitching this centering artwork helped me absorb the news and express my love for him.

Since then I’ve had it in mind to create more appliqué mandalas, but needed the space and time to pursue this dream. It’s a totally absorbing and utterly consuming process. I find I need patience and a stepping out of my own way to allow it to happen. Each one takes a few weeks to complete as it just can’t be rushed.

It’s a bit bonkers to make a mandala out of fabric if perfection is the aim! Fabric is so pliable, and has its own ways to move, almost as if it were alive.

Mandalas I’ve seen that date from the 15th to 17th century inspire me the most. They have an undeniable quality that touches so deeply. My mandalas are based as closely as possible on these original designs, and most importantly on the colors they used. It’s this combination of pattern and hue which seems to really aid the meditative state. The Buddhist and Hindu monks knew what they were doing!

I realized more and more clearly that the mandala is the center, it is the expression of all life, it is the path of individuation.”

– C.G. Jung

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Prem Sandhya lives and sews on Dartmoor and teaches aquarobics.

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