July 28, 2014

Prayer Flags at Threads of Awakening

The act of creating is a healing gesture,
as sacred as prayer, as essential to the spirit as food to the body.
~ Jan Phillips

prayer flag workshop

What an enriching experience it was teaching flag making at Leslie Rinchen Wongmo's studio in Oxnard over the weekend!  The group arrived enthusiastic and interested, driving in from Ojai and as far away as San Diego.   I love how each group I work with adds something new to the mix

prayer flag workshop
The space awaits....

We began with some reflective exercises to help bring our bodies and attention to being present and open.  Following some creative warm ups, it was on to fun flag making with mixed media.  Working at their own pace, everyone seemed to enjoy the process using paint, buttons, feathers, glue, thread and more.  Lively conversation ensued as we got to know each other. 

prayer flag workshop
Sue absorbed in work...

prayer flag workshop
Sara, Bernice and Leslie... time for photos

 Each person brought their own vision to the process...   

prayer flag workshop
Wonderful bursts of color...

prayer flag workshop
A special turtle...

prayer flag workshop
Rich collage and delicate drawing...

prayer flag workshop
Space, flight and sky

prayer flag workshop

Thank you Ladies, for choosing to spend your Saturday making art.  A big Thank You to Leslie for graciously welcoming us to the wonderful Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts space

Leslie and I with Bhavana Project flags

The flags seem a natural fit for the space.  Look for more flag workshops at the studio coming in the future.

Threads of Awakening Studio
Studio door

July 18, 2014


prayer flags

Several prayer flags... and more to share in the upcoming workshop on techniques.  For these two I used tea bags to make leaf rubbings, then appliqued the paper to the hand dyed cotton flag.  Breathe, inhale and exhale are all reminders to stay present.

prayer flags

The third flag addition is a leaf rubbing directly on the fabric with oil sticks, paint added later... and writing (Stay, Inhale, Exhale, Stay) about staying with the breath in the present.   Where I am living at the moment, and relishing it.

I don't think anyone 'finds joy'.  Rather, we cultivate it by searching for the preciousness 
of small things, the ordinary miracles that strengthen our hearts 
so we can keep them open to what is most difficult.
~ Dawna Markova

July 16, 2014

Related Healing Traditions

wish tree
Wish Tree - Los Angeles 2011

In preparation for workshops, I have been researching healing traditions related to the prayer flag.  I had been curious if prayer flags were used historically within our western culture.  An interesting discovery was the "Clootie" well, derived from the Scots word for cloth or rag.  In Celtic areas these places of pilgrimage are wells or springs, often with a neighboring tree, where strips of cloth or rag have been tied to the tree's branches as part of a healing ritual.  

Cloths on a tree near Madron Well in Cornwall

Worldwide down through the ages wish tree traditions have existed, using all manner of materials as offerings including fabric, coin, or paper.  Japan has a strong wish tree culture.  In 1990's Yoko Ono began using the wish tree in her work in exhibitions shown internationally.  People have been invited to write their personal wishes for peace and tie them to a tree branch.  More wish tree links hereWhat better way to send healing than through art!  

Yoko Ono Wish Trees - Arlington Garden , Pasadena

As for actual prayer flags, their origin is believed to have come from India and the Shakyamuni Buddha, whose prayers were written on cloth banners.  They were introduced into Tibet about 800 CE, with widespread use of printed flags beginning around 1040 CE.

Have you heard of other traditions?  Please let me know about them!

July 2, 2014

Flags in San Diego

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.
- Thomas Merton

Sharing this picture from last weekend's prayer flag workshop...  a pleasure to be with these ladies!

prayer flags

With links to the April workshop, too, in case you missed it.

July 1, 2014

Flag Workshop July 26th

prayer flags

Are you ready for a summer art adventure?  Intrigued by prayer flags?  Enjoy working with fabric?  Come learn more... 
I will be teaching this Creative Circle Workshop in Oxnard on July 26th.

Creative process allows us to make new discoveries about ourselves and our world.  Join in this hands on exploration using simple and fun techniques to create your own prayer/aspiration flag.  These flags cross cultural and spiritual boundaries in order to share positive energy with others.  Let the day be your celebration of renewal.  No experience required.  Blank flag and supplies provided.  

When:            Saturday, July 26, 2014, 1:00 - 4:00pm  
Where:          Threads of Awakening Transformative Arts Studio 
                        2810 S. Harbor Blvd., Suite 201

                        Channel Islands Harbor
                        Oxnard, CA 93035 
Cost:              $65
Please contact me with questions or to register.
More info: http://bhavanaproject.blogspot.com/p/special-events.html  

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