You know how lovely it is to receive a get-well card in the mail? There really is nothing so tender as a Hallmark card tucked in to a pastel envelope, filled with a wish for goodness from someone who loves you. Here at FeMail, we send our own healing messages. For over 4 years, Suzi and I have been sending specifically designed creations, in our own FeMail dialect, that appear in our mailboxes, carried by the United States Postal Service. We use spirals, budding blossoms, dancing women, images of water, the moon or other planetary wonders to convey certain messages to each other.
This week at the Museum of Motherhood, we are speaking in the form of a mandala.
Mandalas are healing symbols. The first time I sent one through the Mail to Suzi, I realized that all along its journey, my tiny artwork in post card form would reach many people I do not even know, en route to my FeMail partner. As I made the Mandala- I was healing myself from the experience of feeling unsuccessful. Making a mandala invites our absorption into a sacred center. As I assembled my mini-masterpiece, shaping cut outs with Tazo tea packet paper, the delicate designs found on the patterned side of a playing card, petal like shapes from a decorative paper and the tiniest punched starburst shapes- I lost myself in the effort. I let go of my negative feeling. I noticed a calming, relaxing effect on my mind and my body. Adding the disk in the middle suggesting a free-spirited idea lifted me toward my intuitive insight—-never give up! I added this phrase using a quick transfer technique with packing tape.
Here is the card Suzi sent back to me. She used tea packet papers and her own painted papers to create a Winter Solstice mandala. Her mandala is earth colored against a gesso white background, singing of the dark earth cloaked in snow in late December. Creating a mandala promotes centeredness for the maker while communicating to the recipient the blessing of regenerative energy.
Mandalas are found in spiritual traditions all over the world. This little collage-a-day creation became for me, a portal to the archetypal power found in symbols. Suzi and I are both interested in these very luminous aspects of the art world. Keeping our art enmeshed with our daily living, we rely upon forms like the mandala to convey cosmic & universal wishes to each other- and in the process, to the postal workers who process and deliver our FeMail, as well!
Suzi and I would love to hear your comments. What do you hear in our FeMail dialect? Stay tuned for more decoding of FeMail every Tuesday, here on MamaBlogger365 and the Museum of Motherhood.
BIOS: Karen Arp-Sandel – I am a woman who wears many hats: artist, educator, yoga teacher, workshop presenter, Mother, wife, aunt, daughter and sister. In my role as a collage artist, I make art in my home studio and teach classes at IS183 Art School of the Berkshires, where I am on the faculty of the Painting, Drawing and Collage department. When I am not in my studio or instructing adults, I implement an exciting Learning through Arts programs in the public elementary schools using the skills in my “visual artist toolbox”. You can learn more about me in my professional capacity by visiting www.karenarpsandel.com
Being committed to a Mail Art collaboration with fellow Artist /Mom, Suzi Banks Baum, sustains my Collage-a-Day approach to creativity. Please visit our gallery atwww.femailart to browse our post cards to learn about our process.
Honoring myself as a creative individual, while honoring all my other jobs, including my mothering, is the most important work I do. Since my children have recently fledged the nest of home, I acknowledge this truth: one never stops being a mother.
I am dedicated to bringing creative people together, especially groups of women, in order to elevate the joy and sustenance derived from creative self-expression. This serves to keep alive my mantra: “Art is not Separate.”
Suzi Banks Baum is an Heirloom Variety Mom living in the hills of western Massachusetts. She is a writer and artist, raising 2 teen-agers with her husband.
As she writes her book Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Women she blogs on the sacred in daily life at www.laundrylinedivine.com. Visit an online gallery and discussion of my mail art collaboration with Karen Arp-Sandel titled “Fe-Mail” at www.femailart.com.
SEE MORE ABOUT THIS EXHIBIT AT MOTHERHOOD MUSEUM.ORG