Swann Mandalas

Swann Mandalas


Describing how I arrived at the place I am, doing the work I do is not easy. While I can talk with you about the mandalas, nature, philosophy, art, and more until your ears go numb, filtering down the timeline and essence of my work into a linear timeline is not straightforward. This is because my path to making paper-cut mandalas has been anything but a straight line. Ironically (or not), my path to it has been more like a circle - round and round, learning more with each passing season. Like many of the mandalas, there is a melding of patterns that reshape themselves as they cross over and come together only to be reborn into a new shape, a new pattern.

For those who've been through it (as most have), you know that a breaking down of old concepts and perceptions, followed by a re-birthing of new perspectives is not without its challenges, its heartache, its disappointments, and its unexpected outcomes and joyous successes.

So, to tell you I woke up one day and suddenly came to making paper-cut mandalas would be inaccurate. I came to it in round-about ways, more like walking past it one day without noticing it, walking back by it another day noticing it and being intrigued but not settling in with it, only to come back to it with growing curiosity, and then after much contemplation of its essence, a return to it with passion and commitment to learning and growing with it. At this point, the challenges that came with the commitment were worthwhile and the continual practice done with joy, which brings me to where I am today, still walking a spiraling, circling path of growth and maturity.

I chose paper because it is made out of natural fibers. I chose paper-cutting out of respect for the tradition and the beautiful results, as well as the challenge of designing with shape and line alone to create movement, depth, and dimension. I chose handmade paper backgrounds and watercolor backgrounds to add vibrancy, energy, and fluidity. Together, all elements are represented in at least one way.

My hope is that you see joy, unity, and Greater Intelligence within each piece, even if superficial appearances are abstract and nonlinear. It is my ongoing effort to portray these very things as I continue to walk my circuitous adventure in creating paper-cut mandalas.

Alice Swann