Sarah Clark eat, sleeps and breaths mandalas.
An ancient geometric symbol that represents the universe, mandala means “sacred circle” in Sanskrit. Once Clark started devoting her time to drawing them, her life began to change.
“Originally it was just a practice for me and then I realized that this is the gift that I get to participate in to give to the world.”
Clark’s mandala creations are currently for sale at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply in Qualicum Beach.
Clark is originally from Guelph, Ontario. She worked as a graphic designer for over 30 years in that city as well as in Toronto, on Salt Spring Island briefly, and in Nanaimo when she moved there eight years ago.
A few years ago Clark decided to take a sabbatical for three months, but never really returned to her former life.
“In May 2010 I said, what would it be like if I took three months off? And I looked at what I’d been doing with my life for last 32 years and reassessed.”
Clark had drawn mandalas in pencil before, but as soon as she took the time off things shifted, she said, and her mandalas intensified. She began creating them in coloured pencil and also incorporated them into vintage furniture that she restored and refinished.
People saw her work and loved it, she said, so she continued with her practise. It’s been three-and-a-half years since she took her sabbatical.
Clark now makes mandala meditation card decks, note cards, mandala plaques for the wall, she created a mandala colouring book and she sells tables, stools and other refinished furniture adorned with mandalas.
“So my entire world now is 24-hour mandalas,” she chuckled.
The meditation card decks feature her intricately designed mandalas in coloured pencil and have special messages like Inner Wisdom, Reach Out or Imagine the Potential written on them.
People can use them in the morning to start their day to help guide them, she said.
Although mandalas are associated with Tibetan, Buddhist and Hindu cultures they have existed and occur in every culture and every religion since people learned to draw, Clark said.
The very act of drawing, colouring or observing mandalas focuses and grounds people, she explained.
“I gifted one to a friend and I went back about a week later and she said, ‘mandalas change things,’ and I said, ‘I know.’”
That’s because the mandalas are calming and create good energy, Clark said. And the circles draw people in, she added.
The best part for Clark about her new life is seeing what happens to people when they are exposed to mandalas, she said. She sees this first hand when she teaches workshops on drawing the ancient symbols.
“In the workshops I love watching people sink into a place of sacred play, you can observe their whole body slow down, and nothing bugs them in that moment.”
Find Clark’s mandala meditation cards, wall plaques, note cards and furniture at the Gallery @ Qualicum Art Supply. Her work can also be found at the Salish Sea Market in Bowser at Artzi Stuff in Nanaimo and at the Chemainus Theatre Gallery. To see more of Clark’s work or to sign up for one of her workshops visit her website www.sarahclarkdesign.ca.