Found Object Mandala and Written Response

Found Object Mandala and Written Response


A mandala is a radial design that was traditionally created in sand by practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism to serve as a diagram of the universe, representing a belief that life is never ending and everything is connected. The creation of a mandala was meant to be a meditative and spiritual act that mimicked the spiritual journey of life.

For your mandala, you will choose one or a few found materials to work with. Your material should relate to you personally, whether it be something you have a collection of already, materials from nature around your home or neighborhood, or something you choose to collect as part of this project. It is up to you which material you use, but you must be able to explain WHY you chose that material. (Please note – your materials do not all have to be the same “thing”, but should relate to each other in a conceptual way.) More material usually results in a better end product. It is difficult to make a compelling mandala with only a handful of objects.

You will create your found object mandala by arranging your collected materials and then photographing your design. Your design, background, and photographic vantage point should all be well-planned and purposeful (the formal elements and principles). You will upload your mandala photograph here as an attachment. You will also submit in writing a short essay that discusses:

1) Why you chose the material you did (This can be brief, 2-3 sentences)
2) Three  (3) Elements and three (3) Principles of Design you utilized in the creation of your work (2-3 sentences each element and principle)

Discussion of the elements and principles needs to go beyond a mere mention. “I used lines and shapes in my mandala” is not sufficient. Give each element and principle you choose to write about consideration.

To submit your assignment you will click on “Browse My Computer” to attach both your image file (as a .jpg) and your written file (as a .doc or .pdf). Both portions of the assignment must be submitted for credit. Do not submit your written assignment in the comments section; no credit will be given.

Your submission will be scored in part based on your interpretation of traditional mandala design norms. The following resources may help you as you begin your mandala design:

A video on the spiritual origin of mandalas:

A video on mandalas from the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco:

A video of the Sand Mandala Project at the Blanton Museum of Art in 2013:

Examples of found object mandalas:


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