Michelle Wallace knows her gardens very well. "I have a deep love for the plants ... I think that's where this art is rooted," she said. Recently, those garden spaces have acted as her art supply store. The leaves, flowers, stems, seeds and pods that the Plainfield artist gathers become one-of-a-kind mandalas, which she photographs and then casts to the wind.
Recently, Wallace, who owns Nature Mandala Art: Vermont, spoke to VPR about the process and intention behind her artwork.
Wallace explained that a mandala is Sanskrit word for "circle." They are spiritual and ritual symbols in both Hinduism and Buddhism and can be used to focus attention.
Wallace said she has always had a deep connection to the symbols and has painted and drawn them in the past. She recently began to gather natural materials, create the patterns, then photograph them.
After choosing just one image, she destroys the rest. The materials used to make the mandalas are then taken away by the wind. Those photographs are printed on greeting cards and canvases which are available at 18 stores and florists throughout Chittenden and Washington counties.
"There is just so much going on in our world and so much distracting us from being in the day-to-day moments of our life ... I think that the plants are always there. We've evolved to respond to their beauty."