'Life Circles' at Norfolk Makers Festival

You might have seen some of these mandalas on my Facebook yesterday, there were a chance discovery at the end of a day wandering around Norwich, where we randomly stopped in The Forum, an interesting looking building close to our hotel. And then discovered the Norfolk Makers Festival, which was taking place in the large open space inside the building, and there was all sorts.

MOH quite quickly spotted the whittling class, but couldn’t be tempted to whittle away. I spotted the Homage to the Granny Square - more on that another day - and if he’d have whittled I would have sat down and crocheted a granny square contribution. There were knitted figurines, knitted villages, calligraphy, still life painting and much more, including this exhibition of Life Circles, or mandalas.

Colourful mandalas at the Forum in Norwich

I didn’t think I was much into mandalas. I see them regularly in crochet Facebook groups but hadn’t really seen the point of them, or found anywhere that I’d put them. But seeing these, I’m beginning to change my mind, and that’s mostly because of the shadows, which I think are even more magical than the mandalas themselves…

mandalas as part of the Norfolk Makers Festival

It’s been said that mandalas have been used to aid meditation by many cultures, I’m not sure if it’s the patterns, being able to express oneself, of the process of crafting which as we know is good for our mental wellbeing. In fact I’m hosting a craft session with a colleague at work on the upcoming University Mental Health day, which of course I still have to prep for!

the shadows on the Forum's walls in Norwich were spectacular
More mandalas, more shadows

These mandalas originated by Kally Davidson, a freeform crochet artist, who has been encouraging people in her community to make their own mandalas, which started using a crochet pattern passed down from her great grandma.

matching the mandala to the shadows at the Norfolk Makers Festival

Kally says that “this collection of mandalas is like a cross section of my community, influencing and inspiring action in each other like the radiating circular ripples caused by water droplets” and she’s thankful for this as it feels as if the community are “always part of the rings that make me.”

mandalas of all colours and all patterns

And for me, what makes them work isn’t necessarily the colour or even the shapes, but the impact that the group has when they’re together like this, and how that’s magnified by the shadows. Which when you compare that to Kally’s quote, does kind of feel quite deep…

I think I’m converted, what do you think of them?