Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mandala inspired by the colors of Thailand

The November challenge for my etsy polymer clay guild is "Mandalas".  When I first started thinking of what to create, I thought of the colors of the mandalas I saw in the temples of Thailand.  Often you could see stunning stain glass mandalas behind statues of Buddha as in this photo I took during our trip.

In addition to the beautiful patterns, I was struck by all the bright colors.  I decided I wanted to use bright colors; those that reminded me of Thailand.  Orange for the monks was a given, teal for the lush jungle vegetation, yellow for the marigold wreaths you see everywhere,  purple for the color of Saturday, blue for the shimmering rivers, wasabi for the cuisine and just a touch of silver.

Next came my drawing.  With polymer clay I seem to have a need to get something on paper as a way of getting an idea to my "right brain".

My idea was to have open spaces in the pattern which would sit on a black base as a background.  I used liquid polymer clay to build the base.  I cured the clay in the largest Fat Daddio's circle cutter.

Now to start the build.  Again using a leaf/tear shape cutter I cut out eight leaves.  I used a circle cut from card stock to build on.  The uncured clay is held in place on the card stock with dabs of liquid polymer clay in the same color.

By this time the drawing is history, I just keep deciding on cutter shapes and colors and keep turing the mandala adding embellishment upon embellishment.  I have to admit, I kept avoiding the middle! Finally ready for the oven:

I noticed a few little details were off a bit, so I straightened those before it went in the oven to be cured.  I also made a pill box cover and retro cane from some of the leftovers.  I always like to take advantage of conditioned clay (one of my least favorite tasks).

When it was cured, I held it up to the light and I really like the way light shown through the open spaces.  I decided against using the black base which would block that look. 

Completed piece: Colors of Thailand Mandala approximately 7" in diameter.

But then: It started to come apart, so on the black background it went.  I always learn valuable lessons in these challenges. 

More colors of Thailand, photography by Betsy Strebe all rights reserved.


  1. It's wonderful Besty! I love the bright saturated colors playing together with the shapes! It's such a fun piece to look at, with all that's going on... such a happy piece!