While cruising around on Facebook recently, I stumbled upon the beautiful mandala art of Gerda Lamers from Groesbeek, The Netherlands. Curious to learn more about the artist behind the art, I reached out to Gerda with a few questions…
Gerda was inspired by viking art (see below) to create the snake motif in the mandala pictured above.
Tell us about your mandala practice, when and how did you start creating mandalas?
I started drawing mandalas about ten years ago. I just started doodling around and more and more it became an addictive hobby. At first my mandalas were pretty simple, but over time they became more refined and also bigger.
What is your process for creating mandalas?
Sometimes I just begin drawing and see what comes out of this. Sometimes I have a rough idea or theme in my head, or a combination of colours that I want to explore. Oftentimes, while drawing, I come up with new ideas to incorporate in a mandala. Recently I started using a compass, but only for smaller circles. For larger circles I use a ruler and drawing guides and lots of measuring!
The ancient Celtic brooch pictured on the left was the inspiration for this Celtic knot. The middle photo shows how Gerda builds her design and on the right the final design is cut out and used as a template for repeating the image throughout the mandala design. Only the outline is traced and the rest of the details are hand drawn.
Pictured above are different results using the same template.
For some of my more intricate forms or designs, I sometimes make a small template that enables me to create an outline that is the same for all forms of that particular design and position these forms in an exact way in the drawing.
For colouring, I use colour pencils and black fine-liner pens for outlines. Sometimes, however I’ll create forms on special paper (gold or silver), or pages from a novel (see above) on which I’ll draw my designs that I cut out and glue onto my mandala designs.
Gerda made this mandala on the occasion of the birth of her grandniece, Seva.
I see your recent mandalas incorporate beautiful and detailed Celtic knot work. How did you learn this style? What inspired you?
I got inspired by watching TV programs and reading books on Celtic and Viking history and art. I find that early Medieval art -especially jewelry- is beautiful, but Celtic art really stands out. I have a lot to learn on that very intricate style, but what I have learnt so far was by looking closely; after a while you start to see patterns in different knots. After a while you notice that pretty complicated knots often are made of two ‘tapes’ that are woven.
There are many reasons why people are drawn to creating mandalas. Why do you create them?
I’ve always admired mandalas, so one day I simply started drawing my own mandalas, as a hobby. I love vibrant colours in mandalas. For 24 years, I worked professionally as embroiderer of religious vestments, and because of that I am very patient. On some of my mandalas I have worked more than one month! Above all, I love being creative. Also, drawing mandalas is a rather meditative process.
This mandala shows Gerda’s husband with his favourite guitar.
Do you have any advice for someone just learning how to create mandalas?
Just start! The more you do it, the more possibilities you’ll see and ideas you’ll get.
Learn how to draw Celtic spirals in chapter 5 in my book, “The Mandala Guidebook.”