Embroidered Mandalas Project

Embroidered mandala by Magda Wojtyra

The mandala project is a new embroidery/digital photography iteration of the utopian, contemplative labour ideas that underpin the Happy Sleepy collaboration.

Fine craft making as contemplation and creative labour as social and political action are part of many indigenous and traditional cultures. I (Magda) use the slow process of fine craft, such as embroidery and beadwork, as self-healing. Mandalas, themselves symbols of the universe, give form to ideas of providence and balance.

Thread and pearls mandala
Photography with a kaleidoscope filter of embroidery thread, glass beads, pearls, and shadows.

Balancing Reminders

We all need reminders of the bigger truths that underpin our daily effort because the odds can seem stacked against us sometimes and the effort can feel futile. The text on the mandalas are personal sayings that help to integrate the paradox of our lives: we must foster an optimistic attitude while we also need to accept great change and loss.

The phrases “The Universe Provides” and “Reabsorbed by the Universe” are beaded within the embroidery, turning the mandalas into linguistic as well as visual meditations on the bounty and balance of the universe.

See all finished work in the Mandala Gallery.

Embroidered mandala by Magda Wojtyra

The Universe Provides“, 7 x 7 inches, hand embroidery and beadwork with glass and semiprecious stones on linen, Magda Wojtyra 2017

Embroidered and beaded mandala

Reabsorbed by the Universe“, 7 x 7 inches, hand embroidery and beadwork with pearls, and glass and semiprecious stones on linen, Magda Wojtyra 2016


Instagram feed focusing on the mandalas.

Kaleidoscope Photography

The mandalas were inspired by a kaleidoscopic filter on a cellphone camera app that turns any view into a radiating, swirling pattern.

The very first mandala, pictured above, was made by photographing a hairbrush. The brush had black tines tipped with pink plastic, on a pad of charcoal grey rubber. The resulting photo looked like the tines could be embroidery stitches and pink seedbeads on a grey fabric. The pink of the brush handle is the central swirl and outermost border.

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