Nature surrounds us with a richness of beauty that requires a deep attention to apprehend and appreciate. Be it small or monumental, we've seen artists work with natural materials before, from feathers to leaves or sand, but Arizona-based artist Kathy Klein takes a decidedly devotional approach to her flower-inspired mandalas. Using petals of various wildflowers, Klein arranges them in circular forms, with a dizzying array of variety.
Originating from Eastern symbolism, the mandala represents wholeness, but also has uses in Buddhist and Hindu ritual ceremonies. Building upon the mandala as a meditative and ritual tool, Klein constructs mandalas that are offerings to the divine, calling them "danmala" (where "dān" means "giver" and "mālā" means "garland of flowers" in the ancient language of Sanskrit). The artist's state of mind while collecting and creating these pieces are crucial to the whole process, says Klein:
Kathy Klein is a devout lover of plants, animals, people and the divine presence within all. She creates the danmalas by first centering herself in a meditative devotional space. Next she gathers flowers and natural objects while her mind is kept in mantra, resting in the immaterial. Her inspiration is given from the golden sound residing within perfect silence. They are reflections of the inexpressible, a gesture which points towards life’s abundance, an unspoken verse of Love. The danmalas remind us all to listen to the unheard voice of nature, creation, and the eternal mystery.
The inherent geometries found in the curve of petals, stems and leaves are used to maximum effect in Klein's simple but harmonious works, offering a symphony of colours and textures for the eye and the soul.
These colourful bursts of natural beauty are arranged in various spots around Klein's home in Arizona, photographed, and left to be found by others and to decay naturally. For more of Kathy Klein's work, check out her website, or purchase her 2014 calendar.