Circle Workshop – Art for the Heart

Circle Workshop – Art for the Heart

The very first marks or drawings made by a young child are often circular scribbles, being the first stage of creating the visual form of a human face. At the beginning of another Art for the Heart term I invite participants including several new group members to think about the circle form, or use it, while making art. Several pre-cut circles were offered as templates, prompts or stimuli. 


The embryonic form invites new beginnings. “We grow from a tiny round egg, encircled in the womb, once born, we find ourselves on a planet that is itself circular, moving in a circular orbit around the sun. We are anchored to the earth by gravity so that we are not conscious of our spinning. Yet our bodies know. If we look even deeper to the level of the atoms that comprise our bodies, we find yet another universe where elements whirl in curving patterns. The subliminal experience of circular movements, like the memory of our mother’s womb, is encoded in our bodies. Thus we are predisposed to respond to the circle. We share these facts of human life with all human beings both ancient and modern.” (Fincher, S. Creating Mandalas, 1991)


Group members incorporated the circle forms into their artwork rather than making mandalas. Mandala means centre, circumference, or magic circle. “Carl Jung adopted this sanskrit word (mandala) to describe the circle drawings he and his patients did. Jung associated the mandala with the Self, the centre of the total personality. He suggested that the mandala shows the natural urge to live out our potential, to fulfill the pattern of our whole personality. Growth towards wholeness is a natural process that brings to light one’s uniqueness and individuality.” (Fincher, Ibid)


“The mandala circle mirrors the Self as the container for the psyche’s striving toward self-realisation or wholeness. How can we create a sacred space into which we can invite the Self? Mandalas contain and organise archetypal energies from the unconscious in a form that can be assimilated by consciousness.” (Fincher)


After making art the group sit on chairs in a circle, around the circular rug, to reflect together on the artworks. Each person shares their own thoughts about their artwork and their responses to the artwork of the others.


Reference: Creating Mandalas  by Susan Fincher. (Shambhala Publications Inc. 1991)


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