Sortalas-my Book of Mandalas-sort of: Day 1

I’ve mentioned in the past, my strange reluctance to create mandalas.  I don’t quite understand it, because I love looking at them, and truly admire those who draw and paint them.  Perhaps, I’m just not ready, and will someday have the sudden urge to paint nothing but mandalas.

Meanwhile, I wanted to make a gift for someone that loves mandalas.  I decided to go against my own inclinations and do up a book of them for her.  As you might expect, me being me, my mandalas sort of aren’t mandalas.  so I’m calling them ‘Sortalas’.

I created three small booklets, using a faux leather technique for the covers.

Then I sewed the three booklets together.

Since the book has three sets of covers, it doesn’t really have a beginning or an end.  The sewn binding is loose enough that you can have any one of the booklets at the top, and there really isn’t a top or bottom.  That makes the whole thing kind of circular.

I used a plethora of techniques and mediums, heavy on the watercolor, for my Sortalas.  I didn’t keep track of what I was doing though, so no tutorials this time round.

Instead of showing you all of the Sortalas at once, I’m going to show you a booklet at a time, stretching it out over the next three days.  The better to see you wi….uh…I mean the better for you to see them.

Tune in tomorrow for set two!


  1. ooo I love that the books themselves circle around. I'm a fan of the faux leather technique too…. did you have pages strung up all over the place like I did? I've made journal covers too, but most recently I made them into little mini books, folders actually, for both ATCs and Zentangle® tiles. You can check them out at Where did you find the embossing folders? the ones you used look new to me….Nice job!

  2. Whether you choose to believe it or not, these are perfect examples of mandala art. There really are no mandala “rules” other than which you impose upon yourself. The word itself means “whole”. Carl Jung brought mandala art to the West & used them as a form of early art therapy with himself & his patients. His process was to start with a circle and fill it in with whatever was on the person's mind. The process I used to make thousands of mandalas was to start at the center & work my way out in radially concentric patterns. (Which is how most people seem to describe mandala art) Use rulers & compasses or not. Stat at the center or fill in a circle. However you do it, (I believe) it's meant to be a representation of who you are in any given moment. Whether or not you choose to (or are able to) complete it in one sitting is up to you.

  3. Thank you! I'm used to seeing perfectly round mandalas that repeat and mirror so that it just doesn't seem like a mandala to me if a piece doesn't have those features. But it only makes sense, with the long history and tradition of the artform, that it would go beyond that.

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