My mom treated me to an amazing prayer flag making workshop up at the Idyllwild Arts campus, taught by visiting artist Karen Michele. It was a beautiful July day of creating under the pines—a deer even stopped by for a visit (too bad I missed her)!
The theme was Tibetan inspired with the thought being that the wind will carry the intentions of the writings or imagery on the flags out into the world to benefit all living beings. In Tibetan culture, there are 5 flags, each with its own color and associated element. The word in parenthesis are my own wishes/intentions inspired by the element:
RED = FIRE (transformation)
YELLOW = EARTH (grounded/our roots)
BLUE = SPACE (happiness)
WHITE = AIR (silliness)
GREEN = WATER (compassion/peace)
If you are looking for a fulfilling creative project, I found this to be a wonderful exercise for finding the words and imagery to represent my personal wishes for myself and all others, and put it into something to be carried in the wind. It was something I’d never done before and that alone jumpstarted my creative process and ended up being the shot in the arm I needed to get back into other projects I’ve left incomplete! I’m working on those now, giving them new life inspired by a day of creative fun, new techniques and ideas.
If this appeals to you, let the elements inspire you or simply think of qualities you wish to maintain or wish for yourself and others to live by in the world. With materials at hand or your “theme” in your head, gather embellishments and imagery that signify your words. Use an 8” X 12” panel of material for each flag (I cut up a pair of old jeans) as your canvas and bring your intentions to life in that space! Leave about 3” to 4” at the top for folding over ribbon, cord or rope for hanging.
My whole strand is about 4 1/2 ft. long. Each panel is made from a recyled pair of jeans (flag panels) and acrylic, slightly smaller than 8”X12”. Embellished with: embroidery, can lids, glass beads, leaves, material, buttons, wire, scrap metal pieces, post cards, copper wire, metal tags, Sharpie...
I am a little attached to them right now, but I have every intention of placing these outside when the weather cools off a little. I am in search of a special place, maybe our front door(!), to hang these so they can fulfill their true purpose! I think it would be fun to document their "lifespan" of prayer releasing :) I’ll be sure to keep you posted!
Here are each of my flags, click images if you’d like larger view:
RED = FIRE = transformation
While photographing the flags, a breeze released a batch of my intentions for you! Maybe you felt it...