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BILL BARTLETT

SACRED GEOMETRY
BEACH MANDALA WORKSHOP 

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BEACH MANDALA MAKING: THE 'LOW TIDE CANVAS'
Beach Workshop, Polhawn  (2023)

THE WORKSHOP

This immersive approach to beach art involves the practice of drawing within the coastal landscape, working with the tide, light and weather.

Bartlett emphasises the pivotal role of this distinct location in Jung’s intellectual journey 100 years ago. The short film of the conference workshop offers glimpses of place, process, and the experience of making these large-scale pieces from billions of grains of sand.  The workshop draws together practice, theory and history, exploring the mandala through sacred geometry (see below).

A form of spiritual and symbolic art, the mandala is centred around the circle.  Its multifaceted therapeutic benefits can be explored through the process of creation.

The film focuses on exploration of shapes, texture and positioning.  Participants create circles and geometric patterns, as a starting point and ‘playful framework’, towards developing a personal approach for each individual.

Simple mark making tools and techniques are introduced, including rakes and ropes to construct a myriad of shapes, while the abundance of sand, stone and space support experimentation.

The impermanence of the sand mandala is an inherent part of the process, as they are eroded by the incoming tide, underlining their cyclical nature.

In his work, Bartlett has a particular interest in the potential of this practice to unlock personal insights and enhance self-awareness, explaining “I believe there's immense value in exploring the unconscious mind through the simple act of drawing on the beach”.

These areas are discussed below, with additional resources outlined and linked in the Further Reading sections—to explore these threads—and perhaps inspire you to create your own individual sand mandalas.

ABOUT BILL BARTLETT

Bill Bartlett, a Polzeath historian and Jungian Beach Artist, creates intricate and ephemeral beach mandalas on a vast scale.

After undertaking a psychology degree in Durham, Bartlett travelled the world as a teacher, working in Cambodia, Australia, USA, Morocco, Thailand, Kenya and Bangladesh, but was repeatedly drawn back to Cornwall.

Having taken friends and family on walks in North Cornwall for much of his life (often the same one but with new stories!), he now shares his knowledge of this place with others through guided walks and beach art.

He is also an original photographer for Geograph, and has many photos of North Cornwall archived for preservation by the British Library.

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DRAWING INTERCONNECTED CIRCLES
Sacred Geometry: Mandala Workshop, Polhawn  (2023)

SACRED GEOMETRY

A term describing mathematical patterns found across the universe,  Sacred Geometry spans domains of mathematics, art, spirituality and nature, where meanings may be attached to elements such as shape, proportion, line and graphical sequences.

From the DNA molecule to snowflakes, to honeycombs and even the stars and galaxies, what we understand as sacred geometry can be traced across nature.  The nautilus shell is often cited as an example of the spiral of the Golden Ratio, a mathematical value recurring in nature, associated with harmony and balance.  (See also Dale Mathers, who discusses fractal patterns in his presentation Dreaming: Between Conscious and Unconscious video coming soon). Historically, these patterns have evolved into systems and frameworks applied to architecture, art and design to embody these values.

The Geometry of the Mandala
In spiritual and cultural traditions, elements such as shape, colour and pattern can hold spiritual significance.  Across different systems of belief, the circle often symbolises creation; the cycle of tide and life; cohesion, wholeness, and self.  

 

The beach mandala work draws from these understandings. A circular form serves as the guiding centre of the process. Repetition, division, and symmetry are employed to construct more complex shapes and patterns, exploring relationships derived from simple first principles.

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BEACH MANDALA MAKING: PLAYING WITH LINE & SHADOW
Beach Workshop, Polhawn  (2023)

FURTHER READING

Whether you are just beginning your exploration into this practice or seeking to expand your knowledge base, these texts provide insights into the theoretical, historical and practical aspects of Sacred Geometry.

We have linked to the web site for Bill Bartlett, which presents a range of his supersized ephemeral mandala drawings and points to further resources.

In this section of his varied site, Bartlett writes:
Polzeath beach whispers of synchronicity. Perhaps it's the echo of Carl Jung's presence here in 1923, where his groundbreaking Cornwall Seminars left an indelible mark. Years later, Dora Maria Kalff, deeply influenced by Jung, developed the Jungian Sandplay therapy method and I teach Beach Art.

I offer Beach Art sessions as a playful framework for artistic expression. As Jung himself said, “Images and symbols are the language of the unconscious.” 
The vast canvas of the low tide beach becomes a safe space to explore those very symbols, harnessing the "healing power of play" Jung championed.


You can find it here:  https://www.northcornwallcoastpathwalks.co.uk

website

An introduction to the geometry which, as modern science now confirms, underlies the structure of the universe. The thinkers of ancient Egypt, Greece and India recognized that numbers governed much of what they saw in their world and hence provided an approach to its divine creator. Robert Lawlor sets out the system that determines the dimension and the form of both man-made and natural structures, from Gothic cathedrals to flowers, from music to the human body.

By also involving the reader in practical experiments, he leads with ease from simple principles to a grasp of the logarithmic spiral, the Golden Proportion, the squaring of the circle and other ubiquitous ratios and proportions.

Text from: Publisher | GoodReads

Robert Lawlor

publication

Much of what we know as math comes to us directly from early astronomer magi who needed to be able to describe and record what they saw in the night sky. Everyone needed math: whether you were the king's court astrologer or a farmer marking the best time for planting, timekeeping and numbers really mattered. Mistake a numerical pattern of petals and you could poison yourself. Lose the rhythm of a sacred dance or the meter of a ritually told story and the intricately woven threads that hold life together were spoiled. Ignore the celestial clock of equinoxes and solstices, and you'd risk being caught short of food for the winter. ...

A readable background to Sacred Geometry and its threads.

From the Fibonacci Sequence to Luna's Labyrinth to the Golden Section & Other Secrets of Sacred Geometry

Renna Shesso

publication

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BEACH MANDALA MAKING: CREATING A SPIRAL FORM
Sacred Geometry: Mandala Workshop, Polhawn  (2023)
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