Monday, July 30, 2012

update from Spain

A small update about our group's Flags for Peace activities:

The members of the artists group 'Roots' that are involved in the Flags project met last Friday evening to plan our activities. We met in Ana Carreras' studio and had a nice dinner after the meeting. I took this shot while we were seated at the dinner 'table'. From left to right: Birgit, Esther, Francesca, Angel, Lilianne, Jordi, Monica, Silvia and Ana. I was holding the camera.

We had fun and we also decided the course to follow. We are barely starting to create our flags, so I can't show you any yet. But we did make a definitive decision on how we will fly them. They will all be hanging together from a rope or wooden bar and we will be meeting with representatives of the local institutions to find a public space for them. Some alternatives (pending authorization):

* In the square in front of a fourteenth-century castle
* Near a Medieval stone bridge in Valderrobres (the main village in the area)
* In one of the main streets of Valderrobres

There are 18 villages in Matarranya (an administrative devision comprising a number of municipalities) and we will try to get them all involved, so that the children of each village participate in the project too, creating their own flags for 21 September. It really depends on the teachers in each village to organize workshops for the children for the occasion. Then there would be flags flying in each one of the villages, apart from our own flags. I think it's a wonderful idea and I do hope the teachers will collaborate. This way, the Flags for Peace Project would become a mass event in the area.

I must say the Flags that have already been posted in this blog are really inpired. I love the creativity and open-mindedness in them and the beauty of the resulting works. They make the project even more inspiring.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Arizona Peace Flags

I was inspired on a recent road trip we took through the backroads of our beautiful desert here in Arizona and fashioned these flags after the paper fiesta flags that are hung on special occasion throughout your home and yard.  I've always loved the intricate nature of these paper flags and the many colors they come in.  So, I have created each flag with those in mind.  Each flag measures about 9x13 and is hand cut from a piece of steel using my hand held plasma cutter.  I envisioned all the beautiful Cactus plants, Roadrunners, Javelina, Saguaro's, and various other animals that live in our beautiful Arizona desert and with the center being the symbol of PEACE.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Peace is everywhere

Whilst I say peace is everywhere it is truer to say that once one is conscious of symbols of peace one begins to see them more.

On our recent few days away I saw and captured the images below.

©2012 Barry Smith - A conscious message scratched on a mossy wall to hold back the sea
©2012 Barry Smith - Part of a poem on a pathway in a public park
©2012 Barry Smith - A very peace-filled carry bag?
©2012 Barry Smith - Peace bag in the window display
Just having these symbols about, including colourful and joyful retro bags, encourages one to reflect on the possibility of peace - at least subliminally.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

first set complete

my first set of flags are in the darchor style - or vertically oriented... 

and, yes, they are small!

i used my carvings of the 'om' symbol and an opening lotus blossom to etch metal... i liked the idea of an opening flower here - to me it acknowledges the difficulty we can have being vulnerable... unlike the natural growth of the lotus, we often have to work at being open... i think many of us at times stay tightly bud-like, but the only way to experience and share love and peace fully is to blossom...

there is a lapis drop at the bottom... 

this was interesting for me - while flags are traditionally on fabric, my jewelry/metalworking background clearly guided my decisions... the carvings were first intended to use on a soft material... but i had to try them with etching on copper and brass and am glad i did... 

i really want to tell everyone how pleased and grateful i am for all of the participation, the community that is very present here... by having you signed up already as authors, i get to be just as surprised by the blog posts that regularly appear as everyone else... it's a gift and i thank you! if you aren't already an author and would like to be, please just let me know...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Prayer Flags Printed on Dryer Sheets

I thought this video shows a really clever way to recycle dryer sheets and use them to make prayer flags. If you don't have a printer or one that prints color, I'm guessing you could also use block printing techniques by carving some rubber stamps like Mary Jane spoke about in an earlier post. I love the delicate transparent feel and the possibilities for layering.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


As I walked to the car yesterday morning, I noticed several of my peace flags had been swept up by the winds from our thunderstorm the other night. I started to flip them back down, but stopped.

Mother Nature's been playing...and creating patterns. Either that or someone in the neighborhood is having a bit of fun with me and not fessing up. My girls can't reach high enough yet and my husband wouldn't do it so...I'm believing Mother Nature did it. What are the odds?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Back in March of this year, Mary Jane Dodd gave this six month notice on her blog.  She was giving everyone the  opportunity to celebrate international peace day on September 21st. I loved the idea of sharing peace flags, but knew I probably wouldn't have time to participate. And as I told her then, I would be with her project in spirit because as my family can attest, I've always had World Peace at the top of my Christmas list.  Little did I know that a couple of days ago, while rummaging around in my studio...I would find a print from a lino block that I made several years ago.  When I saw it, I instantly
thought about the flags for peace project...and Mary Jane asked me to share it here.

The print is 5.5 x 11 inches and I carved it from the back of a piece of linoleum.  
It was created at a time when I was doing linoleum prints for shirts. I'm sad to say I no longer have the print block, but I'm hoping to use photoshop to reverse the print image and 
use iron on transfer paper to create peace flags of several colors.  
Isn't it nice when these things happen?

And it occurred to me that my vanity plate
is spreading a thought that is a building block for peace.
I took this shot right after I got it....I didn't realize I'd had
it for four years until I saw this photo. I hope it has
a positive impact where needed.

I leave you with this thought.

"The place to improve the world is first in
one's own heart and head and hands, and
then work outward from there."
—Robert M. Pirsig

we are all members of the human family

"Whenever I meet even a 'foreigner',
I have always the same feeling:
'I am meeting another member of the human family.,
This attitude has deepened
My affection and respect for all beings.
May this natural wish be
My small contribution to world peace.
I pray for a more friendly,
More caring, and more understanding
Human family on this planet.
To all who dislike suffering,
Who cherish lasting happiness -
This is my heartfelt appeal."
~Dalai Lama

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Peace and The Art of Love and Forgiveness

I came across this project the other day, and I felt like it had a connection to the Flags for Peace Project. The Art of Love and Forgiveness is the title of a 10-day art exhibition that's part of International Forgiveness Week and The Weekend Of Perfect Peace in Wisconsin.

I liked how they connected the concept of peace with a direct action such as forgiveness. This has given me something to ponder as I'm still coming up with my design and message for my prayer flags. Forgiveness of others and forgiveness of oneself has a profound impact on the people who surround us. What other actions or non-actions create peace in our lives?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

do flags have roots?

Hello everyone! This is Ersi, from Spain. I haven't posted anything in this blog for quite some time but now I have news about the 'flags for peace' project here.

I am part of a group of artists called 'Roots' and we all live in the Matarranya, a beautiful small county in Northeastern Spain. Please bear with me those of you who already knew that, I thought I'd go briefly through the details again for the artists that are newer to this blog.

We are a group of 26 and there are painters, sculptors, photographers, textil artists and mixted-media artists among us. We met last Wednesday in one of our (almost) monthly gatherings and the 'flags for peace' project was one of the issues on our agenda.

We met in a lovely place called 'Mas Marianets', a country house that also has space for exhibitions, workshops, etc. I felt like sharing some photos of our meeting with you, so you can be part of our gathering.

It's not always easy for 26 artists to commit themselves to one project, there are so many things that can get in the way: jobs, family, summer holidays, previous engagements... So, for the time being, only 10 of us have confirmed that we will fly our peace flags in September. We will hold a special meeting on the subject on 27 July and then I'll be back with more news and specific details.

Some of us will work with fabrics, others with paper and one sculptor is bent on creating an  iron flag! Mary Jane, I hope we won't put your patience to the test!

The main thing that still has to be decided is whether we will fly our flags individually (I am really looking forward to watching an iron flag fly ;) or as a group. The idea would be to join all our individual creations in a larger compound and set it out in a public space, where it would remain till the weather - and some art-loving by-passers - takes its toll on it.

I like the idea of a very large 'flag' that would be the sum of ten different parts. Peace will bring them together and their togetherness will strengthen the idea of peace.

The other important thing still to be determined is where the flag/flags will go. There were many lovely suggestions on this: 1. On a by-road skirting a forest. 2. On the shore of a nearby lake. 3. On a famous local mountaintop! (I think this one won't do at all. Not if people have to walk up steep mountain trails to find out what the heck that distant huge banner of sorts is.) 4. In the main squares of the villages in the county. This one is my favourite. It would be like an itinerant exhibition of our flags and it would also be a great way for the Town Halls to get involved in the project.

I am sorry I cannot show you any actual flags yet but we'll get there. We intend to have them ready by the first week of September. And we're sure to get the local media's attention too, on the project and on this blog.

I hope you have enjoyed the tour around Mas Marianets. I wish we could all meet in a workshop there sometime!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

keeping the momentum going and a supply link

one of the things i look forward to seeing is where people will diverge from and where they will stick with tradition... 

each one of us defining how we make the flags our own... 

depending upon what you plan, i found a link to blank flags made in nepal that i wanted to share:

you can find these here at the dharma shop... and they also come in a larger size as a set of 10...

have a peace-filled weekend -

Thursday, July 12, 2012

supplies in, making a start

for my flags, i knew i wanted to be able to create rubber stamps with symbols of my choosing... it's something i had never done before - so with the arrival of the supplies this morning, i decided to give it a try... 

i wanted my first one to be of a lotus - i found this image in robert beer's book 'the encyclopedia of tibetan symbols and motifs' - and used an eraser (instead of the good carving sheets i had ordered)... 

while i was carving, my daughter came home from a photography workshop she had been working 

and handed me this -

a lotus petal!

she had no idea that i was working on this today (then again, neither did i until an hour earlier)

this stamp is under an 1" square... my stamps for the flags will be at least 3" x 4", maybe 4" x 6" ... i like its rough woodcut effect... 

it was a nice affirmation of what i was doing and the start that had been made... 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sketching Prayer Flags

I've just started pondering and gathering ideas for my prayer flags. I'm never someone who just dives in head first and makes something. Usually, I like to daydream on it for awhile and infuse my projects with symbols that have the most meaning to me at this point in my life. So here are some tidbits taken from my sketchbook.

One thing I like to do is clip out magazine photos that inspire me, and you can see pictures of tubs of ice cream that I thought created a neat color palette that I might use.

I'm also feeling drawn the symbol of a butterfly, so I was playing around with the idea that in Tibet a prayer flag is called a "wind horse" and started imagining butterflies as pulling the sun across the sky.

Other things that I write in my journal are musings on what medium to use. Do I want to do photos, paintings, drawings, prints, or digital textile design?

A nifty idea I came up with was using my Lemonade Mantras positive affirmations and creating some quotable teabags to hang on a string. I'm tickled by the concept of some kind of herbal offering in a pouch with a mantra hanging on a line like little prayer flags.

When I started conceptualizing the project, I tried to look for other similar symbols inhabiting my life that I could draw from. The first memory I came upon was a line of laundry blowing in the breeze. How many of us grew up with family that hung our laundry out on sunny days and watched it dry and flap in the breeze? There was something comforting about that domestic process of hanging laundry out to dry. Can I cross this traditionally female domestic chore with prayer flags?

Another memory that makes me think of prayer flags is seeing a string of colorful papel picado banners during Day of the Dead celebrations in San Diego. Can I use paper cut to create my prayer flags?

I have a lot of choices to make, but just putting them all down in my sketchbook helps me begin to narrow my focus. For the time being I'm going to let them marinate and see which one keeps calling me to back.

What memories and symbols from your life do you connect with the concept of prayer flags!
Beth Hemmila

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A temporary home

My flags are finished
and some have found a temporary home

on our front porch.