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


  1. Thanks for sharing a bit of your process, Beth. I like the idea of the teabags.

  2. I loved looking at your journals and hearing what you were thinking as you went along - how one idea linked to another thought which headed you off down a different path...such wonderful connections. Your flags will be beautiful and full of stories I am sure...

  3. this is so fantastic - watching how you process and work through ideas... your journals and pages are really wonderful... that tea bag thought has me headed onto another kind of set of flags - thank you for sharing this!