RHS Chatsworth’s Mandala Mindfulness Garden

As news broke that this year’s flower shows have been cancelled, I found myself gazing at a pile of dry, leafy debris, cleaned from my hens and chicks, wondering whether making a mandala would sooth my mind. It wasn’t the best of ingredients, being a uniformly dull beige.

Overhead view of hens and chicks mandala
Mandala made from hens and chicks in contrasting colours

My thoughts turned to last year’s RHS Chatsworth Flower Show. The Mandala Mindfulness Garden had been designed as a quiet space to allow an urban school to provide wellbeing sessions for small groups and in one to ones. A sense of rest (from the seating areas) and calm contemplation (the mandalas), was balanced by flow (the airy planting and the oval path). Continue reading “RHS Chatsworth’s Mandala Mindfulness Garden”

Vertical Form (St Ives) By Barbara Hepworth With Reflections

Vertical Form (St Ives), a bronze sculpture, with reflections
Vertical Form (St Ives) in the window of the Barbara Hepworth Museum

I do like this picture, although it has as many accidental elements as purposeful ones: layers, patterns, textural contrasts and red herrings.

Although I lined the sculpture up reasonably well with the r/h edge of the frame, the reflections make it look all catawampus. That doesn’t just allow me to use the word my sweetheart taught me (we would say ‘skew whiff’) but it also makes the picture seem more abstract. That seems fitting.

I tried cropping closer, but prefer the picture with the distractions in. They have an unsettling effect and they provide context for a bronze sculpture that has St Ives in its name.

I suspect the reflections of the houses humanise the bronze more than if the clean lines of a gallery were behind it. The sculpture seems to gaze out, watchfully or wistfully.

The colour combination is muted – natural stone, grey, plus a languid take on the traditional blue and white that symbolises Cornwall – helping the gleaming sculpture hold its own visually in the gallimaufry. Continue reading “Vertical Form (St Ives) By Barbara Hepworth With Reflections”