Paper Amulet 2
Last week I went to the Rubin Museum and did some sketches of masks, but the real reason I was there was to take a workshop. Last March I posted a paper amulet I had made based on an old sketch I did at the museum (https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/paper-amulet-with-buddhas/), but at that time I could not find any information about them online to see what they really looked like. When I saw that the Rubin was offering a workshop on paper amulets I signed up, ready to compare my interpretation with the real thing.
Quite different, it turns out. First, there’s what you can’t see: on the inside of the paper is a mandala with blessings and prayers. Originally these were painstakingly drawn for each amulet; now they are printed in black and white and then colored with the hues of the 5 elements: earth (yellow), water (white), fire (red), air (blue) and space (green). I like the addition of “space” to the four that are usually listed. Gold color (we used a gold gel pen) and gold leaf is also added. In addition, herbs and spices relating to the particular blessing are placed in the center.
There is a particular way that each is folded as well. In the end we had tiny thick paper boxes. Instead of stitching, as I had done, the 5 colors are wrapped around the amulet to hold it closed. There are traditional wrappings, or you can make up your own. They can be simple stripes, or woven with a needle; the ends can be tucked inside, or tied on the outside and left as fringe. There was not much time to do the wrapping, so most of us just did something spontaneous and simple.
I had done another paper amulet of my own before I took the workshop. I like the idea of the drawing inside. And I’d like to explore the threads wrapping the paper. But I like my own interpretation too. And I did write my own sort of blessing or prayer inside, so it was certainly in the same spirit.
The workshop was given by Carmen Mensink. She lives in the Netherlands, but travels around the world giving workshops, and I highly recommend this one. She is also an accomplished painter: http://dakiniasart.org/shop/mandala-of-the-5-elements-original-carmen-mensink/