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~ The 7 point plan for hosting a Big Girls Coloring and Conversation Circle ~

Thank you to everyone who has participated in our on line survey that invites your input about connecting with Intuition and your experience of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book. If you would like to particiapte in the survey, here is the link: The Best Kept Secret's for Women's Personal Development and Well Being

Like many women, Gerri is very keen to establish her own home Coloring Circle which can also include a Coloring and Conversation Circle in nature and conversations on a particular theme.


I will address Gerri's questions via a Seven Point plan for creating a Coloring Circle.

Gerri wrote:

'My primary use currently is for my own personal development and stress relief. I would like to invite friends to my home and begin a coloring circle - not sure how that would look.

Q. Do we just color and chat?

The first step in creating a Big Girls Coloring and Conversation Circle begins with setting your Intention.

There are no rules as to what your Intention may be - some people create their Coloring Circle solely for social reasons, to catch up with friends and family, to share food and conversation, creativity and Coloring.
Other Circles are created for a very specific reason that may range from Coloring whilst participating in spiritual or personal development related discussions or to gather in the creative space to support a friend who is going through a difficult time. We also gather to celebrate milestones, return from travels and the arrival of children and grandchildren!

You will find that once women are gathered in the Coloring space, conversation, stories and laughter will flow as easily as the creativity that is expressed in the Coloring pages.

Q. Do we color in silence, meditate and chat later? Food / drinks or not? I have no idea where / how to begin.

This is a fabulous question Gerri as it opens the doors to the infinite possibilities that emerge whenever women gather with a shared intention.

I have created a 7 step process for you to follow in order to discover the treasure chest of the Coloring Circle. As I mentioned before there are no 'rules' when it comes to creating a Big Girls Coloring and Conversation Circle but there are well travelled pathways that are easy to follow and will lead you and your guests into the magic of the mandala and the Coloring process.


1. Set your Intention.

Do you want to create a Coloring Circle for social reasons? Are you keen to have deeper conversations with your friends or are you happy to just color and socialise? Your intention will determine how you set up your Circle and who you invite.

Along with setting your Intention you will also need to make a decision about refreshments and food. In some of our Coloring Circles each member brings something to share for lunch or morning /afternoon tea or supper, depending on the time of the Circle.

At other times a hosting member will supply the food, especially if it is a short circle of two hours or so.
If you are initiating the Circle and plan on it growing over time, you may like to provide the initial lunch or afternoon tea and discuss with your invited members how they would like the Circle to develop.


2. Create your invitation list.

You may like to begin with a small group of 2 or 3 friends who either share your interest in Coloring or will be open to experiencing Coloring together in the Circle. This is a terrific way to bring new and old friends together, to connect with family members or simply invite your old and trusted friends into the creative space.


3. Purchase your equipment.

You may decide that you would like to supply guests with a copy of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book if your Circle is for a special occasion such as a friends birthday. If you decide to supply the Coloring tools, pencils, pens, crayons etc you will need to purchase them beforehand. Alternately your friends may have their own Coloring supplies that will be shared on the table.

You can direct people to Amazon for purchasing their copy of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book here: The Big Girls Little Coloring Book on Amazon:

4. MedARTate on your theme.

Creating a space where your friends and family will gather to Color together is a wonderful, inspiring project and it is important for you to have a very clear idea of what your theme will be.

If you are meeting purely for social purposes you will find the conversation rises and falls with a kind of magic that enriches the Coloring experience. If you decide to choose a specific theme, for example "The woman who inspires me most" there will be some beautiful stories emerge that are in alignment with your intention!

You may also like to choose a theme from The Big Girls little Coloring Book beginning with the first Mandala “My Thoughts Pollinate the Ether” Ask your Circle members “what does that statement mean to you?” and the conversation will amble down some very interesting paths indeed!
MedARTating on your theme can include using colored pencils and a blank page to draw in how you would like your Circle to develop or you may like to color the SiStars mandala in The Big Girls Little Coloring Book as you identify your Intention and set your theme.

5. Create your space.

When I host a Coloring and Conversation Circle I enjoy the setting up of the room as much as I enjoy the time we spend in the circle. If I am supplying the pencils for people to use on the day, I always sharpen them beforehand.
I dust and vacuum the room, place candles on the sideboard and prepare the food with a sense of love and gratitude. Meditation music and incence or lavendar oil also add to the ambience of the setting and create a peaceful, tranquil setting for when your friends arrive.
This image below is of the table in my “Big Room” all ready for the guests to arrive:


6. Welcome your guests and Launch your Circle.

It is a great idea to let your invited guests know from the out set what your intention for the gathering is. You may like to write about it in your email message or discuss it over the telephone when you invite them. When they arrive they will have a sense of anticipation and excitement over what the day /evening will hold and you may choose to Welcome them in a way that generates a sense that this new Coloring and Conversation Circle is a place where they can have fun, share stories, laugh and create together!

When I welcome my guests to a Coloring Circle, I pay my respects to the traditional Aboriginal people of the land we are meeting on as a way to acknowledge we are gathering on sacred land.


7. Share your story.

Now that your Coloring and Conversation circle has begun you have joined a growing, global movement of women who are experiencing the joy and the magic of meeting in the Coloring Circle and sharing in the spirit of fun, sisterhood and creativity!
I would love for you to share your experience and stories on The Women’s Coloring and Conversation facebook page facebook page and in doing so you will inspire other women who are interested in creating a home Coloring Circle by participating in a community of like minded women from all over the world!

There is a Coloring Revolution Happening & there are very good reasons why!

Have you noticed how many articles and news segments, facebook posts and blogs have appeared in the last few months about the phenomenal rise in coloring books for adults? I have and I'm thrilled that the best kept secret in women's personal development is now reaching audiences far and wide!
Many women experience coloring as a meditation that generates well being and a connection to the spiritual self beyond the every day chatter of the every day life.

I have been creating Mandalas and coloring sheets for women for over 20 years and have seen the tremendously positive impact of coloring first hand!

In shelters and prisons I meet many women who give feedback that coloring is one of the best ways to relax because they experience a reconnection to their creativity. The reconnection often opens up old doors on talents and interests that have long been forgotten. As a staff training and development tool colouring pages offer an experience of mindfulness and creativity in the areas of staff training and development and I have been creating and developing them in these settings for many years.

There is debate amongst art therapists over the value of coloring books as "therapy" but what the women who have been making the connection to coloring have told me over many years is that they find it therapeutic, restful and often a catalyst for exploring their creativity and the role that their hands and imagination can play in moving forward from past difficulties.

As Carl Jung said:

Often the hands will solve a mystery that the intellect has struggled with in vain.

In celebration of the launch of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book I thought I would share a few of the things that I have learnt about the why part of the Coloring Revolution and some of the reasons we are seeing such a meteoric rise in coloring books for adults.

1.Coloring is therapeutic. In the words of one of the women in our prison group "I've met a lot of psychiatrists and therapists and

counsellors who want me to talk about the things that happened in the past but for me, sitting with the coloring book is one of the most peaceful places I go to".

Coloring a pattern or template is similar to walking a labyrinth. The lines that are followed create a meditative state and within the conformity of those lines, like the labyrinth, the mind and body enter into a soothing meditation that is not confined to or bound by the pattern that is being followed.

2. As children we were very connected to our coloring pencils and often received a coloring book as a gift. In kindergarten we were coloring all the time and then, sometime around junior primary, our colored pencils began to take a back seat to learning processes that were not so much concerned with creativity as academic performance. Many women never found their colored pencils again...until now!

Women are now reclaiming their colored pencils and returning to the fun, relaxing enjoyment of coloring.

3. Many women are tired and exhausted from participating in you can have it all and are now holding down full time jobs as well as running a family full time, pursuing studies and in amongst it "all" are tired, restless and feeling disconnected from their creativity.

Coloring creates a peaceful, personal space that is a form of open eyed meditation. Breathing slows down and the rhythmic movement of the pencils is akin to a mantra that slows the mind and stops its restless chatter.

4. Women experience a great sense of connection and community when they come together to color in circles. This is especially relevant for women who say they are tired of socialising in public spaces and are looking for a return to the Village and the sense of community and belonging that is at the heart of conversation about when the world was a much more simple place.

Gathering in small circles creates a trusting, innovative space where young women and older women can gather. Where we can meet up with friends, make new ones and share food, stories, creativity and laughter together.

These are just a few of the reasons why Women's Coloring books and Coloring Circles are on the rise.


The Big Girls Little Coloring Book has 21 Mandalas, each accompanied by an Affirmation poster with a thought provoking message.
It has been a pleasure and a great honour to create a coloring book for women that covers topics such as the power of the mind, the nature of patterns in our life and how to tap into that deep well of creativity that we knew so freely and easily as children and, for many women, are re-discovering again through the pages of coloring books for grown ups!


The Magical Child in Exile

Carol Omer

Reclaiming Creativity

I worked in women's shelters and human services for many years. The training that was on offer for staff was mostly issue related -dealing with challenging behaviours, anger management and loss and grief.

Most workshops had power points, butchers paper and a predictable format . Creativity as a medium for training and relationship building was foreign to the concept of professional development. The absence of multi sensory engagement sat within a larger empty field where information in human services is delivered as participants sit still, hands motionless in the traditional class room format.

What happened to all that movement and activity, fun and music in the kindergarten space where rapid learning was accompanied to the soundtracks of rhythm, paint brushes, fresh air, movement and a sense of magic and possibility?

Did we out grow the enjoyment of play or was it taken away and replaced with the sit still, stop fidgeting, eyes to the front rigours of the western education system?

I originally wrote The Magical Child in Exile when I was working in homeless and domestic violence shelters and recognised that many of the young people who came to live at the shelter had lost their sense of wonder and creativity but when creative processes were offered to them, becoming hands on and imaginative seemed to ignite an old spark and reawaken a playful, risk taking aspect to their nature that we had not seen before.

The Magical Child in Exile

Once upon a time there was a Magical Child who loved to draw and dance and sing and paint and laugh and play. Some days the Magical Child just twirled and swirled in circles for the sheer pleasure of it all.

The Magical Child even had an invisible friend and all the grown ups thought that was very cute, just as cute as when the Magical Child played ‘make believe’ and “I can do and be any thing”.

When the Magical Child was sad, tears flowed.

When the Magical Child was happy, laughter cascaded.

When the Magical Child was angry there were big yells and sometimes a full-body splat onto the ground but as soon as the moment was processed the discordant energy left their body leaving the cells free to breathe and grow and remain in their healthy natural state.

But by and bye-bye something happened one day.

The Magical Child was in the midst of telling one of the grown up’s (the groan ups as she later called them) about a funny little make believe story when the grown up said, stop being silly! You can’t keep pretending like that! You are a big girl now! They had said the same thing to her brother not so long ago. You are a big boy now. Stop crying. You’re not a baby! STOP IT.”

The Magical Child was shocked and her shock was accompanied by an unpleasant feeling inside of her tummy that took a long time to go away. It was a shaming, a conforming, con-forming moment. A matter of fact moment that began to alter the course of the Magical Childs life forever.

A shaming moment that would seep into the recesses of the subconscious mind and like a noxious weed, eventually choke the fertile magic-making soil as surely as if a nuclear land scape had been dropped in the new’clear landscape of the Childs mind.

And so it began. The artist, the story teller, the dancer , the prophet , the mystic all living and breathing through the imagination - the I~ magi~nation- of the Magical Child was told to stop! Be quiet! Don’t dance on there you’ll fall! Sit down!! Don’t be silly!! Stop asking so many questions! STOP!

On and on the toxic commands continued. All the way through school where the Magical Child was now only permitted to create only between 10 am and 11 am (art lesson), to tell stories between 2 and 3 on Tuesdays..(English lesson). Creating whilst remaining as motionless as humanly impossible. Stop fidgeting! Stop day dreaming! Pay attention!

A~Tension indeed!

Facing the front board, bored inside of a square box they called a room, a box where whirling, twirling, playfulness no longer came through the door, banned from ever mentioning invisible friends lest you invite the horrors of medication and mislabeling before you have even learnt how to tie your shoes up properly, the Magical Children sought to become what was expected of them and learn about things beyond their Magical, creative realm.

The Magical Child quickly learnt not to show sadness, anger or confusion and to repress inappropriate eruptions of joy, fear or insecurity in the class room. Making sure instead to h~o~l~d~It~In!! Sit Still! Eyes to the front…STOP whispering, laughing, talking. Stop. Stop. Stop.

Of course eventually the Magical Child stopped completely.

A kind of who-I-Am-amnesia set in.
Forgetting about the art, the magic, the songs, the dances and the stories and instead replaced those Magical currents with learning the things that the teacher insisted was important to their current learning, competing with the other lost Magical Children in the sports yard, in the academic arena and eventually in the work place.

If they were able to still function that is.

Magical Children are resilient and they are able to forget if it means freedom from the shaming, the naming, the labeling and the ire of the grown ups.

But some succumbed to their true self in spite of them self and sometimes became known as disruptive, troubled learner, withdrawn or uncooperative and other such names that reveal an inability to conform to the lost-Magic around them.

So was born the latest generation of leaders, many of them Magical Children in Exile, who will perpetuate the disappearance of magic and creativity in the system rewards conformity and compliance. Some even called it the evil empire.

A system saturated with lost Magical Children, living unreal lives, not even realising – real~eyesing – that who they have become is not who they were meant to be.

Many of the Magical Children, now groan-ups themselves are still h-o-l-d-i-n-g—i-t—-i-n-

After all the word evil is just to live backwardly….

It is not surprising many of the once-magical-minds of the inhabitants of the evil empire became choked with the weeds of mental illness, alcoholism, drug dependency, neurosis, psychosis, anger, depression, boredom and frustration, competition and back biting and preoccupation with celebrity lives and drama!

Magical Children are full of pure, free flowing creative energy and energy can not be destroyed, it simply transforms, turning toxic, creating tragic from the magic.

Millions of grown up’s are lost Magical Children in varying degrees of exile though a few do escape and return to their natural state I hear.

This must be why a nation can be preoccupied reality television and obsessed with the lives of the stars, the gods and goddesses of magic and creativity. A preoccupation with intrigue and adoration, seeing the world of possibility in the magic-mirror of television.

The men and women who did not stop playing and imagining became some of the richest people on earth. What a reward for staying connected to the world of pretend and play!

No longer creating and producing their own stories and art and dance, the need for fantasy and magic nevertheless remains ever strong.

Indeed when Magical Children in exile see others leading a magical life, something within their own self may yearn to return to that place of Magic, creativity and infinite potential for love and connection.

How many people are sighing their day away, feeling that something is missing not realising that ‘Something’ is their free flowing creative Self…

Sadly though the lost story teller may now be churning out reams of tragic-magic, gossip, chaos and unhappy relation

ships, forever telling their wounded story teller tales to friends and family, occasionally plummeting into the deepest chasms of depression and despair, overwhelmed by the tragedy of an uninspired life.

Alas the lost artist may be obsessively cleaning a clean house or weeding a weed less garden seeking to create something of note in their world, processing those ever-flowing creative energies towards their small boxed in life. At its most insidious, the Magical-Child will succumb to the hyper-high, outrageously creative manic energies , ill-fated to become an uninitiated mystic or master creator of chaos and mayhem.

If it is true that in order to experience heaven one must become like a little child then it might well be that the Magical Children no-longer-in-exile, those who have recovered from the amnesia and remembered who I Am will be the ones to remind us all how to begin the wonderful journey back to our true self and to reclaim what was always within.

After all the word reclaim is simply the word Miracle in anagram disguise...


Comments

Computer-phobia. Total REMIX

Twenty years ago I was working at a women's shelter. It was 1994 and our recently acquired electric typewriter (that was shared by all of the staff ) was considered to be state of the art equipment.


Each time a new resident arrived at the shelter we prepared her case note file with a wad of lined papers that were placed inside of a clear, thin plastic folder. The intake sheet, referral notes & medical information were at the front and we added enough blank pages to document the facts, accomplishments highs, lows, dramas and dreams during the woman's time as a client of our service.

It was a very hands on process and integral to the ritual and routine of welcoming a new resident into the Shelter and the challenges and opportunities that living in supported accommodation presented for her.


The best part of creating the files was selecting one of the scenic calendar pictures for the front cover. We added visual imagery and evocative scenes of nature to client files knowing that by the time she left the shelter, those hand written pages would reveal some very confronting case notes that she may ask to see one day in the future or that could requested by the courts as evidence in custody and child removal cases.

One day we received notice that all staff were booked in for computer training and unlike stress management or dealing with difficult behaviors’ training, it was mandatory. If we weren't on shift that day, we would be paid to attend and for a small budget agency that meant only one thing. This was very serious. Very serious indeed.

I am reminded of the opening scene in Chocolat where the townsfolk are gathered in the small church and are startled by the loud wind that flings the door open as the woman dressed in red makes her way through the snow storm.

Big changes were on the way and we were not at all ready for them. We would have liked to shut the door and computer training to go away but of course that is not what happens in Chocolat land.

The training day came around quickly, staff went along reluctantly and a few of us were a bit subversive, insisting that typing notes is not the same cerebral, hands on process as writing them and would therefore diminish the content. We laughed at one another's slow typing that sped up on the words the and for and our well behaved protests were received good naturedly by the trainer but of course, they bore no fruit.

We were a tiny voice in a small suburban shelter calling out as the tsunami of technology began to crash down on small non government agencies everywhere. Seasoned shelter workers know that hoping and wanting things to be different is pointless when the tides are not in your favor. So we started to paddle.

In the not too distant future all case notes and client related information in our agency would be created and stored on the security locked computer. Goodbye calendar pictures, hand written files and the occasional drawing to illustrate a point and hello passwords, security codes, firewalls and virus updates.

The computer moved in and it was received with the warmth and affection of an arranged marriage where the duty bound honor the protocol but are left wondering about the long term future of such a loveless union. The colorful, full size calendar pages were retired to the Craft Cupboard and lived out their remaining years in the hands of small children who made them into collages and mothers who pinned them onto the bathroom wall, seeing a possible future in the sunrises and seascapes.

By the late 90’s the shelter was floating, swimming and at times drowning in a global ocean of technology that linked everyone into cyber space for the first time in human history. We gave birth to a web page and my in house newsletter C.H.A.N.G.E. had to live up to its title as we joined the growing numbers of agencies that were no longer carrying out their work using scissors, pens and pinboards.


If someone had said to me : One day you will write (in less than 50 words) the winning entry to a Culture, Technology & Entrepreneurship Conference and spend time in the presence of creative leaders, innovators and cutting edge content creators in the field of digital technology I would have said :

I don't even know how to spell entrepreneur...

In these high tech, digital times it is easy to forget that only a short time ago a day at the office was defined by landlines and typewriters. Important information was disseminated by secretaries and managers or displayed on pin board notices. Telegrams that transmitted tragedies and the unexpected were much cheaper than an over seas call in a world where the public phone box was integral to every day life. Only the most senior members of an organisation carried beepers and later on, heavy mobile phones with enormous batteries that were too large to fit in a pocket.

Many older workers in human services today still think in feet and inches and can’t tell you how tall they are in centimeters. The changes have been rapid and all pervasive yet paradoxically is ancient history in the lives of the current generation who were introduced to computers in primary school and have been calling their grandmothers on mobile phones for centuries.

Fast forward from 1994 to 2014.

I left the Shelter 10 years ago and in the decade since have developed community arts programs that includes digital story telling in marginalised areas. I create pdf downloads of art based life coaching tools for busy women who have forgotten how much they loved creativity as a little girl and social media has enabled me to inspire women in Canada and America to initiate the women’s colouring circles that I created in Adelaide a few years ago. I have Skyped and swiped the television screen by mistake after too many hours swiping on the iPad and I regularly transmit stories via mobile phones, stories that can lift the spirits of a grieving friend thanks to the 3 million cat videos on youtube.

In 2012 I married a man who left teaching to become a film maker, which at the time was a seemingly outrageous possibility for a mid life man with no background in film. He has been able to achieve his vision for working with traditional Aboriginal people to tell the stories they want us to hear because he recognised that technology creates a level playing field and digital media enables new partnerships to be formed to create projects that ensure traditional wisdom and knowledge are preserved and shared.

We have recently screened our first documentary at a launch hosted by the South Australian Film Corporation. It was filmed on a compact, HD camera and edited with equipment that not so very long ago would have required a vast editing suite and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Instead the light weight, heavy duty lap top and camera enabled remote Community access for filming in breathtakingly beautiful locations with an ease and reliability that was both unobtrusive and reliable.


My husband and I have spent our recent date nights in social media development forums and attending google hang outs and ad words training where the biscuits and coffee keep it just on this side of 'date'! We've learnt about the kinds of information that is gathered by a click of a keyboard and how there is a fine line between the cookie and the cookie monster if we fail to practice good digital hygiene in a world where advertisers are so informed, they can target people who wear a particular brand of clothing and are sitting at their computer eating tim tams between 7 pm and 9.30.

In 2005 I met the late and very great Peter Wintonick whilst he was Adelaide’s Thinker in Residence. He was a digital magician who used cameras and mobile technology as the eyes and ears for the kind of story telling that changes lives. We joked that he was the creator of Documeant2be's.

Peter Wintonick inspired me to go beyond my old community workers reluctant embrace of technology and engage with it as the powerful medium it is.

He envisioned a digitopia and was a larger than life creative visionary who, like a modern day Johnny Appleseed (pun not intended) loved to plant seeds of digital possibility that took shape and form in the imagination of friends and strangers alike.

20 years after the day we were sent to Computer Training I can spell entrepreneur because I have auto correct switched on. I know about augmented reality and location based apps that can communicate the memories of an old derelict building or map an evening stroll that will then tell you how many calories you burnt and what shape your walking trail has made.

Those calendars images that we collected and lovingly placed at the front of the files that documented the stories (that most of the women eventually outgrew) can now be created by selecting one of the billions of images available on line. The sunsets and ocean scenes on calendars that brought beauty to case files can now be digitally imported for those who believe in the importance of bringing colour and creativity into formal digital domains where files and policy and procedures manual exist.

I look back on the day we were sent to computer training as a turning point, a time when a group of homeless shelter workers were sent into the burgeoning era of technology, feeling like we were entering a place where Metropolois was meeting 1984. We shuffled powerlessly into the unknown, with no idea that in a few short years, technology would transform Maxwell Smarts infamous shoe phone into a portable media studio & empower people from all walks of life to tell stories, battle chaos and communicate like never before.


In April 2014 I won a ticket to the REMIX Event in Sydney because I was able to capture, in 50 words or less, how technology enables new forms of participation in arts and culture.

Who ever would have thought that day back in 1994 when I lead the protest about the arrival of the computer into our calendar girls space that I would be so very excited to be attending the conference where previously:

Hundreds of people eager to learn how culture, technology and entrepreneurship oppose, attract or mesh together and create business value, flocked to the state-of-the-art conference room of the US business and financial news giant Bloomberg to get challenged and inspired.”

I am a recovered computer cynic, an avid, passionate technology convert and I am thrilled beyond measure to have won the ABC RN Future Tense competition. I will blog, tweet, facebook, you tube and perhaps even podcast about the event because in 2014 pARTicipation is a multi media art form and the world, quite literally, is at our finger tips.

And our ideas can be beamed up in an instant Scotty!

I messaged some of the people from my old work team at the shelter to let them know my exciting news about the competition. (Good news stories are oxygen for shelter staff ). They sent messages via facebook, twitter, email and sms but I made sure to call our oldest worker, Thelma because …well… she still likes to talk on the phone and she never really got used to writing her case notes on the computer.

The world has come such a long way since 1994 and Thelma reminds me that whilst engaging with technology was originally an in house directive, it quickly became a choice for some of us. It is something that Thelma never really took a shine to whilst for others it became a new found passion, born as a result of a once very awkward arranged marriage.

Who ever would have thought!

Thank you to ABC RN and REMIX Sydney for opening this amazing REMIX door!



Carol Omer


I was asked about the creation of The Big Girls Little Coloring Book...

I received a delightful letter from a friends daughter who had received The Big Girls Little Coloring Book for Christmas.  My friend had purchased the  book   for her mother, her daughter and her self and I was delighted when Kiani contacted me with the following message:

Hi Carol, I have a question about The Big Girls Little Coloring Book... More than one question actually!

How long did it take you to come up with the pictures that are in the book? How long did it take to create? Was it hard to do? How did you come up with the idea of having a Big Girls Little Coloring book? What got you interested in drawing?

Kiani’s questions were a welcome opportunity to reflect on the process of the book after months of developing the Mandalas and poster and I told her I would answer them as a blog post with an acknowledgement of appreciation to her. 

Thank you Kiani! I have enjoyed your questions and the opportunity to reflect on the Big Girls Little Coloring Book and where I began as a Mandala artist.

Here are the responses  to your well thought out questions:

How did you come up with the idea of having a Big Girls Little Coloring Book?

I had been creating Mandalas for women’s groups for many years. I was working in homeless shelters and women’s prisons and wanted to have personal development information available that didn’t need to be read as many women were not into reading or could not read because of low literacy, some  came from non-English speaking back grounds so I was looking for creative ways to share information and create a relaxed learning environment.

As my personal development art became known across women’s services networks in our town people began to ask me for copies of the Mandalas for their mum / sister / friend etc and it became apparent that the Mandalas were appealing to all women, not just those who were in shelters and prisons.

I had created a similar book of Mandalas with information a few years ago called The ART of Change but it stayed within the circles where I was working at the time. It was pre-facebook and social media era  so there was not the same on line  opportunities to share and market self published works like there is now.

How long did it take you to come up with the pictures that are in the book?

It was in March 2012 that I was offered a venue to launch The Big Girls Little Coloring book at my friend Megs Conscious Connections Centre a few months later in December,  12/12/2012

I had not even begun the book at the time, although I had many years experience of making Mandalas and women’s personal development art so I wrote out a schedule for the Mandalas of creating  one a week for 20 weeks and then a week or so for the posters that accompany them.
I also got married in that time so it was a busy few months and having a clear schedule for creating the Mandalas was very useful.


How long did it take to create?

From beginning the Mandalas to the launch it was 10 months & for the most part, I did stick to the schedule and found that having a plan was very useful. Although I think the book really began almost 20 years ago when I first read about Mandalas in Carl Jungs  book Memories, Dreams and Reflections.

Was it hard to do?

The biggest challenge was actually making the commitment to doing the book. 

Many people has asked me over the years if I would put my personal development art into a book and I usually said I will one day and will make sure to invite you  to the launch. The group of 4 women who encouraged me to actually DO the book and not just talk about it didn’t accept my standard reply, instead they came up with a date and a plan to support me through the creative process. I then became accountable to a group of women who really believe in my work and the importance of sharing it in the larger world.

If ever you want to achieve a creative goal Kiani, I really recommend you find one or two friends or family members who love and support you  and can be there during the challenges and celebrations!

What got you interested in drawing?

I was very lucky to grow up with a creative Mum so when most of us stopped drawing and making things as we went on past primary school, I continued drawing. I actually believe we are all creative but many of us stop doing the drawings that we loved to do in early child hood, and then we forget we ever used to do them in the first place.

In my later years I was always doodling during meetings, on the telephone, I discovered that I absorbed information better if my hands were occupied as I talked or listened. This is known as kinaesthetic learning, whereby we learn best by doing,  by having movement as we explore new concepts and information.

Even now I see interesting shapes in the clouds and landscapes and am always thinking “hmmm…that would make a good Mandala”.

Thanks so much for your interesting questions Kiani. 

You are very welcome to share photos of your coloured  Mandalas on The Big Girls Little Coloring Book facebook page and I hope the coming year is filled with fun and creativity for you!

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