Can art can be both beautiful (attractive and interesting to the eye) and informational (it can show some kind of information)?
Of course it can! Often it's both.
Art from past centuries can be beautiful but it can also tell us something about the period in which it was created - the clothes people wore, the kinds of places they lived in, perhaps even something about how they viewed the world.
This got us thinking.
We wondered whether we could design some contemporary wall art that combines beauty with information. Many of our personalised print designs are text based (you can't get much more text-based than a crossword, and we do a lot of crosswords!). The text usually celebrates an event or a place or a date - sometimes all three at the same time.
Below are some of the mandala-inspired designs we came up with. They show dates (or dates and times), which makes them a unique gift for many different occasions: anniversaries, weddings, birthdays. The date is 'hidden' in the artwork but once you know how, it's easy to read.
These artworks give you a brilliant story to tell. Imagine telling someone that the art was 'grown' from a date that is special to you, that the artwork is a unique way of celebrating that date. There aren't many pieces of art you can say that about!
Wandering round the art shops of Thamel, in Kathmandu, Nepal, we've seen some incredible hand painted mandalas.
There are works with the most intricate detail, explosive colours and staggeringly beautiful design. Some of them are covered with illustrations, some of them are purely geometric. Some of them take weeks to paint and some of the designs date back centuries.
We've created mandala-inspired pieces of personalised art where each individual mandala represents a date. You can read the date in the mandala once it's hanging on your wall or propped up on your mantlepiece.
Mandalas and dates are an obvious combination: the geometric form of a mandala is well suited to showing a series of numbers that, when put together, make a date.
We break the date into portions - a day, a month and a year- and display each portion separately. Our mandala-inspired design has a ring for each portion of the date, and each ring has a number of 'spokes'.
Click on any of the images below to order or for more details of the mandala design.
There are twelve months in a year, so the month ring of the mandala has twelve spokes. For October, the tenth month of the year, the top 10 spokes are a different colour from the other 2 spokes.
To read the date in the mandala, just count the number of coloured spokes on the upper part each ring. For days, the number of spokes allows for the different number of days in each month. The year ring has 100 spokes.
So many words! Here's a picture.
Some of the spokes on each ring are a different colour to others on the same ring.
Years are shown on the outer ring, months on the middle ring and days are shown on the inner ring.
It's even easier to see in close up - this mandala shows October 8th.
The inner ring (representing days) has 31 spokes of spots. The top 8 spokes are predominantly green and all the others are predominantly black.
The month ring has 12 spokes. There are 10 bright green spokes (representing October, the 10th month) and, at the bottom, two much darker spokes.
This picture is zoomed in too far to be able to see all the year spokes.
Of course, you don't have to stop at a day, month and year.
Stretch a little bit further and you have minute, hour, day, month and year. And yes, we've done a mandala-inspired design for that too!
It's a unique way to show the time and date of the birth of a new baby, and it's not too babyish so when baby grows up, it's something they'll want to keep hanging on their wall.
A unique piece of art 'grown' from the moment of your own birth is something a bit special!
Some people record the exact minute of their marriage, and this print is a great way of displaying the moment of marriage without the distractions of large lumps of text.
For this one, we have five rings instead of three. Running from the outer ring to the inner ring we have a representation of year, month, day, hour, minute.
Here's an example:
And here's a close up so you can see some of the detail:
There's space at the bottom of our personalised mandala designs for a line of text. It's printed in a small, simple, readable font, which means you can add an extra little personal touch if you're giving one of these prints as a gift. Or you can choose not to use it at all.
And because different people have different colour preferances, our personalised mandala wall art is available in several different colour schemes. They're all pretty bold, because that's how they look their best.
These aren't pieces to hide away and ignore, these are pieces to look at and talk about. They're a personal date translated into a unique design.
In this design we've added the day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...I'm sure you can guess the rest!) to the day, month and year of the date to give a four-ringed mandala. Counting the different coloured spokes in the central ring gives the day (Monday = 1, Sunday = 7).
Here's what it looks like:
Again, the close up reveals more of the lovely detail: