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 a little 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.
We wanted to reduce (or eliminate!) the text but keep the information. We wanted the information to be presented in a beautiful way but still be accessible to whoever 'reads' the picture. The information is 'hidden' in the artwork but once you know how, it's easy to read.
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.
These artworks allow the person who owns them to tell a brilliant story. They can tell anyone who looks at the art that it was 'grown' from a date that is has a special meaning to them, and 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.
A date can be broken into portions - at it's simplest there's a day, a month and a year. We 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'.
Here's an example of how to read the date.
There are twelve months in a year, so the month ring of the mandala has twelve spokes. If the mandala shows a date in March (month three of the year) then the top three spokes are a different colour from the other nine spokes.
To read the date in the mandala, just count the number of coloured spokes at the top of each ring. For days, the number of spokes obviously has to allow for the differing number of days in each month. The year ring has 100 spokes.
So many words! Here's a picture. You'll see that some of the spokes on each ring are a different colour to others on the same ring. Years are 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 one shows the month of October - the month ring shows ten bright green rows of spots and, at the bottom, two much darker rows of spots. The inner ring has 31 spokes of spots, with the top eight being predominantly green and all the others are predominantly black. So this shows the 8th October.
Of course, you don't have to stop at a day, month and year.
Stretch a little bit further day 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 that 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 and it 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: