San Francisco
Dance and Music

Ru Temple Design Studio
Ru's First Set of Mandalas

Ruth Temple's Mandalas

Mandalas are found everywhere and have powerful symbolism across all cultures.
All circles have a center.
This is principle of the center.
The center is everywhere.
The center represents expansion and integration of opposites, micro and macrocosms.
The center also represents the soul, god or the individual.
Circles symbolize unity/time/universal cycles/life creation/eternity/god/sun.
Circles/mandalas contain all symmetries.
All of Nature's harmonious principles are exhibited through its harmonious relationships.

from Jose and Miriam Arguelles Mandala Shambala: Berkeley and London, (1972).

I have always been fascinated with sacred geometries, from architectural detail to the subtle physics of musical composition. The golden mean, phi fascinates me wherever I find it in natural forms and in the ways people have applied it in art and science. This gets carried over to my explorations of art of all kinds. I was delighted when a friend, Moderngypsy, spread her idea for a technique of making manadalas by means of clipping and twisting and pasting elements in PhotoShop, and I've been greatly enjoying making them since. Here are a few for your enjoyment, with some more indepth notes on what it is I'm doing in PhotoShop, and links to other mandala mavens and how-to sites at the bottom of the page:

Great Blue Heron taking off.
Mandala made Nov 14, 2004
sun plaid
A rotary plaid, almost, made from sun under a So. Cal. pier.
Mandala made Nov 16, 2004
dancing kelp
Dancing Kelp
Made from a photo I took of the kelp forest tanks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Mandala made November 15, 2004
dancing madrone
From a photo of a madrone tree inland from the Northern CA coast, August 2004. The lush olive-green of these leaves makes such a contrast to the dusty sage greens of the palo verde up Sabino Canyon in the next images.
Mandala made Nov 6, 2004
Sabino Sky
Sabino Canyon Sky
Sabino Canyon is in a park near where my folks winter over in Tucson, AZ. One yule we rode up and strolled down the little road up the hill there.
Mandala made November 6, 2004
Sabino Canyon Sky 2
Sabino Canyon Sky 2
Another take from the same working mandala of the Sabino Canyon hill and rim of sky, showing detail a little closer in.
Mandala, Nov 6, 2004
This little guy is to show the intermediate step, a clip of cliff and sky rotated sixfold to make the center of the other two mandalas from the same Sabino Canyon photo.
Mandala made November 6, 2004
Arashi Shibori, from my handpainted silks
Mandala, Nov 4, 2004
Split rail
"Taylor Split Rail"
Photo from a No. CA camping trip
Mandala made November 5, 2004
Fire Dogs
Mandala, Nov 3, 2004
Kelp Dance
Mandala made November 3, 2004

Condom Art Car, San Francisco
Mandala, Nov 2, 2004
Red Autumn Leaves
Mandala made November 1, 2004

I have archived off a page of the first digital mandala made, which may be seen here at mandalaefirst.html

The basic technique I use was learned from Elizabeth Badurina, where you copy a wedge-shaped piece out of a photo you adore, and drop it into PhotoShop; copy a few more times, and Edit Transform each layer of picture-wedge into place by rotating and snugging them up one against another. When you have a few rotated around and placed, merge those layers and copy and paste and manipulate larger wedges. While it's tempting to go for even 8s or 12s, it's also fascinating to see if you can make an odd number of wedges all fit together.

Here's a quick description of how and what I do in making a mandala, from 2004: I use PhotoShop on a Mac to do this; you you cut and paste a wedge-slice, and either double the image with a flipped copy (like the cars) or not (like the manzanita first one I did). Copy and paste your basic element (where it lands in a new layer), and select and Transform that (?-T) with a free-rotate tool; then it's up to your eye and brain to joggle 'em right so you get even iterations however-many around. I freely confess to having a wiggly-enough brain to really enjoy things like the 11- fold radial symmetry of the manzanita mandala the best, but when my car-iterations were being Just Too Wierd to fit as originally sized, I joggled 3 iterations into a 90 wedge, and copied and spun that three times to make the 12-fold symmetry of the bookended image. Still with me? I used another photo of the other side of the car, flipped that to make the center, and used an 8-fold spin of foliage from that second photo to fill out the greenery behind the center motif; saved all this as a .psd file; saved a copy of all this to another file where I linked all the layers, selected a circular image, cut and pasted that to a new document, refined the size, flattened the image and saved to the jpg you see.

Some links to other Mandala makers, and thoughts about mandalas:
Eliza's Mandala page and technique are here at

There's a great educational site with background information on mandalas and their historic use at Sacred Geometry

Kristi Schuler makes mandalas by another method. Her gallery may be found here at Designedly, Kristi

Earth Mandalas has a different technique, tutorial and template you can easily use in Photoshop, here.

Powell's Books carries a number of good books on Mandalas and the making thereof. Support independent booksellers like Powells!

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All contents of this web page are created by and copyright to Ruth Temple 2004, and are licensed under a Creative Commons License. Anyone wishing to use any image from this page in any commercial setting is welcome to contact me for licensing information.