Yantra

yantraSummer session of 1997 at Oregon State University, my them roommate Tami and I decided to take a stained glass class at the Craft Center. To pick my topic, I visited the library one day and found a book of yantras. I don’t remember how I exactly came upon a book of Yantras, I hadn’t been a student of Hindu and I hadn’t yet started a meditation practice, but I know I wanted a deeply symbolic symbol and it didn’t take me a long time to find. A yantra is a visual mantra in the Hindu tradition, something to gaze upon while meditating to aid the meditation process. I copied my choice yantra with a thick sharpie pen (not sure why). Which made my glass cutting very freeform. Because my lines see so thick, I ended up with glass pieces that were very “organic” and didn’t necessarily fit together. I spent a lot of time grinding to make up for that. My process was very different from Tami’s, who measured her piece with painstaking accuracy, and made a point to not include rounded edges, which are more complicated to cut as a beginning glass artist. Hers fit perfectly, and involved no correcting, as the bulk of my work was correcting. Her resulting piece looked perfect, yet machined. My piece came out organic, and evidently handmade.

The Kali Yantra inspired me for it’s reasonably simple design and symmetry, but also for it’s symbolism. I highly recommend reading about it here. I modified it a bit from the original form to make a piece within the limits of my class, so come of the symbolic corners of the piece are not represented in my piece. I also deviated from the historical colorings of the Kali Yantra, but I did so with great intention. Somewhere I have a piece of paper that includes the reasoning behind each color choice, and reason behind my choice of sanskrit in the center of the bevel. If I find that piece of paper, I will add it here then.

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