A little over two years ago, Firefly Mandalas started on Tiverton-native Meredith Brower’s morning walk with her dog. She would gather pretty flowers, leaves, or shells and carefully arrange them on a minimal backdrop as part of a meditative ritual. Now, you can find the mandalas printed on aluminum panels, cards, and, most recently, tile coasters.
“My art is impermanent,” says Brower, who is also an avid gardener, yoga enthusiast, and freelance photographer. “I make it, photograph it, appreciate it for a moment, and then it blows away or dries up, and I move on.”
All of Brower’s mandalas are composed of the “everchanging inventory of flora” she is surrounded by at Arrowhead Farm, her home and workspace. Whether it’s a delicate, spiraled stem or brightly colored flower petal, Brower is fascinated by the colors, structures, and interactions between the materials she forages.
However, Firefly Mandalas is more than just art; it’s a product of Brower’s personal philosophy. “It’s about stopping the argument between the head and the heart,” she explains. Through particular obstacles in her life, Brower has persevered with the help of “changing perspective.” Sometimes she gets stuck on a mandala, and has to step back, turn the table, and find a new view for inspiration – “Just like in life,” she says.
In the future, Brower hopes to expand her prints onto reusable hemp market bags and silk scarves. She also wants to start clinics for kids and adults to make their own mandalas, in addition to the photography classes she’ll be teaching at the Dartmouth Cultural Center.
Brower urges others to “investigate the experience” and empty their dusty containers full of shells or stones they’ve collected, dump them on the coffee table, and get lost in the tactile, fleeting nature of mandala-making. Find Firefly Mandalas at the Broadway Street Fair in Newport on October 6