Participating in the Prayer Flag Project

by Judy Gula

Participating in the Prayer Flag Project

by Judy Gula
Prayer flags made by members of Judy's Altered Minds, a fiber/mixed media group Sue Sladek and her prayer flag

At Artistic Artifacts we have a mixed media group that meets once per month, on the third Sunday at 1:00 pm. Judy’s Altered Minds, or JAMS for short, is very important to me personally and to the success of the Art Community that we are building here at Artistic Artifacts.

Members of the group played a large part in raising more than $1,800 for Food for Others through our Mixed Media Metallics Challenge this past winter, helped staff a community outreach for an Art Therapist conference, and this past weekend when the group met they dove into creating prayer flags to participate in The Prayer Flag Project.

Vivika Hansen DeNegre started The Prayer Flag Project several years ago, inviting all who are interested to join her in making Prayer Flags. Each flag is created in the style and materials of the artist’s choice, then hung outside. The concept is that words and sentiments expressed in these little pieces of art dissolve into the wind and then spread to all whom the wind touches. On the project website, Vivika notes that the flags “are a living, breathing, kinetic journal of our hopes, dreams and concerns.”

Some of the prayer flags created by JAMs members

One of the JAMs members followed Vivika’s tutorial and generously sewed up a large collection of “blanks” for the group to use. I donated paint, inks, fabric and stencils to the cause, many women bought items from their own stash, and the frenzy of creation began.

Rosalie Lamanna stitches beads onto her prayer flag (inset) Sue Haftel and her prayer flag

Everyone tried to embrace the idea that these flags are not meant to be permanent but to instead return to the universe as they spread their prayers and wishes. So there was no stressing over perfection, but instead an atmosphere of play and fun.

A number of the flags are staying here to hang outside the shop, while others went home with their creators, either to have a finishing touch applied or in order to hang in their own yards and gardens.

Because I was finishing up teaching a 2-day class, I wasn’t able to participate on Sunday with everyone else from JAMs, so I made my prayer flags this morning. It took less than ½ an hour. I mention that detail because doing something nice for the world really is easy!

The base of my prayer flags is a monoprinted fabric that had previously been created using a gel printing plate (the dried fabric was already in my stash), collected scraps of ribbon and fabric.

Supplies to create prayer flags Monoprinted fabric torn into strips for prayer flags

I began by ripping the fabric to the size of the ones already completed by my JAMs buddies. I then ironed a fold for the sleeve and laid out my chosen fabric strips and ribbon to span the flags.

Sewing the seam to create the hanging sleeves for my flags meant that I also caught the ribbons and strips, so in one step, I had the addition of hanging embellishments for my flags as well.

Sewing a sleeve and trimming the flag Adding ribbons and strips of fabric to embellish the flags

I then wrote my words using Copic Markers. Several of the flags I made are dedicated to the idea of protecting our teenagers from suicide. Unfortunately our local High School has lost several students to suicide in the recent years, and it has affected the community greatly.

Lettering the flag with prayers and wishes Finished prayer flags by Judy Gula

As I said, I spent just minutes: it’s so simple to participate in the Prayer Flag Project. I hope you will join in! And once the rain pounding our area ceases, we’ll share a photo of the flags flying!

May 5, 2014 update: the rain did finally stop, and included at the top of this posting is our final result! We love the colorful stream of flags decorating our shop entrance!

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