Moved to new home, new phase in life

Moved to new home, new phase in life

I’ve moved from the Myrtle Beach SC area to a brand new home in North Carolina, 17 miles north of the incredible and artistic city of Asheville, and just two miles south of the equally incredible small town of Mars Hill.  The house (?) that I’ve moved into, shared with the couple that owns it, is the most amazing space for artwork that I could ever imagine I’d find.  In fact, I didn’t “find” it, but rather advertised what I was looking for, and owner Mark Peyton answered my Craigslist ad.  Mark and his partner Betty and myself share more values and ideas about life than seems possible ….. two prime examples: No TV, and blending foods in a Vitamix.  That last is especially magical for me, as I’ve been eating often two meals a day run through a Vitamix blender that I had to leave behind, as it is owned by my former, North Myrtle Beach, housemate.

So, for this post, THE HOUSE.  First of all, it’s not really a house at all, but a commercial building that the three of us are living in.  There is, though a huge kitchen, and, well, bathrooms (albeit of the sort found in gas stations).

The magical part is the space for displaying artwork, as Mark and Betty have transformed the former general store/gas station into an art gallery.  It’s not a full time art gallery (if you are in the area though, feel free to drop by) but rather is opened up once a month or so for special shows and events. What this opens up for me is, a new phase in my life, that I’ve had in mind for a long time: teaching others to weave mandalas through workshops.  The ceiling here is about twelve feet high, and windows for natural light are huge.  Artwork, chandeliers made by Mark, and such things as Amethyst crystals, are everywhere.

The cabinet is for glass knobs that Mark makes from tumbled glass, made to resemble beach glass.  Originally is was a library Dewey Decimal system card file.



Packing up, moving, and now unpacking has, of course, seriously disrupted and delayed my work schedule, but in the long run living here creates all kinds of opportunities for expansion of my artwork, and I’m very much looking forward to getting back to weaving new mandalas, and, planning and hosting my first Asheville NC area workshop.

Ojos de Dios and the Native American

Ojos de Dios and the Native American

My artwork, perhaps especially when I weave 8-sided designs, looks like Native American art, and so I have to be very careful in how I represent my work, as, I believe, all weavers of Ojos de Dios yarn mandalas should be careful. Let me state clearly, that, although I’ve largely been inspired by Native American artwork, I have no known or provable Native American ancestry, nor any affiliation with any Native American tribe.

In like fashion, I believe it is important for all weavers of Ojos de Dios to never label their artwork in such a way that anyone might confuse your work with arts or crafts created by genuine Native American, unless, of course, you genuinely are of American Indian blood. Likewise, I think it’s good to give credit to Native American influences and inspiration in as much as that is the case.  One might note that it is not only courtesy to avoid all claims of unfounded Native American origin, it’s the law, and a person falsely representing work as Native American when it is not can face serious fines.  For more, see The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 .

Collecting Native American art is a wonderful thing, and I strongly encourage it, as myself, I find Native American arts and crafts to the amongst the most beautiful artworks available.  If you are looking for American Indian made Ojos de Dios, I only know of ONE current weaver, a Lupan Apache from southeastern Texas, Julia Nava.  You can find her artwork online at a Cyrstal Buffalo website.  I was once able to find some of her pieces on eBay, when a shop owner who had carried her work went out of business, and sold off remaining stock.  I have some good photos of that collection HERE.

For anyone looking for genuine Native American arts and crafts, the Dept. of Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board has an online Source Directory, with listings by states.


When traveling around our great American Southwest in recent years, I did run across a few galleries and trading posts with either Hopi or Navajo ojos, but compared to the great quantity of such offering back in the 1970′s, there were very few indeed to be found.

My own first findings of Eyes of God was in the Guadalajara Mexico central market, where there was a stand of Huichol items for sale, including several colorful 4-sided (with four added on 4-sided smaller ojos) in a pattern I later imitated, and you can see an example of my most recent creation along those lines here.

This is definitely not Huicholi colors, but I believe I got the design proportions close to what I saw back in 1966.  I was commissioned to make this ojo for a HBO movie, but it ended up not being used.

A few months after I purchased a couple of these ojos, I saw an amazingly similar yarn mandala as part of an exhibit sent from Tibet.  I wrote up that experience on my website, HERE.  I plan on telling that whole story in more detail on this blog in my next post, hopefully coming soon.

Myself, I’ve often maintained good relations with individual Native Americans, received tips on weaving Ojos de Dios yarn mandalas in at least one case, and have even sold my work to Native Americans in recent years.

As far as I can determine, the Navajos and other tribal people in the United States, as I did, took up the mandala work of the Huicholi peoples, and expanded it into their own designs.  I believe also that native people of the USA, in a much larger area even the our great Southwest, took up the weaving of Ojos de Dios, and hung them in their own homes.  Apparently certain tribes in South America also have their own versions of yarn mandalas, which I assume evolved separately from the Huicholi peoples or any North American tribes.  There’s a good write up of the Huicholi Ojo de Dios in Wikipedia.

Until next time, Peace and Love to all,


How I choose my colors

How I choose my colors

Even more than design, I think that the chosen colors are the most important element that makes a yarn mandala beautiful.  In my own, not so humble, opinion, I think that my own mandalas stand out from others largely because of the beauty of the colors.  Recently I was asked how I choose my colors, and, not wanting to give a overly simple answer, I’ve come to write this post. I hope I can empower perhaps a few weavers to enrich their own mandals colors, colors that have the potential to still the mind, and enliven the heart.

When I first started making serious numbers of Ojos de Dios mandalas for sale, in the late 1960′s,  I was living near the Joshua Tree National Park in the California Mojave Desert, and the colors I worked with then, and continue to work with today, are largely based on the colors of that area, and of our great American Southwest in general.  I don’t in any way mean to imply that Southwest colors are needed to create the most beautiful of yarn mandalas, but rather I mean to encourage weavers to find their own places of nature that inspire, and that have enriched and enhanced the weavers own sense of beauty.

So, first and foremost, I say choose colors of the beauty of nature.  Secondly, I’m sure it’s useful to study the color wheel, and to search the internet for information on color harmonies.  I downloaded an ap for my ipod touch, called Coloursphere, which I found to be fun and interesting, and that confirmed several color combinations that I use. However I’ve never actually used the ap when it comes time to pick colors for one of my mandalas.  I can see, however, that such tools can be useful, and I encourage anyone to try color wheel picked color combinations for themselves.

It’s important, though, beyond color wheel combinations, to recognize and harmonize different classes of colors, namely: earth tones, jewel tones, primary colors, and pastels.  Myself, I use a combinations of earth tones highlighted with a few jewel tones very often in my work.  Others find it useful to stick with one of these groups altogether in any form of artwork.  Myself, I mix of these color groups often, but stay aware of the effect created.  When I mix earth tones and jewel tones, for instance, I’m thinking of a desert scene, with earth beauty highlighted by either Native American jewelry, or perhaps some lucky rock hound, or miner, discovering a vein of turquoise or nuggets of emeralds or sapphires.  Such an image might inspire me through a whole series of mandalas.

In my early days of ojo weaving, I used to sit by a particular rock that had several colors of lichens growing on it.  I wish I had a photo of that rock to share here, and hope before too long to return to Joshua Tree, find that rock, and get a good photo of it.  Meanwhile, here is a montage of three photos I downloaded fromr a Google image search for “Joshua National Park lichens”.


Other desert colors that influenced me then, and continue to find their way into my current work, are desert wildflowers, and some of the spectacular desert sunsets and sunrises.  The most common color in my work over the years, though, comes from none of these, but rather from the Native American “Sky stone,” turqouise.  Often, also, I’ll add in same colors that Native American artisans put into turquoise jewlery: coral and silver.

Here’s a photo of yarn colors based on nearly all the colors I’ve seen of desert lichens, except for shades of grey.  For years I hardly, if ever, put grey into my work, although now, thinking as much of silver as of grey lichens, I’ve taken to using greys much more.








In the last year of so, I’ve started using a lot of sage green colors in my work.  Add these, and turquoise, and you have the basis of a great many of my mandalas.

Also, I include white, or off-white, in almost 100% of my pieces.

Another inspiration to my work is the yarn colors themselves.  I find that in the yarns I buy there are many really beautiful colors that inspire me to weave them into my mandalas.  So where do I get these yarns?  Well, online, of course!  More specifically, I buy mostly two types of yarn, from three different online yarn shops: Yarn of the Andes, and yarn from Turkey that is exclusive to  These so called Calendon Hills yarns are the most beautiful yarns I know of that are available commercially, and they come in a pretty good selection of colors too.  You can find the HERE.

Yarn from the Andes, which are somewhat cheaper, and still very good, and with many more color choices, I buy at

this KnitPicks page for the best all wool yarn prices that I know of.  There is a fairly common all wool yarn from the Andes called Cascade 220, which comes in a really huge selection of colors.  I usually buy at a West coast shop which carries most, if not all, of the colors, called Abundant Yarns Online.  You can find its Cascade 220 page HERE.  One thing I really like about Abundant Yarns, besides the huge color selection, is that they will wind the skeins up into balls for you if you request that with you order.

There is one big advantage at being such an active weaver as I am, in that I go ahead and  invest in a LOT of yarn, and at any one time I keep at least 50 colors in stock to choose from.  So, here’s how I go about, in the most immediate sense, choosing colors for a planed yarn mandala.  I go over to my supply of yarns, which is usually spread out enough that I can see most of the colors, or at least all my current favorite colors easily, and start picking out a few favorites.  I may or may not have a theme in my mind as I do this, but I’ll show you an example here of my latest ojo, ButterFly World, where I was sticking with yarns I had worked with recently, which used both my usual Southwest desert colors, and colors that reminded me of butterfly wings.  I already had most of the colors already in three small baskets that I work from, but proceeded to toss out a few colors, and add in a few others.  This is typical of the way I work with both colors and design: slowly perfecting something I’ve already worked on.  While working, especially when working with this many colors, I set three baskets, pictured here, where I can easily reach them while I work.

Often the colors I’ve selected, though, are not my final choices, and I’ll go back to my main supply and add in another color, or toss out a color which I decide doesn’t fit into what I’m working on.  It’s all a very contemplative work, with not only deciding which colors to use, but which colors fit in next to other colors, which colors I what to be a basic theme and repeat often or in larger blocks of color; and which colors I want to be only a few strands as highlights.


The final result created from the yarns shown in these three baskets is perhaps the most complex color combination I’ve ever done, Butterfly World,  but I also think it’s one of my most beautiful mandalas.

I have to admit though, I found it somewhat mentally exhausting to compose with this huge number of colors, and currently am working on an ojo with only FIVE colors.  My advise to beginners of this art:  Stick with a few colors until you are sure you’ve gotten something beautiful before expanding into anything as wild and complex as Butterfly World.  This many colors gone wrong, and color clashes, and something overly busy, can ruin an otherwise perfectly OK design.


I hope this helps or perhaps inspires anyone seeking to create a yarn mandala in choosing your own unique color patterns.  Creating this kind of beauty can certainly carry over to beautifying not only other artistic projects, but can help us to learn to see the beautiful in colors all around us in our everyday lives.


Peace and Love always,


Welcome to my Mandala blog

Welcome to my Mandala blog

With this blog I plan to write about my own creations, my yarn and stick mandalas, and about all those around the world who have in the past inspired me, and who, often through facebook, continue to inspire me.

I have a few levels of writing about my artwork: my personal facebook page, the facebook group I started, Ojos de Dios, yarn mandalas of the world, a newsletter for subscribers via my website, and, in time, a planned e-book which will expand on all of the above, plus my yarn mandalas instructions which I sell on

More and more I’m moving away from the term “Ojos de Dios” for my work, and using the more universal “mandala.”  Known in Russia simply as “mandalas,” this art form has become very popular among young Russians, largely though the work of Anna Fenina, who has held many workshops over the last several years throughout Russia and beyond.

Two years ago, during a pilgrimage to India, I introduced the art to India in a few workshops I held, and now Julia Kazarina, like Anna Fenina, also a Russian, has followed in my footsteps, and held several more workshops around India.  Now yarn and stick mandalas have spread to hundreds there, and spawned it’s own teachers as well.

These will be some of the first people and events I’ll blog about.  Now that I’ve gotten started, hopefully I’ll be blogging here often, and, within at least the next two years, expand it all into my planned e-book as well.

Peace and Love to all,