Honouring my book "Jewels of Nature"

Dear friends and fellow colour enthusiasts!

On September 17 I launched my Kickstarter book pre-sale crowdfunding campaign to raise the funds for the first print run! “Jewels of Nature. A Mandala Stone Treasury” is a stunning collection of images of my mandala stones photographed with the the nature inspiration/muse that inspired them.

This is a four year journey of creation that is now coming together and getting ready to be a physical reality. With the support of these pledges this book will go to print October 8! The campaign will run until that day- so now is the best time to pre-order your SIGNED copy! see the full campaign here.

 
 

My 2018 New Years resolution was to finish this book. Since this is a project about nature, my subject matter and inspiration is literally unlimited and I could keep creating forever. In January I began gathering my team to help me bring this book to completion. These people included an editor, a graphic designer, proofreader, fact checker, and photo editor.

Bringing these photographs into book form was a huge and challenging task and I set myself the goal of August 31st to have the complete manuscript and digital designed finished.

The week leading up to the 31st was a busy one- with many long hours and hundreds of emails. Completing this stage of the project was indeed momentous and needed to be celebrated and acknowledged.

As luck has it, an artist that I admire, Day Schildkret of Morning Altars, announced that he was holding a workshop on the 31st on nearby Salt Spring Island (where I used to live). Day creates impermanent earth art using found and foraged materials to create delightful and details “morning altars” and in the workshop we would learn about his art, his process, and create an earth altar ourselves. I knew that this was the perfect way to honour the my book.

 
 Some example’s
 

The 31st was a sunny and warm day, ideal for embarking on a journey in nature. Adam and I and around 30 others joined to listen and learn and experience. Day shared all about his process and what his art means to him.

Then it was time for us to apply his 7 steps to creating our own impermanent art installations. We had 30 minutes to gather the materials we needed. We were guided to really listen in to what we should and should’t gather/pick. The land we were on was a wide and vast with forest, garden, and beyond. I panicked- how would I have the time to find everything I needed?

On top of the hill I spotted an Arbutus tree- my favourite! So I headed there. I began to gather its shedded bark, fallen leaves, and the more time I spent there the more things I found to gather and collect. I realised that everything I needed was right there (how symbolic!) I gathered straw, blackberries, wildflowers, among other things.

We then had another 30 minutes to assemble our creation. Invited to set an intention before starting, I really focused into letting my book “go”. I thought about how it was now ready to be out in the world and spread its message. I prayed that its journey unfold exactly as it needs to- with freedom and peace.

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I began at the centre- as I do with all my mandalas, sorting my materials into colour. I felt like I was building a nest. The long strips of arbutus bark were perfect for forming a geometric star. I felt it radiate. As I built my piece, I thought at how at around the same time- my book manuscript was being sent to the printers and how test printing would begin. The gravity of these feelings- that I had completed this project- were so big that I it was very grounding to bring my focus back to my earth creation.

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The group then split into small groups where we had “show and tell”. It was a very connecting and intimate experience viewing other’s creations and hearing about their process. When it came time to looking at mine, the groups shared how they too could sense the cozy warm “nest” and how I had created a safe foundation for my book to flourish.

Upon closer inspection we actually found a previously unnoticed little feather in my mandala!

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I feel it is so important to honour and acknowledge big achievements and occasions. I really enjoyed this “morning altar” process and will definitely be making more of these in the future!

I’d love to hear of your own rituals or processes you have for marking special days.

To pre-order your copy of “Jewels of Nature” see my campaign here.

With gratitude,

Elspeth

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