SeptZENber

It turns out that I got some of my themes/months confused. I had thought that our Pokemon Go decor had been in September. Nope. It was a bonus August theme (thank you to my team for pointing this out to me – and I’ve gone back and corrected my earlier posts as a result). Basically for September’s theme we wanted something relaxing and peaceful; thus SeptZENber was born.

Natasia made a stunning tissue paper mandala in our front windows:

The front windows and door at our Children's Library featuring a lovely tissue paper and Mod Podge mandala in celebration of SeptZENber | hafuboti.com

I would find myself gazing at it when I needed a mental break from the tasks at hand. It looked especially beautiful in the morning sunlight since our building faces east. We also received a larger-than-normal amount of compliments and questions on the application technique from our patrons.

Natasia further continued the loveliness with our reading bench display:

Beautiful "Relaxing Reads" library display with a simplified flowery mandala | hafuboti.com

HUGER THAN NORMAL thank you goes to Natasia for this picture. I absolutely failed at getting good pics of all of her hard work which I hope to have corrected for future posts. It’s worth noting that this display was quite popular with parents who were in the midst of back-to-school stresslandia.

If you look closely at the above pic, you’ll notice a smallish peace sign with something on it on one of the window frames – that was part of our monthly scavenger hunt. It was one where the kids had to find the different colored peace signs and put it on their worksheet. Then they had to unscramble the letters to spell out a simple word like peace or love – depending on the week (or their age – we didn’t make preschoolers do the word scramble).

We also had special classes with Two Keys Creative Studio on stone mandalas and stone painting. Thank you to the instructor Sarah Fettin-Kuester for providing this pretty cool picture from one of our classes:

Image of library class attendees showing off their painted stone mandalas. Photo courtesy of Two Keys Creative Studio | hafuboti.com

It was during this class that Sarah discussed cultural appropriation and what a fine line it can be while giving a lesson about mandalas and what they meant in Hinduism and Buddhism. As a result, I had an “OMG I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS THAT WAY ” revelation. And because of this realization, I do not plan to repeat this exact theme, class, or use mandala coloring sheets for any of our passive coloring programs. I’d much rather err on the side of respect.

We also had a local yoga instructor come in and host classes for both young ones and their families. They were a big hit, and I only had to handle one complaint that “yoga is demonic and anyone who does it invites demons in to possess them.” True story. I believe that the patron and I had a good discussion about this since I try and do yoga to help with my chronic pain, and not once have I been possessed. In the end she was grateful that I took the time to listen and thoughtfully respond. Again – erring on the side of respect.

And that was really the biggest lesson I learned during SeptZenber:

Wouldn’t the world be a nicer place if we all erred on the side of respect? 

7 thoughts on “SeptZENber

  1. Hi, Can you elaborate on what you learned from Sarah? I have mandala coloring sheets in my library too, but didn’t realize there could be something disrespectful about having them. Thank you as always for sharing your amazing artwork and wisdom!

    • To sum it up: mandalas are sacred forms of group meditation that involve deep focused intent by several monks, and then are brushed away.

      So while we take the form/design aspect, the meditative aspect is muddied and/or modified, and usually a permanent creation – we basically take from this culture and change it without showing it much thought or respect.

      This is a pretty good article breaking it down a bit more if you’re interested: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/appropriation

  2. Could you elaborate on how you applied the tissue paper to your windows? I would love to try something similar in my library- given that it would look attractive from both sides- but would refrain from using a mandala after reading your thoughtful explanation.

    • From what I recall, Natasia used watered-down Mod Podge and a sponge brush. She’d apply some of the MP mixture to the window in the general shape of the tissue paper, apply it, and then VERY carefully sponge on more MP on the tissue paper. We’d use a combo of a razor-scraper and/or window cleaner to take it down.

      If I’m wrong on any of these points after I check with Natasia, then I’ll for sure update that in the comments.

  3. Pingback: Library Display Calendar - Jbrary

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