An Experiment In Creating A Sand Mandala...

by Chris Draude

Contact Chris here.

"Being part of the compassionate community project and the training with Living Well Dying Well has invited me to re-address my attitude and relationship to life and death.

In terms of my own grief, being creative has really helped me personally in the healing process.


"For me, it is a way of expressing myself and feelings and unconscious states in a non-verbal way. It is both therapeutic and an opportunity to connect to my emotions, imagination, creativity and my relationship with the world, loved ones who are not present physically and myself.

"I hope to be able to use sand mandalas in Schools and the community as a way of raising awareness of life and death literacy. Years ago, I saw a group of Tibetan monks at Snape Maltings.


"I was blown away; this profound experience has stayed with me and inspired me (alongside the training at Living Well Dying Well) to attempt an accessible experiment in creating an adapted form of a sand mandala.

"For me, the sand mandala process represents the impermanence of all living creatures. It is the ultimate 'letting go' and, somehow, the normalisation of life and death. The natural cycle of life and returning back to nature.

"I have respect and honour to the monks who devote their lives to this art.

Points to remember if you wish to try an adapted accessible sand mandala, if you so wish or whatever or however works for you. This is my process so far..."

The Steps:

Hover over the pictures to find out more...


Create a sacred space, a peaceful calm environment, whatever helps you get in the zone.

Emphasise your focus and concentration, in the moment.


I made the sand, I used coloured chalks and table salt, creating different colours by rubbing the chalk and mixing it up with the salt. I found this quite therapeutic!

The design partly inspired by an exercise on the course and other courses, ideas for the World Music Festival, school and personal importance.


I decided to use tools that I had inherited from my Dad, who was a trained draughtsman.

Wow, these tools have been dormant for a long time and to use them keeps the memory of my Dad alive. That, for me, is quite comforting.

I used his special set of compasses, lead pencils, protractors, etc. I was attempting to aim for balance , symmetry, and precision without being too precious- the monks train for years in this art with such dignity, poise, grace and magnificence!

I drew the design out then outlined it in fine black felt tip.

I used cake icing tools to let the sand out sometimes hitting to release the sand.

I started from the centre and am working my way out.


  1. Do not use a hairdryer near the mandala.

  2. Be careful not to sneeze too raucously!

  3. If doing this outside, find a sheltered area; the wind could bring on the impermanence earlier than expected!

Designed by JMM, 2020.