Local art shop features handcrafted mandalas

Among the treasure trove of hand-crafted jewelry, illustrations and clothing made by independent artists, a wall in Gather: handmade shoppe & Co is dedicated to the work of an Indianapolis-based artist.

The exhibit, titled “From the Center: Carved Mandalas by Jamie Locke” began in December and will run through the first week of February.

The exhibit is located in a small art shop in downtown Bloomington.

Mandala, which translates to “circle” in Sanskrit, refers to a ritualistic and spiritual symbol for the universe, according to the Mandala Project. The Mandala Project is an online gallery that allows anyone to submit their own mandala.

The art form is present in many cultural groups worldwide, from Native Americans to Tibetan monks. In Tibetan cultures, mandalas were traditionally created using sand to symbolize the fleeting nature of the human existence.

A life-long artist, Locke first began creating mandalas in 2007, according to her website. She was inspired by the Indian art form of mehndi.

Starting her work with mandalas using ink and paper, Locke has since expanded her repertoire and carves intricate designs into mediums such as wood, glass, metal and stone.

“(The mandalas) take hours and hours,” store owner Talia Halliday said. “They’re done with a Dremel, which is a really small drill.”

Locke has used a variety of surfaces, ranging from shot glasses to guitars, as canvases for her mandala carvings.

Halliday said what makes Locke’s work even more special is her technique.

“They are completely freehand,” Halliday said. “I think most painters and large-scale artists usually sketch out their work beforehand, but (Locke’s mandalas) are totally freehand. It’s insane.”

This particular exhibit is devoted specifically to mandala carvings on birch wood. The pieces are made with basic mandala patterns and feature shapes such as dream catchers and hearts in addition to the traditional circular shape.

Painted with cool-toned hues, a gradient of indigos, blues, purples, greens and teals, these intricately carved pieces embody the peaceful and spiritual essence of the mandala.

Gather: handmade shoppe & Co. is a local store dedicated to providing independent artists an outlet for showcasing their work, which includes handcrafted jewelry, kids toys, illustrations, knitted and crocheted work and more, according to the store’s website.

The store will also offer workshops to further the development of local artists.

Locke works predominantly on the basis of commission, but she also has art for sale that can be found on her Facebook page and her website,

Gather: handmade shoppe & Co. is located at 101 W. Kirkwood Ave., Suite 112 in Fountain Square Mall. More information about the store can be found at

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