Every year, as summer solstice and Christmas approach, I like to create a mandala out of natural materials, and then make it into my Solstice card.

 It takes days of playing to get the one I want (none of these are ‘it’; I’m saving that one to show you later.

 This one is made out of the little one’s favourite shells. When she came to visit and saw my mandalas on the balcony, she wanted to make one of her own.

 And so I set her up with some leaves, shells and stones, all her own choice. She worked down the other end of the balcony, so she could play around without feeling she needed to copy me.

 Inevitably, there was some influence; however her mandalas, whether drawn or arranged, have their own style. They always begin to stretch and grow.

I guess that’s inevitable if you are 5 years old and every morning when you wake up you find that you did a lot of growing overnight. Your world is always expanding and you discover new things every day. And so you create elastic mandalas like this one.

I printed her shell mandala out and pasted it on to a card. She was so proud and took it home for her parents to admire. Now it has a special place on her dressing table.