Natalie's Everyday Heroes: Christina Destrampe creates beautiful mandalas

NOW: Natalie’s Everyday Heroes: Christina Destrampe creates beautiful mandalas

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A traditional mandala has a circular design with repeating colors and patterns. In Buddhist tradition, creating them is a form of spiritual meditation.

This week's everyday hero has been creating these beautiful art pieces for two-and-a-half years, and now she's teaching others how to make them. 

"So, you want to really get in there. Grab out the whole dot," explained Christina Destrampe, holding a small pair of tweezers.

Creating a mandala is a repetitive process.

"You really need to stab," she insisted.  

It can even be meditative.

"Hence the stab and grab," she said.

Well, that's what Christina Destrampe wants the experience to be.

"It's very therapeutic. I often site it as my self-care," she said.  

But to teach other people how to make them, she had to get a little more direct.

"These dots are super tiny," she said, showing off tiny foam dots. "I had a person go through the entire thing and just pick out the little piece of paper."

She has to make sure everyone in her workshop understands what to do.

"I'm like, ok, no, no. You have got to like stab. So, stab and grab. That's where it was developed," she explained.

Once her students have gotten that down, these colorful pieces of paper art smoothly come together, layer by layer.

"When you can see that depth and see it come alive, it's magical, still, to me! Even though I've done this so many times," Destrampe said, with obvious pleasure.

The tiny foam dots line the laser cut paper, revealing designs, flowers and other 3D images.

"Oh, you're good, those are good," she said, walking from table to table.

Her work is on display at Serendipity Boutique Marketplace in Greendale.

"I made my first mandala about two-and-a-half years ago," she said.

It quickly grew into a business called Milwaukee Mandalas, but she's not an artist by training.

"I'm a sign language interpreter, and so, went to school for sign language interpreting. I teach at UWM in their interpreter training program," she said.

But she's an artist now, with workshops every month, drawing clients like Laura Babe and her friends.

"Betsy, Linda, Karen and Joanie. We've been crafting together since 2001," Babe said.

For them, events like this are about a few things.

"Laughing, friendship. Friendship, I'd say," Babe said of the experience.

The mandala represents transformation, which Destrampe has seen in her own life.

"I, honestly, never in a million years expected this," she said. "It just happened. Everything that's happened, I've felt like it's been for a reason."

Destrampe holds workshops every month with new designs to pick from.

Her work is available at multiple locations across our area. For more information, click here.

If you'd like to nominate an everyday hero, send Natalie a message at [email protected].

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