It was 1977. I had received a National Endowment for the Arts Craftsmen’s Grant and decided that I would use the funding to leave my faculty position at Boston University’s Program in Artisanry to pursue my dream: Joel Bagnal, Goldsmith, a custom goldsmithing studio. My evenings were spent designing the studio in my head and reading Man and His Symbols, and Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Gustav Jung. My days were spent with carpenter’s tools in the empty space on Washington Street in Wellesley, transforming my dreams into reality.
As an undergraduate, I had been introduced to Jung and had through the years felt increasingly mentored by his theories of archetypes and synchronicity, his respect for eastern traditions, and his understanding of symbols and creativity. I was fascinated in discovering the centering qualities of meditation and the archetypal qualities buried in the concept of the mandala as its physical manifestation.
In trying to come up with a logo as part of the branding process of my business, I had played with design after design, none to my satisfaction. Then one night, after laying awake for several hours going over shop designs in my head, I dreamt my mandala full blown and in the morning remembered it in perfect detail. The next day, I sat at my drafting table and drew the master copy from which my signage, business cards and stationary, and my sense of creative identity would be born.
The flash that you have just seen depicts the mandala’s message that all life’s movement, no matter what the direction, is circular and always returns to the center before venturing out again. At the time it seemed to be a gift from my own and the collective unconscious—a worthy statement of the creative process. And today, over 30 years later, it remains as good a single symbol for the story of my life’s path as any.