Patreon Launch

I have been working on the launch of my Patreon account since November of last year. I will be publishing “Unfolding the Heart, with Mandi Bradshaw” tomorrow on February 1st! I’m excited, scared, and ready to take on this new adventure of taking my art more seriously.

Here is a sample of what the tiers will look like.

I want to thank everyone over the years that have given me the courage to move forward with the art I love to create. I specifically want to thank a very dear teacher that I had while at MUM. Thank you Dara for watering my love of writing and for being there at the creation of this blog. Along side of my mother, father and boyfriend, you have helped nurture my confidence to get where I am today. (((Hugs))) ‚̧.

Alright, here we go my nature friends! Lots of love and see ya soon ~ Mandi ūüėäūüíě

Starting Back Up

I’m revamping Unfolding the Heart and am posting in the blog every opportunity that I can. This Sunday’s post will dive more into the “Give Love Project” going on now until the 23rd of July.

New things added to the site:

1. I bought again, so no ads and hopefully easier access for my readers.

2. An Art Portfolio is now added to the top pages/menus. Feel free to browse through and comment on your favorite pieces ‚̧.

3. I now have a small shop set up on Etsy!

I am happy to be starting this blog adventure again and hope to hear more from my readers soon! See you soon! ‚̧ ūüėä

Four Years of Unfolding

I just realized today marks the fourth year of posting on this blog. I have been struggling as of late from many family members and pets passing away, but this year I would like to get back to the core of this blog. To share my inner communications with the environment and share what I love to do most, capture nature’s beauty with photography. So here is to a new year and thank you for sticking with me along the way¬†¬†ūüėČ ‚̧ ‚̧ ‚̧ .

Dreams Unfolding


The Gear

I said to myself last year I would try and manifest a free camera to continue my work with photography, and thanks to my mother, father, and grandmas at Christmas I got one.  Next I  had to get my boots for the trails. I saved up a couple paychecks and by spring I purchased my hiking boots. And what do I plan to do with these tools? I wish to tell  stories from the pictures I gather and express the teachings I receive from nature.


From Micro to Macro

One dream is to visit the red wood forest in California. I have a special connection with trees, I see them as grandmothers and grandfathers. They hold so much wisdom and they have seen so much. I feel there is something there for me, something they wish to share with me.  I have everything I need for my trip to see the redwood forest except the guts to actually do it.


My biggest vision is to visit the oldest trees around the world, sit with them, ask them questions, and then share their knowledge in a documentary. The only thing that stops me is the fear to do it on my own. As a gentle woman, walking the unknown trails of and unknown state/country is a bit frightening.


What next?

I guess I have to get over my fears ;).


Behind the Blog

I normally write posts about art, but this time I wanted to share how the three elements: nature, art, and writing brought me to creating this blog.

signs meanings

Nature’s Connection

The person who taught me to acknowledge nature and it’s beauty was my idol, grandpa Chuck. There were many mornings I’d wake up to see him watching something behind his house, pressing his finger to his lips,¬†he’d motion me over and¬†point out three or four deer.¬†On other¬†days¬†he’d¬†put bird seed out on the back¬†porch, and with his bird book handy tell me the names of each one that flew¬†our way. He was always teaching me something and soon his interest towards nature became my own. He passed my freshman year of high school, but his connection never faded. Though he is no longer here,¬†his curiosity and love for nature is still with me everyday.



Awakening to Art

My grandfather would make some crafts, but my mother was the one who initially introduced me to art.¬†She had always loved art and still does today.¬†¬†She encouraged me to seek the arts and it’s many forms.¬†Through time I came to learn¬†of¬†art¬†being¬†a¬†type of therapy for expression. I experimented with different art mediums and techniques and¬†continued to¬†learn more about myself through art’s process. Art can reveal emotions and because I had a¬†hard time verbally expressing how I felt¬†they would appear before me in my work.¬†If I rushed too quickly to get my idea out, the product will feel and look hurried. Though art was one form of communication to others, I wanted people to understand more of what I couldn’t say and writing was my next step.


Writing’s Expansion

In school, I was the typical shy girl that kept to herself. English was one of my worst subjects. I had a hard time¬†sharing¬†my thoughts¬†because they¬†were often random and out of order. I got passing grades on essays, but I never really enjoyed¬†English class¬†because I didn’t fully understand all the rules of writing.¬†It wasn’t until I got to college that I started to understand how to structure my writing.¬†Now writing is as much of a joy to me¬†as is drawing. I know my posts often need work, but by writing each day, I am growing in my understanding of how to commune with others.


What led me¬†here¬†today was¬†the¬†different experiences from the past and a desire to follow what I love. So what ever it is that you love to do or what you seem to slightly struggle with, don’t give up, because who knows how many other people you could help inspire with what you accomplish from your past.


Chambers of the Heart

What started this blog?

Last year I wrote a reflective essay titled “Chambers of the Heart”. I thought with the blog rolling around to a new year I would share with you more of how it all began…


Chambers of the Heart

Nestled up to a strong oak tree, becoming a statue, I sit and wait for the storm. I sink slightly into the ground and turn within. A summer‚Äôs rain saturates my cheeks and the temperature inside me rises. Stones crumble from the earthquake rumbling within my chest, while sobs force their way past my lips. A voice from inside whispers, ‚ÄúBreathe, just breathe, and let it pass‚ÄĚ. I take a deep breath and see myself sixteen years back.


            A child four feet tall with sunshine hair swiping midway down her back walks slowly down a white tiled hall with her mother. For months the little girl has been complaining about not keeping up with the other kids in her class. Who knew that heavy breathing and bouts of drained energy was caused from an undetected birth defect called a heart murmur?


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I was watching the Disney movie ‚ÄúThe Aristocrats‚ÄĚ during the test to confirm the diagnosis. Laying on a hospital bed, a lady in blue put a glob of cold see-through goo on my chest, moved around a weird ball shaped remote, and could somehow see my heart on the TV behind me. A dime sized hole was found in one of my heart valves and one side of my heart was enlarged; the doctors informed my mother that surgery would have to be done as soon as possible. At that time my mind was really only concerned with not being able to go swimming during my 5th grade summer vacation. Plus an enlarged heart just meant I had more love to give, right?


            My mother stroked my hair with tears held back in her eyes; the day had come. I put on my gown in a ritual-like manner and walked hand-in-hand with a woman nurse back to see the rest of my family. I was deceived by the same nurse moments later when she said my mother was not allowed into the surgical room with me. Fear struck as I realized I had to do this on my own. The first time to act strong was now. Faking a smile, I waved to my family and wondered if it would be my last. A valve in my throat closed tight, I turned and continued down the broad and dimly lit corridor.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A deep inhalation of gaseous nail-polish and maple syrup entered into my lungs. Lub-dub, lub-dub, lub‚ĶI fall through the operating table and somehow end up on the ceiling with my hands resting on dry panels. As if looking through a scope, the edges were white and my vision had a strange circular haze. Below me I saw my lifeless body surrounded by an ocean of doctors. People moved like blurred waves across the shore. Colors glowed and whites were more blinding than normal. ‚ÄúThis is a strange dream,‚ÄĚ I remember thinking. My body was fuzzy and indistinct from my surroundings. Looking around, I saw no one else like me in this form‚ĶI was alone.


My attention swarms to my ribcage and it cries from being carved down the center. Metal snakes wrapped around this same cage keep it locked. Forceful winds pick up dead grass as it swirls around my cold rocky form. A funnel of air grabs limbs off trees and stones from the earth and slashes at the figure enveloped by darkness.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Darkness arrived, but the curtains opened to see my puffy eyed family around me. Was I dead? No, I was back in bed and in a dimly lit room. I tried to turn to face them better and a screaming bolt hit my chest. ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt move dear, you need to let that heal,‚ÄĚ said the nurse.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The following day I was up and slowly moving around. A nurse led me to the bathroom with my mother trailing shortly behind. The dark haired woman casually pulled back my gown to check on the dressing. Looking down I saw a six inch trail of bloody gauze down the center of my chest. The invisible pipes attached to me leading to beeping machines were now in full view. Instant tears swelled in my throat. As heat rose in my cheeks and nose, the dam broke. There was no pain, only grief. A malicious thought sprung forth, ‚ÄúWould I now be branded as deformed?‚ÄĚ Though my heart was ‚Äúfixed‚ÄĚ something else had shut down.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In high school I fought inwardly on a daily basis about if I were too fat or too ugly. I wasn‚Äôt outgoing and high collared shirts kept me out of the ‚Äúin‚ÄĚ crowds. My mannerisms were watched closely by the demon in my mind, changing them to form what it thought others preferred. I tried to be perfect at everything so that others wouldn‚Äôt see my body or its scars. The room full of colors, pencils, and paint was the only class I allowed myself to be free from the mask. Art gave me a joy that nothing else could and breathed life back into my soul. Through sharing my love of art, nature, and writing, a valve once closed from anger towards myself began to open and love was pushing its way through.


Storm clouds break, letting rays of hope upon the land. The weathered stone begins to gleam. Warmth from the sun cascades down my lungs and rests within my heart.


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In college I took a blogging class and titled my blog ‚Äúunfolding the heart‚ÄĚ. It just sounded like a great title. On the day of my blog presentation I wanted to touch on the name of my title and I came to a wonderful discovery. As I spoke tears began to form at my eyes, ‚ÄúI focus on love and hearts because of my experience with heart surgery many years back. The invasion of cuts to my body during that surgery shut down my emotional heart, and by creating this blog I am now in the healing process of ‚Äėunfolding‚Äô the love that I locked away.‚ÄĚ


¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A woman with dark blond hair cries with love overflowing from her heart. Resting on a golden chair, she is embraced by her peers. She speaks with wholeness in her voice, ‚ÄúI can finally breathe.‚ÄĚ Tears continue to stream as if the weight of many rains has finally begun to flow.


‚ÄúI love you,‚ÄĚ I hum to the wind. The storm subsides and the birds sing in rejoice of the rain. The air is cool and the grass sends it love to the sky with fragrance. With the setting-sun, a statue crumbles and leaves behind a glowing orb. As the sun makes its way to another morning, a smile flashes, and takes with it the last breath of light.


Love and Support

Love and Smiles Courtesy of: Pia Fritsch

Unfolding the Heart will be celebrating its first year on April 11th and I wanted to look back at all the help that has kept the blog going. I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of the readers, thank you!

A few people I would like to thank are:

Dara Llewellyn 

Matthew Lindberg-Work

Heather Caldwell

Hal Goldstein

Brandon Bradshaw

Wendy Bradshaw

Johnella Mathley

Pia Fritsch

And all the people that have liked the posts on Facebook!


Collective comments of different posts/ pictures.

What’s Next?

This year I aim at bringing the readers into the blog by featuring other artists (poets, sculpture, photographers, painters, ext.) and giving away gift cards for art contests. What do you think could make the blog more interactive?