"Mandorla" means "almond" in Italian. I became interested in this shape while studying early Byzantine art: holy beings were often portrayed with their whole bodies encompassed by an almond-shaped golden halo (called a mandorla in religious art terms). I love this shape in nature, too-- the oblong, egg-like, yonic forms we see all around us.
Though I first noticed the mandorla in Byzantine religious art, when applied in my work the shape represents the female form, the vulva. Its presence in religious art only adds a layer of conviction to that symbolic connection: yes, of course the mandorla/female form is sacred, and would be painted in gold. And so I borrowed and edited the Byzantine symbol to mean something else: the holiness of the female body and spirit.
This prompted a set of pieces playing on the mandorla shape. I wanted to create a piece of art that drew the viewer's eye inward, into the negative space at the center of the mandorla. Life -- in this case, magnolias and other Louisiana-centric foliage-- grow outward from it.