Articles

Please feel free to read the following articles written about Sharon Baldoni,
Workplace feng shui
Desktop feng shui
What Is Feng Shui?

Examples of Design Work


Recently featured in "Affluent Living" Magazine for design work done as part of the Spaces 2 project:
 

February 9, 2003
Workplace feng shui
 

By JOHN DARLING
for the Mail Tribune

The Chinese practice of feng shui is designed to fill your home with good energies: wealth, success, love. This fast-growing interior design tool also lifts things out of the ordinary and, using daring yet subtle colors and objects, paints the space with beauty.

Mike Tracy decided to incorporate this ancient art into his business.

With the help of Sharon Baldoni of Feng Shui Designs in Central Point, Tracy did a total makeover of his shop, The Goldsmiths, at 612 Crater Lake Ave., Medford.

"Everything used to be just plain white, with half-walls breaking up the space and my desk sitting by the entry. It looked like an accountant's office," Tracy said. "Now, my customers come in and say, "Wow! They love it."

Tracy took out the low walls, opened up the space, moved the desk to the far side and turned the walls and ceiling into a subtle riot of color.

It works, said Baldoni, because the design adheres to feng shui's time-tested recipe, breaking the space into a bagua, a nine-segment tic-tac-toe floor plan, and painting purple tones in the left rear (the prosperity sector), red in center-rear (fame/reputation), pink in the right rear (love/marriage), jade green in the left-middle sector (family), blue in the left front corner (knowledge) and so on.

Each sector also has elements: air, fire, earth, metal, wood. Air is at home in the prosperity corner, so Baldoni hung wind chimes there.

Does feng shui bring in more money, like it's supposed to?

"Something changed," said Tracy, who sells and repairs jewelry with his wife, Carol. "The energy here wasn't flowing before, but this increased my business. I mean several thousand dollars a month increase, up to $5,000 more during the holiday season."

Jewelry store customers normally fold their arms, signifying standoff and uptight feelings, said Tracy, but since the makeover, "I haven't seen the folded arms once. People are in awe. They're not inhibited. They get a good feeling and start saying, "My gosh, look at all the colors."

Before the makeover, Tracy had an aquarium in the center of his space, the health sector, whose element is earth. Water doesn't go in earth; it would mix to create muddy energy, said Baldoni, who learned the art from Tho Lin Yun, a grand master of the black hat tradition of Tibetan feng shui, in 1998.

The aquarium ended up in the knowledge sector. At the front door, another water-friendly spot (and governing work/career), Baldoni placed a tiny Zen fountain with water (representing money) flowing into the business. You never let water flow toward the door.

"I know, it sounds very froufrou and superstitious, but the fact that it actually works is pretty amazing," Baldoni said. "For the more Western mind, it's validated by quantum physics, which holds that, at the subatomic level, human consciousness affects matter and causes change."

Feng shui is big on simplifying, rearranging things at angles and cleaning out clutter so energies flow, your space becomes warm and energetic and it's all part of your "art of living," said Baldoni.

You hear tips like: Never place your desk with your back to the door. That's where energy comes in and you want to have it in your view. And don't follow the widespread American custom of parking furniture so it faces the television or the view. Arrange for energy, Baldoni said.

You don't have to "go Chinese" to use feng shui. With more conservative clients, Baldoni suggests a pillow or painting with the right symbols and colors. Sometimes even a dot of paint does the trick, she said.

Julie Brooks, owner of Health Food Mart on Barnett Road in Medford, did feng shui lite. With a focus on generating income and finding love, she and Baldoni adorned the wealth corner with green plants (plants symbolize growth) and a framed picture of a waterfall, put red candles (red energizes) in appropriate spots, hung crystals (they clarify and magnify) and put red velvet under the cash register.

"Five days later I got a surprise tax refund check of $5,000 and soon found the love of my life on the Internet," Brooks said. "It was pretty amazing."

John Darling is a free-lance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.


Copyright © Mail Tribune. All rights reserved.
 


Desktop feng shui

How to get that positive energy flow in your work

BY JONEL ALECCIA

Ask any corporate cubicle dweller whether he feels the drain of negative energy and you won't need a feng shui expert to interpret the answer.

After all, the gray-maze world of Dilbert's human clones is rife with dark forces. From overtime to office politics, deadlines to downsizing, career stress can challenge even masters of the ancient Chinese art of object placement.

But Sharon Baldoni, a Rogue Valley feng shui consultant, insists that ordinary office slaves can do plenty to counter negative energy on the job.

Through mindful placement of carefully chosen desk accessories, workers can boost their creativity, productivity and profitability, at least according to tenets of the 5,000-year-old philosophy.

Feng shui (pronounced "fung shway") contends that the world is bound by an invisible web of energy that believers can tap -- and alter -- to their best advantage.

"As these things are laid out in our environment, the `chi' or life force has to circulate, to manifest itself as positive energy," explains Baldoni of Jacksonville. "Everything in our life has energy."

Adherents believe that feng shui works by influencing unconscious responses to environmental cues. They rely on the bag'ua, an eight-sided symbol derived from from the Chinese text the "I Ching."

The bag'ua maps nine areas associated with aspects of life: career, knowledge and wisdom, family, wealth, fame and reputation, relationships, creativity, helpful people and health.

Followers use beautiful objects -- plants, fountains, bells, crystals -- to promote the flow of positive energy to specific sites on the map.

The bag'ua can be superimposed over areas as large as a country, a city or a house. Or it can apply to areas as small as a room, a cubicle -- or a desk.

"It really does work from the outside in," says Baldoni. "Feng shui is like acupuncture for your environment."

On the job, the goal is to maximize the benefits and minimize the detriments of the energy flowing through the work space. That starts with the basic arrangement of furniture.

"Oh, that's bad," says Baldoni, entering a typical office cubicle.

In this case, the computer is facing away from the entrance, toward the wall, with the user's back to approaching people.

"You always want to look at the entrance," she says. "That is the command position. You will never be talked about behind your back."

Like all feng shui no-nos, however, this dilemma has a remedy. Baldoni recommends hanging a mirror in front of the computer, the better to reflect approaching visitors.

When considering the desk itself, workers need to be aware of their career goals, says Joyce Ward, an Ashland architect and fellow feng shui consultant.

For instance, if you want to make more money, you have to stimulate the "chi" in the far left corner of the desk, the bag'ua area that corresponds to wealth.

"Put something there that will lift the energy," advises Ward. "Flowing water symbolizes the flow of money."

The same goes for other aspects of life. Want to stimulate romantic relationships? Place a picture of you and your loved one in the far right corner of the desk. Don't have a partner? Choose an object that symbolizes union: a sculpture of two birds, a vase with two flowers.

"Wherever you want to energize, put a plant, a mirror or a live bouquet, even if it's one tulip," Baldoni says.

No object is too mundane to invest with feng shui power, so long as it is placed with care, both Baldoni and Ward agree.

A salesman might want to place the telephone intentionally in the realm of helpful people, for instance. A beautiful pencil holder in the creativity sector might inspire a writer.

"The most important thing is your intention and how you feel," Baldoni says. "The best way is to make changes and then subtly feel for effect."

Those who've tried applying the principles of feng shui agree that the results are subtle at first. Dave Fisse, a Medford building designer, has just begun to implement Baldoni's suggestions.

"Before, I was sitting with my back to the door," he says. "I changed my desk around. Now I'm facing the door. It just feels a lot better."

After consulting with Baldoni, Janice Nelson of Medford made several changes in her house. She added more plants, better lighting, a new mirror -- and she cleaned up the relationship corner of the bag'ua.

"Our relationship corner is outside where the barbecue is!" she said. "But I had all these old nails and saws there. Sharon said `You have to get rid of that!"'

Since then, Nelson has noticed a distinctly positive change in the atmosphere of her home.

"I don't know if it has altered in a major way our life or anything, but there is a difference in the way the house feels," says Nelson, who plans to use feng shui principles when she remodels her husband's home office.

That shift in feeling can occur at work, too, although there are practical limits to feng shui alterations, Ward notes. Fortunately, changes can be as simple as introducing a color associated with a particular part of the bag'ua.

"You can't build a big altar to something on your desk, so color is a very good way to affect the chi," she says. "Black is the color for the career area, so use a black desk pad and think `This is going to make my career really something."'

The important thing, the consultants agree, is to create a work space that's comfortable, usable and inspiring.

"People tend to want to personalize their space, so make sure it's beautiful," Ward says. "Use the space since you have to be there anyway."


What Is Feng Shui?

BY NAOMI HYNES - Jacksonville Review & Sentinel February 2004
The term "Feng Shui" has quickly become one of the buzzwords of the new century, joining a list that includes "yoga" and "vegan" as words with hip connotations. Thanks to the influx of home decor television shows, such as the wildly popular "Trading Spaces", mainstream America is now familiar with the reference to the Asian art of space arrangement. However, though many use the term, few actually understand what it really means. Far more than just a new way to set up the kitchen chairs or hang pictures on the walls, feng shui actually encompasses a broad spectrum of arts and sciences and includes very specific acetic, as well as scientific, requirements.

Sharon Baldoni's love of the ancient Chinese practice predates the recent fad. For more than the past ten years Baldoni has been studying feng shui and is currently one of the Rogue Valley's only commercial practitioners of the art. The former fashion and interior designer was drawn to the practice because it brought together all that she was interested in, combining her love of design with her passion for feng shui's religious, almost mystical, aspects. "This is where it all comes together," she said. "You get interior design, Chinese philosophy, quantum physics... everything," said Baldoni.

To understand feng shui's many complexities, the best place to start is with the proper pronunciation. "I've heard everything, but the correct way to say it is 'Fung' (rhymes with tongue) 'shway'," she said. "That's the easy part. Now things get more complex."

Feng shui is based on the principle that every space is divided by a rune sided grid, known as a bagua. Each area off the grid represents one of the following categories: family, wealth, reputation, marriage, children or creativity, mentoring or travel, career, knowledge and physical and emotional health. If these sections are properly arranged according to the various color, shape and elements than one's ch'i, or life force, will be able to circulate freely. This allows the individual to maximize his or her potential in all of those categories. Also of importance are blessings and prayers. According to Baldoni, it doesn't matter which religion one uses, as long as you using the space recognize the importance and power of prayer. These principles can be applied anywhere, from a multi-acre home down to the top of one's desk. Though these constitute the basic principles of arrangement, there are exceptions and no two cases require the exact same placement.

Regardless of the individual scenarios, some of the biggest mistakes can be fixed by obeying a few simple rules. First, Baldoni stresses, never, ever, place your back to the door in any situation. Whether it is your computer desk or favorite armchair, always place them in such a way that allows for a front view of the room's entry. Secondly, but along similar lines, avoid arranging living room furniture around the television, but rather place it so it faces the home's main door. "This," said Baldoni, "is very basic. You never want to keep your back to the door since it generates considerable negative energy."

If one wishes to learn further complexities, a consultation session with Baldoni can last anywhere from two hours to several repeat sessions . "I begin by touring the property, and the space," said Baldoni "This gives me an overview of the situation and of any obvious problems. Then, I sit with those using the space for at least a thirty minute interview. This is crucial, as it helps me understand the individual problems and situations that need attention. Feng shui is not a cookie cutter, it's not one size fits all. I can only give individual advice.

This advice has proven to be life changing for many of her clients. Recently, she arranged the Grants Pass retail store Tierra Del Sol and the owners saw amazing results in the form of increased profits and productivity. Similar results were seen in everything from doctor's offices to government buildings. "Sometimes " she laughed, "I'll have people call me and say you need to un-feng shui me!'. It will work way too well and the client will be overwhelmed by the increase in business."

But Baldoni makes a great effort to stress that feng shui is not an instant cure-all. Though it can help set the stage for the possibilitv of positive change it can't make the change without the participation of those in the space. "What I do, what feng shui does, is allow the positive to happen to you," she said ' "I point out what the obstructions are, where the problems are You need to recognize that as well and help put the rest of the puzzle together. I'm like a fairy godmother that opens the door and allows the divine intervention. I don't create that intervention to enter. I uncover it and simply lead you."

To be led towards a more harmonious lifestyle, contact Feng Shui Designs by Sharon Baldoni at 541- 770-7497.
 


A Gallery of Pictures Featuring Designs by Sharon Baldoni

 

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