Discovery, Learning & Fun—Mapmaking!

What’s your thinking about maps? Do you love them (the paper, how they fold up, the colors), hate them (they’re paper, they fold up, the print is tiny), maybe make them yourself?

I’ll admit it, I’ve been a map lover from a very young age. I’ve always relished playing with the folding maps and pored over them when traveling in Europe as a teenager. I still love paper maps even though these days they feel unwieldy and inefficient at times. Perhaps I feel so at home with them because I’m a big picture thinker and when I can see everything at once I can understand how all the pieces fit together… where things are in relation to each other. Just this past weekend we went to upper state NY. (And, no, Dutchess and Columbia counties are not “upstate” NY, no matter what folks from the five boroughs tell you!) We wanted to visit small towns, walk in forests—and essentially have an understanding of what was where… Hence the need for a paper map—I was in heaven!

Yesterday, I attended a Creative Mornings Field Trip—Anne Ditmeyer’s, Make a Map re-entry Edition. Oh my gosh, it was such fun! I don’t often take time out for Field Trips, as they’re during the workweek but since I delivered one last year, and will be delivering another one on May 13th, I wanted to support the work of others who are volunteering their time to share their expertise.

The prompt was, “Your morning commute.”

I went a little “off script”…

and chose a trip

I had hoped to make last year.

In 60 minutes, we made three different maps. Each one of them was completely different — in subject matter and materials used! I have to say that I have NEVER drawn a map on a piece of fruit—though I have taught folks how to tangle (draw Zentangle patterns) on gourds. It was challenging — and a delight!

 

My map of a recent fun adventure—drawn on a paper towel—was a super cool experience! The texture of the towel and the freedom to just play and experiment was joyful.

Our last map was about imagining a future world we want to live in… with some additional prompts, I started to create a “map” of my place to be… (which is a work in progress).

Plorking Becomes New Inspiration

The experience left me ready to dig into maps all over again.  As I pondered how to get back into my practice of mapmaking, I thought not only of the books lingering in my bookcase but also of my creations tucked into nooks and crannies in the house. Here are a few examples from the past few years…

A map of my heart

From a journal swap about maps!

ZIA/Zentangle Inspired Art of the island of Tasmania!

These were prompted by examples from, Map Art Lab by Jill K. Berry and Linden McNelly.

Anne Ditmeyer mentioned, www.handmaps.org and From Here to There: A Curious Collection from the Hand Drawn Map Association by Kris Harzinski And I poked around a bit online too and am interested in You Are Here: Personal Geographies and Other Maps of the Imagination by Katharine Harmon.

My Next Map

I started to think about the I/O (Industrial/Organization) Psych grad students from Baruch College that I would be speaking to within a couple of weeks. Since our focus will be life after grad school I am thinking that a map of my influences—how I got to where I am—might be interesting for them.  I started drafting my ideas map and I have to say it’s not ready yet! I’ve identified my influences but I haven’t picked a plan or a format for sharing my journey. I can’t wait to share with you and with them next week!

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