I’ve become increasingly interested in maps lately–i keep seeing really interesting work using maps, like my friend Megan Mueller’s http://meganmueller.com/, and a quilter named Leah Evans http://www.leahevanstextiles.com/. Inspired by these and many others, my friend Gretchen Schermerhorn and I designed a workshop on creating personalized maps using papermaking and printmaking and taught it to a lovely group of kids at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore recently. My friend Patty Lee heard about the class and loaned me a really great book titled “You Are Here: Personal Geographies and other maps of the Imagination” by Katherine Harmon. I have really enjoyed seeing maps of psychological, religious, emotional, and internal landscapes. Here’s an interesting excerpt:
Orientating= crashing through the larger landscapes of memory and experience and knowledge, trying to get a fix on where we are in a multitude of landscapes that together compose the grander scheme of things. Orientating begins with geography but it reflects a need of the conscious, self-aware organism for a kind of transcendent orientation that asks not just where am i, but where do i fit in this landscape? where have i been? where shall i go, and what values will i pack for the trip? what culture of knowledge allows me to know what i know, which is often another way of knowing where i am? and what pattern, what grid of wisdom, can i impose on my accumulated, idiosyncratic geographies? the coordinates marking this territory are unique to each individual and lend themselves to a very private kind of cartography…
we are not discovering entirely new worlds; rather we are laying a new set of lines down on a known but changing world, arranging and rearranging metaphysical rhumbs that we associate with successful navigation.
I’ve included some photos of the workshop we taught, and also of a recent painting of mine that incorporates a topographic map in an unexpected way. I’m not sure how I’ll use maps in my artwork in the future, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they found their way in!