Hand drawn maps have the potential for telling colorful stories. The participants in my classes bring personal histories to their work stations and proceed to illustrate these in marvelous ways. Often surprising themselves with their newfound ability to draw personal maps, they draw me into their worlds during the course of the workshop.
This process was especially evident in the group of ten who spent two days in our bright, Sidney BC "studio" which was also one end of the local Community Art Centre of the Saanich Peninsula (Also called the Tulista Arts Centre). Organized by Sherley Gordon Edey, a fine art photographer, my workshop "The Hand Drawn Map" was held in conjunction with an exhibit by local artists: Know Your Place. Sherley did a magnificent job curating and publicizing the exhibit as well as the workshop. Thank you, Sherley! I loved being an active, imported part of your brainchild.
For this workshop I created a template map of Vancouver Island. Why? Because the actual classroom time was relatively short so I wanted to reduce the amount of time spent on a starting place. Most of the students did use the starter outline map which was printed in faint blue on Arches hot press watercolor paper. Because each template map was filled in uniquely, there was a lot of delightful individuality. Here are several of the maps shown at various stages of completion.
At the end of the weekend, I was given a card with personal messages from each participant. I saved the reading of this card for when I was on the ferry returning to the U.S. the following day. The sentiments meant so much to me (thank you, all). At the beginning of this post I mentioned the stories that maps can tell. Here is one of the messages I received:
The weekend felt like one wonderfully engaging meditation. Thank you so much for your interest in and encouragement of our stories...
This group was exceptional. Not all of their maps are shown here but all the work done was executed with their full focus and personal investment. I hope to see some of you again as we keep charting our lives and illustrating them with maps!
Finally, I will be teaching another map workshop up at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center (ELC) located in the North Cascades National Park on Diablo Lake (off of Highway 20 east of I-5) on June 24, 25, and 26 (2016). The ELC is an unforgettable place where participants are residents on a beautiful campus at the edge of the wilderness. Yet, it is an easy drive from many points. To read more about the Institute, and to register for this class (academic credit is also available), please click here.