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June 2014

Part Two--A Fine Collection of Maps: Workshop Review of The Artful Map 2014

The scenic Diablo Lake peninsula trail (part of the Environmental Learning Center campus) is lined with magical wildflowers at this time of year. Here is a spread of dainty twinflowers thriving in the shade.


Billowing clouds and meandering waterways characterize class assistant Sarah's map.

Part II

Conventional maps can do no more than point the way to unpredictable, individual experience, while artworks embody those experiences. Katharine Harmon

Here you will see more expressive, personal maps from The Artful Map, A One-page Nature Journal held at the North Cascades Institute's Environmental Learning Center June 20-22, 2014. Not all maps could be included, for which I apologize. Please excuse the gaps, as I try to make the blogging software do things it doesn't like to do!

To see larger versions of these photos, please click on each image.




Geological layers and dinosaurs are featured in Dave Braun's map.


He used letter forms derived from historic maps to further ornament and embellish a map that looks fictional but is indeed factual. Dave left his map uncolored so that it could be reproduced in black and white and offered as a page to be colored by visiting youth.






Designing for a full sheet of watercolor paper, Lyn Baldwin pencilled a large territorial map surrounded by titling, color codes, and significant tools used by natural journalists. In the photo below on the left, Lyn has created vignettes containing the ten essential gear items for a field journalist.

Mt. Rainier's Wonderland Trail is the subject of Jessi Loerch's memoir map. She filled her sheet of paper with meaningful drawings and quotes.


Part One--A Fine Collection of Maps: Workshop Review of The Artful Map 2014

Craig Campbell designed a map pertaining to the North Cascades experiences and philosophies of notable poets. 

I sense that humans have an urge to map--and that this mapping instinct, like our opposable thumbs, is part of what makes us human.  Katharine Harmon, author of books on maps.

Thirteen map designers appeared at the North Cascades Institute Environmental Learning Center on Friday morning equipped with the urge to map, and some art supplies. They left Sunday afternoon with illustrated maps that were fascinating and varied. These maps represent extensive work done during 15 hours of class time (plus, for many, some nocturnal time or pre-class early morning time). In the photos below I will show some work-ups and partially done maps as well as the completed, or nearly completed, final maps. Not all maps were fully documented by my camera; I've selected several of them to feature here.

Designing and making a map is a complex project. This group remained impressively focused with novice artists working alongside the more experienced. All the careful design and execution work paid off, as you will see in the photos. Perhaps, like Katharine Harmon (above) says, it's in our deepest nature to want to draw maps. It's just that so few of us ever actually make them. This workshop provided that opportunity. 

To view larger images, please click on them.

To read a review of this course (and more information about programs at the Learning Center) by participant Jessi Loerch of the Everett Herald, please click here.

Beginning structure of a seasonal garden map by Joan Poor.
Inkwork done with a vintage dip pen nib, India ink, and colored pencil.

Richelle Potter drafted a precise map of "Places of Happiness" from throughout her life. Subtle coloring in watercolor pencil is not yet complete in the photo to the right.






Carolyn Hopper's bison-themed map was inspired by her visits to Yellowstone's Lamar River Valley. Her clean design allows the eye to move around to discover all the fine detail.



 ...we continue to make maps. Why? Because making maps is a way of understanding. We make maps to sort out the physical world, to see its size, shape, color and texture. We make personal maps to share our experiences and travels, relationships and ideas. Jill Berry, author of Map Art Lab.

For her brilliantly colored map, Cole Adams commemorated her summer stays with her son in a fire lookout. She used a vintage dip pen with India ink and watercolor.