Last weekend I ran a workshop on imaginative mapmaking at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA. The focus was on mapping emotions and experiences, not just geography, and I was fortunate that the weather was nice enough that we could explore the grounds in the service of our mapmaking.
We began the workshop with a short presentation of my work—I find it’s hard to explain these ideas without any visuals! I’m also always intrigued, on an almost scientific level, to see how themes from my work come out in participants’ drawings.
My take on emotionally mapping the room
Then I led a short exercise in visualizing and thumbnailing, and we were off! Participants took pen, pencil and watercolor out to the grounds to draw a map of their senses and experiences. One great project made a heatmap of the area. Others diagrammed movement and even unrelated memories.
Overall, I made some great connections and helped show participants a different way of thinking about drawing. Maps are interesting because I realize they inhabit this middle space between abstract and figurative drawing: they’re recognizable like figurative drawing, but you would never call them “from life”—even though they are (no matter how realistic they are, in my view).