When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I turned to journaling and returned creating art. I found it incredibly therapeutic, as well as, a way to keep my mind busy as I healed from my chemo treatments. At this time, I discovered Jill K. Berry’s book Personal Geographies: Explorations in Mixed-Media Mapmaking. Creating maps based on my cancer journey helped me find hope and remain positive.
Berry’s book is an “exploration in mixed-media mapmaking.” It is divided into three sections: Mapping self; experiences; and plans, projections, and possibilities. Lessons vary in skill levels and are self-alone projects. Each lesson begins with explanatory information on the type of map and the inspiration behind the artist’s motivation. Steps are easy to follow, with templates included. Most of the projects are not confined to a 2-dimensional map. They’re a lot of fun, too.
During 2014, I created several maps. Cancer Channel Islands consists of the various islands (i.e., steps) I had to pass in order to become cancer free. Sandpiper was a reflection piece looking back on our previous summer on Sanibel Island. The O is a piece where I recreated various paintings we saw at the Ogden Museum of Southern Arts in New Orleans.
Berry followed up her 2011 book with Map Art Lab: 52 Exciting Art Explorations in Mapmaking, Imagination, and Travel. Co-edited with Linden McNeilly, the book carries on the theme and expands the lessons. I highly recommend both.