Mom’s Realm Map

Posted by on Feb 29, 2012 in Arty Cartophiles, Giveaways, Guest Mapper | 5 comments

My friend Linda made a map that I would like to share.

I met Linda in January when I went to Tucson to teach and do a presentation on maps. She is a part of the impressive group of artist in Arizona that call themselves Paperworks. Here is the post of the books and maps they made.

Linda’s mother has Alzheimer’s Disease, which is coincidentally very common in my family. While it is devastating on every level, when we were walking in the morning before class, over the hills of the Sonoran Desert, she would tell me mom stories that really made me laugh. We talked about mapping her mom’s journey. Here is Linda’s map, and what she has to say about it.

I was inspired by the Variation: Street Map project in the book Personal Geographies.  We made the map background in class with Jill, and right from the start I wanted this to be a map representing my mother’s realm. She has Alzheimer’s disease and the names of the streets and buildings were inspired by “her world”.  I named them using her usual complaints, comments, and mysterious lost (or hidden) items.  These are things that really only my family can understand, but making the map became therapeutic for me.  Linda
It is my contention that making maps very often can serve to sort things out, to give stories and experiences a place. Making a map is an exercise in pure artistic creation: we can add anything to the place we are creating, anything at all. And when we are done, it feels good. For more map ideas to add fodder to your artist arsenal, check out my book, Personal Geographies.

I will be posting more maps from all of you as we go, so poke me if you want to share. In the meantime, today is the last day to sign up on the post below for a giveaway chance at selections of maps from my stash.

Happy Leap Day!




  1. I don’t think I signed up before. At any rate, I’d love to win!

  2. My maps are in my head mostly, but I love my journeys in the woods. Would love to own one of your maps, please.

  3. What a poignant and gut-wrenchingly real map! Kudos to Linda for the bravery to make it and share it here. I like the concept of a map even over cartoons, caricatures or abstracts of a difficult situation. It implies there is a way to navigate through the challenge. I’m going to try this with one of the issues in my life, and see how it works! Thanks for sharing this, Jill.

  4. Jill,
    I was wondering about the class you are teaching in San Diego in September. I just bought your book and am just starting to play with making maps. I am not an artist. I am just having fun learning. The class you did with Paperworks looked like so much fun and wondered if the class in September is going to be similar and if it is suited for a novice.

  5. I really like this map, what a bittersweet,, poignant “theme”! My sister recently put together a photo album of my folks’ life (and ours, my siblings) , and I want to do a series of maps about them, for them. Married 65 years and still living together in the house we were raised in, they are frail but so happy. I think I’ll sit with them on my next visit to CA and get their ideas and input. thanks Linda, for sharing yours and your mom’s journey. Thanks Jill for a wonderful book! (I bought the ebook so I can take it with me on my travels and jump to your blog easy-peasy;-)

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