On Tuesday evening we left the beach to go to the Focus on Book Arts conference at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, about a 90 minute trip toward Portland. Pam arranged for us to stay with a friend of hers, Nel Rand, who lives in Cornelius, only about 15 minutes away. So not only did the travel improve, we had the privilege of making a new friend, who is a fabulous artist and writer as well.

Our class, “An Intimate Atlas,” was a three-day map-making experience with Jill Berry. I’ve taken a lot of great book workshops, and this one ranks up there with the most enjoyable I’ve taken. The synergy of the women in the class and the instructor was perfect. There were no whiners and no neurotic meltdowns. Jill gave us techniques and prompts and it was amazing to see what a dozen different women did with the materials. I was already acquainted with some of these from Jill’s book  Personal Geographies, and had done a few of the exercises in a journal. In this class we each made six different maps and a book to contain them as pop-ups! I was surprised at how easy the book structure and pop-ups were to do. Therefore, I HIGHLY recommend this class to anyone who love maps and would like to do a bit of introspective play with watercolors, markers, and stencils.

Jill has an excellent slideshow of all the different maps on her blog post, but here are some photos of just mine.

FOBA 2015
This was my favorite, based on Wendell Berry’s poem “The Peace of Wild Things,” which was copied on the white paper in white ink and then painted over with a grey wash.

FOBA 2015
This hand map is about creativity and teachers, the past and the future. It is not quite finished in this photo because I have added names since this was taken.

FOBA 2015
Here is a travel spread. On the left is my trip to FOBA in a game board format, spiraling into the center. I struggled the most with the heart map, because my heart has been hurting and closed for business lately. I made this “Hearchipelago” of islands places where I have lived and visited that I loved.

FOBA 2015
A spread of the last two maps – on the left is a map of Marietta, my hometown, circa 1972 or so, of all my hideouts. On the right is a map of our house from Diego and Pablo’s point of view.

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Left: the outside cover and spine of the book. Right: the maps unfolded out from the book.

FOBA 2015
Here are classmates dripping lines onto papers with walnut ink to make the back of our maps. I really loved doing this part.

FOBA 2015
Susanne and I connected with Judy Strom, who steered us to FOBA in 2011. She is from Montana and we first met at Journalfest in Port Townsend, where we took two classes together. Judy is one of the main reasons I want to visit Montana, because I don’t get to see her enough. She was taking a class in the room next door.

FOBA 2015
We made another new friend, Kathy Dickerson, who I look forward to spending some time with on another trip to the PNW. Here we are hanging out in Urban Decanter on Main St. of Forest Grove on our last hot (upper 90s!) evening in Forest Grove.