2019 Annual Member’s Project: Uncharted (Unfounded/Unmoored)

Tristan da Cunha, 1937 (Creative Commoms)

2019 Annual Member’s Project – Uncharted (Unfounded/Unmoored) (Specs Updated 10/03/2019)

Milestones w/approx. dates

  • June 20: Project Launch (Participants begin to plan their map)
  • July 1: Participants submit their rough designs
  • July: Demos for printing techniques
  • July-September: Artists printing their maps
  • September: Artists submit artist statements; case construction begins
  • October 20: Participants Maps to be Finished
  • October: Collation of maps in cases

Project Documents:
Project Pitch Guidelines.pdf
Pitch Meeting: Collaboration Concepts.pdf 
Annual Member’s Project Specifications.pdf (rev. 062419)
Uncharted – Slideshow Guidelines.pdf

A map that doesn’t exist – an imaginary map – it can be a geographic map, a map of an idea, map of feelings or a new way to represent visually information that guides or describes the world. The map should not be anything that already exists (i.e. a map of a fictional book or tv show world).  Your maps should *not* be data driven (i.e. a map reliant on hard data from the real world). We want to keep the original spirit of “imaginary” maps, and stretch our creativity. How can you creatively realize your intention?

“Although mapping is a method of gathering, ordering and recording knowledge, all maps are to some extent the products of imagination. No map is ever the truly objective description of a place that it purports to be. Every map is shaped – and coloured – by political, cultural and social conditions, and by the personal experience or imaginative projections of its maker. Maps can be enhanced by imaginative embellishments, they can show imaginary places, and artists can adapt map iconography to express their ideas and experiences of place.” http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/m/mapping-the-imagination/

Conceptual Guidelines for the Project
A map is a prosthetic device to “help” us literally reconnect to reality, while simultaneously removing us from reality. Therefore there is a tension between reality and our representation of it. (See Baudrilliard section below)

Creating a map is a way to try and understand and index the world. In a way, creating a map can be seen as making space/land/geography “real”. However a map can never capture the real of an experience, of the environment, or space. So our map art should be our way of trying to “map” the unmappable. How do you really “map” a forest. What is the representation of a forest? Is it limited to the location of rocks and trees? What about the experiential nature of forest? How do you map that?

Thought experiment: If you had to create a map of a lemon, how would you do that? Would you focus on the texture? The experience of eating a lemon? How would you show that visually? Can you express tartness without showing a person’s mouth pursed? Would you include the history of the lemon’s life? What about its smell?

… how will your map convey a reality, what will that reality be, and yet, what happens when you try to pin something down? What do you lose? What is removed? What is a representation? What then, is your map? 

Project Specifications 

  • Edition size: 50 (= 20 copies plus # of participants)
  • You may work individually or in a self-organized group.
  • ALL text or images appearing on maps must be that of the artist or work that is in the public domain, copyright free, or used with permission (with documentation that permission has been obtained).

Design Elements and Specifications

    • Maps are broadsheets (one-sided).
    • The finished size (trimmed or folded) is 11 x 14.
      • This trim size allows for gripper space on either end of a standard 11 x 17 sheet.
      • For a full bleed, use paper that is wider in every dimension, then trim to 11 x 14.
  • You may create a significantly larger map, but it must fold down to 11 x 14.
    • Artists trim or fold their own sheets.
  • Artists may use any archival material (paper, fabric, synthetic, vellum, faux skin, tyvek, acetate, etc.). 
    • Ask Garrett about available paper stock at the Book Center. 
    • NOTE: If you use a non-absorbent material, you’ll need ink that dries on non-absorbent surfaces. Consult Garrett!
  • Sheets must be flat (some layering of materials OK for chine colle, collage, or pop-ups).
  • Some hand methods must be involved in production (e.g., printmaking, letterpress).
  • Map TITLE must appear on the map.
  • A LEGEND to your map must appear on the map.
    • Note that the TITLE & LEGEND may be partial, stylized, indicated or rendered in any way that indicates a “map-like” element.
  • Artists must submit a brief artist’s statement with the following information (to be incorporated in an intro and the colophon):
    • name(s) of cartographer(s)
    • map-making materials
    • printing technique(s)
    • inspiration or intention
  • The enclosure for the edition will be a folded map case (details to come).

Acceptable Printing Methods

  • Relief: linoleum, wood, foam, rubberLetterpress: lead or wood type, photopolymer plates (see Limitations* below)
  • Silk Screen: hand-cut stencil
  • Lithography: hand drawn stone, aluminum, or pronto plate
  • Intaglio 
  • Photogravure: (see Limitations* below)
  • Digital printing: Only as a layer. (see Limitations* below)

*Limitations on the use of photopolymer plates (and other processes involving digital preparation, such as pronto plates, photogravure, digital printing) :

  • Please contact Garrett about your plans for these techniques; they will be allowable on a case by case basis.
  • For digital printing: It is imperative that in your work, you can “see the hand of the artist.” Digital printing is allowed only as a sub-layer with other more significant hand-printed contributions overlaid. 
  • Artwork is preferably original line work hand-drawn by the participant (black ink on white paper).
  • Digitally obtained images must be in the public domain. Digital manipulation should be kept to absolute minimum.
  • Artists are responsible for the digital preparation of art and the cost of plate manufacture. Consult Garrett about digital prep and about placing orders with other artists to save on cost.
  • Request assistance and give yourself plenty of lead time if you are not familiar with the process!

Helpful links!

Mapping the Imagination

New Yorker: The Allure of the Map

Michelle Stuart
http://www.galerielelong.com/artists/michelle-stuart/slideshow?view=slider#10  (map of location using the dirt)
http://www.galerielelong.com/artists/michelle-stuart/slideshow?view=slider#11  (graphic rubbing of the ground at Kingston, NY 

Sharon Horvath

Dove Bradshaw
Example of mapping environment and time; the piece changes as those conditions change because of the ongoing chemical process.

Map of truth and deception:

How to draw a map


AVOID Data Driven Map examples (NOT what the project is geared toward) samples below

The path of eye movements as a person takes in a Seurat painting

Map of watersheds

For a Deeper Dive:
“Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski remarked that “the map is not the territory” and that “the word is not the thing,” encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself.”

According to Baudrilliard, what has happened in postmodern culture is that our society has become so reliant on models and maps that we have lost all contact with the real world that preceded the map. Reality itself has begun merely to imitate the model, which now precedes and determines the real world: “The territory no longer precedes the map, nor does it survive it. It is nevertheless the map that precedes the territory—precession of simulacra—that engenders the territory” (“The Precession of Simulacra” 1). According to Baudrillard, when it comes to postmodern simulation and simulacra, “It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real” (“The Precession of Simulacra” 2). Baudrillard is not merely suggesting that postmodern culture is artificial, because the concept of artificiality still requires some sense of reality against which to recognize the artifice. His point, rather, is that we have lost all ability to make sense of the distinction between nature and artifice.

Member Participation:

  • The project is open to all current members of the book arts program at the Virginia Center for the Book
  • In order to participate individuals and collaborators must register with Garrett <[email protected]
    • We’ll begin to manage the project via a participant’s mailing list so as not to “spam” our general membership with operational missives
    • If you’re interested and not yet sure of contribution, you still should get on the list


Past Member’s Projects


22 Comments on “2019 Annual Member’s Project: Uncharted (Unfounded/Unmoored)”

  1. Garrett Queen Post author

    Addeane provided these notes from the project discussion during the annual meeting, 01/20:

    2019 Annual Project:
    Garrett led a discussion about preliminary planning for the annual project.
    He began by asking what members want from/for the annual project.

    Responses from the group included:
    • Importance of working in teams/groups
    • Find the structure first, then decide on the content
    • Opportunity to learn new skills
    • Focus on a deep theme behind the project
    • Required specs that the group must follow (size, color palette, paper, etc.)
    • Responsibility to the craft (in the largest sense)
    • Focus on community (of book arts and of the wider community)
    “Show us how to live”

    Soon, Garrett will set up an online open forum for members to contribute specific theme(s) and format(s).

    There was a general discussion about the process and planning in general.
    • The timeline is October 1 for finishing the project.

    A few specific ideas were suggested by members:
    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s list of 100+ previous laws that discriminated against women
    • All the things we are in Charlottesville, in contrast to what we are now known for
    • Hindsight is 20/20

  2. Richard Cappuccio

    Dean suggested a theme worth considering, “Feminisms.”

    Many years ago Germaine Greer published a book, THE OBSTACLE RACE, which retold the history of art using only women artists. Might we not retell literary history, let’s say the history of poetry similarly. Format could be a codex, but better yet a series of broadsides of uniform size collected in a portfolio.

  3. Robert Schultz

    A thought: 2019 will see the bicentennial celebration of Walt Whitman’s birth, May 31, 1819. Often when I’ve thought of Charlottesville lately I’ve thought of Whitman’s great post-war poem:


    Word over all, beautiful as the sky,
    Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time
    be utterly lost,
    That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly
    softly wash again, and ever again, this soil’d world;
    For my enemy is dead, a man divine as myself is dead,
    I look where he lies white-faced and still in the coffin–I
    draw near,
    Bend down and touch lightly with my lips the white face in
    the coffin.

    Might we build a reconciliation project that works with the humane
    example of dear old Walt?

    1. Laura Chessin

      I’m new to this discussion and hope to be at the meeting next week. This idea seems to be both timely and open to exploration, i.e. feminisms, civil discourse and many other current issues could be an interpretation of this. Drawing from an earlier text gives some context to current conflicts.

  4. Christine Drake

    There is a real need for Civil Discourse in our country and culture at the moment. Perhaps the project could focus on what this means (not sure many understand the concept) and its importance for living/thriving as a human being.

  5. Kristin Adolfson

    I very much like the direction Robert suggested: Whitman, to celebrate his birth, and the poem Reconciliation… and what it (reconciliation – the idea and the poem) is pointing to…

    it’s a broad topic, that can touch upon many things happening in our culture right now (bringing in the desire to work with feminisms, Charlottesville community, etc). That could give artists leeway to address specific topics but within the context of Reconciliation and what that might look like. And it’s a positive direction/ message. Although can be hard to get to real reconciliation personally, institutionally, racially, culturally, which makes it interesting and courageous topic in my eyes…

  6. Bonnie Bernstein

    I like the idea of celebrating Whitman. I also like the idea of challenging artists to respond to what Reconciliation “might look like,” but I think it will take some thoughtful discussions to get members to respond creatively and on many different fronts. Another caveat — we might have to consider what some critics consider to be vestiges of racism that come through in Whitman’s other writings.

    Can you imagine us all responding to “I Sing the Body Electric”? That would be wild…..

  7. Bonnie Bernstein

    Another stray idea….

    One of my favorite prints is a contextual piece — an engraved 50th wedding anniversary invitation circa early 1920s made from a “found” plate, to which the artist added an aquatint of silhouetted WWI soldiers moving across the top of the engraving and an etching of silhouetted figures gathered on a beach below it. The piece is all in sepia, adding to the nostalgia and helping to poignantly illustrate the span of years being celebrated. I love how the artist turned ephemera into richly storied art.

    So that got me thinking …. Suppose we each composed text and images for a printed announcement, choosing some interesting contemporary context for inspiration. The occasion itself might be anything — an anniversary, birth, retirement, death, reunion, opening — real or imagined. The cards could be collected in a box or somehow bound together. Lyall once suggested an envelope book structure, in which envelopes are bound together and material placed inside them that might be uniquely appropriate for a set of storied invitations.

    (P.S. Please ignore the time that my comments appear to be sent — somehow, my computer is still on travel time from last spring. Will fix. )

  8. Dean Dass

    I fear we often look for a “great idea” for these projects. I think our ideas sometimes cloud the work we do. I don’t think we need a great new idea. To print and sew and bind a book by hand is already a really good idea. It is already a critique. The very existence of our work critiques a world where almost anything made by hand is marginalized and the value of almost everything is based on utilitarian values.

    Member A says I am an artist. Member B says I am not an artist. Member C says I am a poet. Member D says I am not a poet.

    Firm project rules can outflank all of these false dilemmas. Member A submits a photograph; Member B submits a drawing. The resulting rasterization of the images – needed for printing – the printing ink color, and the page layout and design, level these disparate sources into wonderful little dots, the half tones. Page layout in particular can do a lot.

    About poetic language, I would recommend everyone speak in the first person; we all have stories to tell. No finger pointing. For instance, if someone doesn’t want to draw or design or illustrate she might write a paragraph/page on some experience they have had, something that happened to them or that they observed, overheard conversation, …set type and print it. Vignettes. Again, layout and design go a long way toward unification.

    Probably we should not title our project Charlottesville Grows Smaller.

    Vignette – “brief evocative description, episode, or account…”

    So, is poetry allowed or not? The poetry of ordinary language.

    A field guide, or manual, guidebook, might be a way to work in this direction. You know, like in therapy, when the psychologist says use only “I” messages… – no overarching metaphors, no memes, no signs at all, just everything as a “for instance,” or “this is what I found, this is what I see…”

    “The cultural researchers Terhi Utriainen and Marja-Leena Hokasalo point out that a new orientation in current philosophy and art, an orientation toward others, towards another’s suffering and her face, as well as others’ right to specificity and singularity for which I am responsible, could perhaps be the ethical turning point of our time.”

    “…differences in gender, ethnicity and culture, or a differentiation between human and animal.…”

    “The recognition of difference can also provide a foundation for reciprocity.”

    Don’t you think feminism was so important in developing this new ethical dimension.?

    I think the above reconciles many approaches, many of our ideas, by providing a frame that is both forward looking and highly structured.

  9. Garrett Queen Post author

    On behalf of Nancy Kober
    What about a book of codes? They could be letter substitution codes, or symbolic codes, or any other system that could loosely be considered a code. I was thinking of this because of “dog whistle” code words to political constituencies or the notion of “code switching”
    Something to toss in the mix for our next meeting!

  10. Lana Lambert

    This discourse is lacking an oddball idea so I will provide one:

    A recipe book collection of carnival food.
    Most of us have memories and tales from the midway and here would be a good place to tell them as well as share a comfort food to enrich the experience.

  11. Garrett Queen Post author

    Note that on April 2 Nancy offered another idea for the annual project…
    A book of maps of imaginary places.
    A few of you responded via eMail, Here’s the thread and a link to the map.
    https://medium.com/@realdougwilson/the-beautiful-island-of-san-serriffe-d95adbc5febb (GQ)

    From: Kober, Nancy
    Sent: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 4:06 PM
    Subject: Re: Another idea for group

    And one more. A book of maps of imaginary places.

    From: Bonnie Bernstein
    Sent: Monday, April 1, 2019 11:23 PM
    To: BookArts Members Mail
    Subject: [bookarts] UK typographic map resurfaces

    This from the LETPRESS listserv:
    On 1 April 1977 the Guardian produced a seven-page travel supplement on the tiny tropical republic of San Serriffe, “a small archipeligo, its main islands grouped roughly in the shape of a semicolon, in the Indian Ocean,” which was apparently celebrating 10 years of independence.

    Here’s the Link: https://medium.com/@realdougwilson/the-beautiful-island-of-san-serriffe-d95adbc5febb (GQ)

    From: Lucas Czarnecki
    Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 4:36 PM
    Subject: RE: [bookarts] UK typographic map resurfaces

    I’m friends with a guy who did a big presentation on San Serriffe at TypeCon. He would be a wonderful resource if we wanted to pursue this!

    From: Schultz, Robert
    Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 5:00 PM
    Subject: Re: [bookarts] UK typographic map resurfaces

    And then, of course, there’s More’s Utopia.

    From: Kevin McFadden
    Date: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 4:13 PM
    Subject: Re: Another idea for group

    Now you’re in it…I have seen such a book! (There are several on Amazon, but I would guess none letterpressed)
    But you would have to prescribe, I think, “accepted” imaginary places vs newly imagined places.

    1. Jeremy Dibbell

      I’ve sort of fallen into collecting all things San Serriffe-related, so if we decide to go this route, I’ve got lots of things that would be helpful …

  12. Garrett Queen Post author

    My email to Book Arts members…
    From: on behalf of Garrett Queen
    Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2019 at 4:56 PM
    To: BookArts Members Mail
    Subject: [bookarts] 2019 Annual Project “Pitch” Meeting – May 8 @ 6:00 PM

    Save the date for the 2019 Annual Project “Pitch” Meeting – Wednesday, May 8 @ 6:00 PM

    An idea by Nancy K concerning imaginary places seems to be gaining some traction and the idea may be morphing into something involving travel?, maps?, posters?, climate change?, more???

    At any rate, we’ll get some guidance out to you concerning the specifics of pitching an idea well before the meeting.

    For the moment, please continue the project discussion via posts on the website.

  13. Garrett Queen Post author

    From Coordinating Committee Meeting Notes of April 15, 2019
    (provided by Addeane)

    2019 Annual Collaborative Project.
    The blog for discussions ideas is up to date.
    There needs to be a discussion of what the goals are really trying to accomplish through the projects.
    For years there has been discussion of doing several smaller projects (6-8 people each) rather than one all-comers project.
    Plans were made to explore ideas for the project at a members meeting—it will be Wednesday, May 8 at 6:00 pm; immediately after the meeting, a planning committee will be set up..
    The idea was raised that if the decision is made to do one large project that it is important to keep it simple and straight-forward. The idea was also raised that we might have a “catch up” year rather than do a large 2019 project.

  14. Garrett Queen Post author

    Email sent to book art’s members:
    From: on behalf of Kristin Adolfson
    Reply-To: Kristin Adolfson
    Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 1:57 PM
    To: BookArts Members Mail
    Subject: [bookarts] 2019 Annual Project “Pitch” Meeting and Guidelines

    Hello, Virginia Center for the Book members!
    This is a reminder that the 2019 Annual Project “Pitch” Meeting is Wednesday, May 8 @ 6:00 PM.
    This year we are going to continue with the exciting and impactful momentum of the Finding Wisdom project!

    We will create a collection of broadside/posters sized at 12.5 x 19-inches. Paper, design specs and method of binding (or boxing) will be established after the project concept has been determined.

    Here is an overview of how we’ll proceed:

    Call for proposals*. Prior to the May 8 meeting, we invite well-formed project proposals for consideration. By well-formed, we mean ideas that are thought through, at least in a preliminary way, from concept to production that will be effective in a poster/broadside format.

    At the end of the May 8th meeting, attending participants will reach a consensus on two or three project ideas that they would like a Project Committee to give final consideration and further develop with a “feasibility study.” The committee will weigh a variety of factors before choosing the 2019 project, such as the potential for creativity and maximizing member participation, skills required, opportunities for collaboration, production costs, marketability, etc.

    When you pitch a concept, please follow the format used in the example below. It will give people a better understanding of your concept and help us get through this project-defining period quicker. Example below

    o TITLE: 20/20 in Hindsight
    o TOPIC: exploring vision and revision of recent historical moments
    o INSPIRATION: From the aphorism, “Hindsight is twenty-twenty,” from the vintage eye chart used to test vision, and in commemoration of the upcoming year
    o CONCEPT: In the upcoming year, 2020, [how] will we see things differently?
    o SKILLS: typography and typesetting, visual design play, printing and print-making

    *If possible, please email your proposals by Saturday, May 4th to Kristin Adolfson at [email protected] prior to the meeting.*

    Formation of a Project Committee. The Coordinating Committee will designate a Project Committee that includes the Program Director (Garrett) and members with expertise in various areas of the book arts – graphic design, letterpress printing, digital prep, visual art, and binding. The committee will fully develop and articulate one of the concepts submitted by members at the May meeting, decide on how it will specifically fit with the form/structure of the project, and provide design parameters for all components, and organize production.

    Project launch. The Project Committee will schedule a meeting in to set out the 2019 project. Participation in the project will be open to all interested members at any skill level.

    We’re looking forward to hearing all those amazing ideas you’ve been holding onto for this year’s Member project!


  15. Garrett Queen

    On behalf of Kristin Adolfson:

    Hello Members,

    Thank you to everyone that came out for the pitch meeting, and for the great ideas that were generated. We came to a very clear consensus (and yet decided to reserve a few of the other great ideas on the back-burner, possibly for next year’s project).

    The group project will be Unseen/Invisible/Imaginary Maps!
    Thank you to Nancy Kober for the winning pitch idea!

    We don’t have a definite title or description yet, however, the specific project specs and guidelines will be pulled together in the next few weeks and shared with the members and any interested artists who would like to participate.


  16. Garrett Queen Post author

    Map Makers…
    Here’s a reminder of two upcoming “Support Sessions” that we’re holding here at the Center (5:30-7: 00 PM, Thursdays, July 18 and August 1).
    Both tomorrow’s meeting and the one on August 1 are for participants who’d like to discuss their map idea, are in need of production guidance or hankers for some assistance in “charting their course”.
    While neither of these meetings is required, you will still need to communicate (eMail) some idea (preferably a rough) of the uncharted territory you’ll be mapping.

    Please message me before August 5 said ideas, so we know your intentions to complete this project.
    As I’ve mentioned before, no one should feel “lost at sea” but we can’t “throw you a lifeline” if you don’t ask.

    Good mapping,

  17. Garrett Queen Post author

    Richard sent us a course proposal in mapping from a colleague.
    He noted that participants in our Annual Members Project “Unchartered” may find that “Prompts 6 – 8 look like suggestions if someone is facing cartographer’s block”.

    Jennifer Wheat
    Creative Mapping Course Proposal
    This is designed as a 10-week course in which participants will create and talk story about their own maps, responding to prompts on a series of topics. Maps can be in whatever media people wish: collage, paint, ink, computer graphics, artifacts (shells, feathers, rhinestones, etc), as long as there is some visual component. Maps serve as tools for discovery, as well as aids to memory. They can reduce fears of loss and of the unknown, and provide new sources of delight.

    Each week, participants will bring the map to class, show it to others and talk about the design, the elements included, and what the map means to them.
    Here are some ideas for assignments.

    #1: where we come from: Create a map showing places your ancestors lived. Think about what they did in those places, how they related to the land & what their journeys involved that brought you to the place you are today.
    #2: Where we are now: Create a map showing your own relationship with the place that you live. This can be on any scale, from a room to a property that you own to a larger area (town, island, etc).
    #3 Life map: what are the points in your life that you most want to remember and have others understand? How are they connected? Map these and your journeys.
    #4 Connections: map your relationships with other humans, plants, creatures
    #5 Quote maps; choose a few quotes that you like, map where they take you and what you get from them
    #6 Sacred Ground: Where is it, what does it hold?
    #7: Ghost maps: Map what has vanished, where it used to be. You may include what has replaced it. Consider what has been gained or lost.
    #8 Ideal future: map what you would like to see happen, with trails to show how & what desired results would be
    #9 Map of reflection: Create a map that shows what you have discovered in the process of making maps.

  18. Garrett Queen Post author

    On behalf of Lindsey Mears…
    Also, I meant to send this awhile ago, as more inspiration for the maps project.

    “A rich tapestry of English life unfurls in Oxford with the restoration of 400-year-old woven maps”


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