Maker Statements

The following are the original makers' statements, in no particular order. 

Mohawk Watershed, Upper Hudson River Watershed, and Middle Hudson River Watershed, Hydrologies Series

Lauren Rosenthal

Hand-cut watercolor paper, wood, steel, paint 

I am primarily interested in interconnectedness. Ecology, the science of relationships between organism and environment, serves as the conceptual framework of my investigation and maps provide the visual language for my expression. I make prints, drawings, and sculptures that use the river as both a literal and metaphorical symbol of interconnectedness.
My recent paper works are sensual interpretations of hydrological data. Created by cutting away layers of ground, they evoke the process by which rivers mark the landscape. My other mapping projects expose our current relationship with rivers and imagine alternate paths for the social and physical structures we’ve built upon them.
In all of these landscapes, I have eliminated the man-make structures that usually inform our location in space, leaving only the river basin to contemplate. What at first might seem disorienting leads to the possibility of re-orienting, of identifying with and within these natural systems. By giving priority to rivers, not as resources to be exploited, but as an integral part of a social/biological system, I hope to provoke dialogue and stimulate change around how we understand ourselves in relationship to the hydrological world.

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The Western Shore of Lake Michigan and Environs

Jake Coolidge

Ink and graphite on paper

I create maps by hand that invite viewers to consider the expressive capabilities of maps and the hand of the cartographer in shaping their visual outcomes. All maps, however produced, are human creations and should be engaged with and interrogated accordingly. I am compelled to connect to the production of maps in a tangible way, and I want to make that connection tangible for the viewer as well. The abstraction of geographic reality to mapped representation—the inner workings of maps—becomes a lived experience for the cartographer. A close look reveals to the viewer the imprint of drawing tools on the paper surface, sketching and erasure, the build-up of ink textures—geographic information transformed by a human hand into a new synthesis.

Increasingly I see my mapmaking as a platform for investigation, as a means to learn about the world we live in. I explore the human-altered landscape and the imprint of our civilization. Of particular interest is the idea of the interconnected region, of places that our bound by culture, by natural systems, or even by personal experiences. I choose perspectives that reframe familiar places as I experience and imagine them. Rich detail situates individual locales within the region and rewards a viewer’s extended study. To carefully compose a map of a place and speak truthfully to some aspect of its reality is to express a respect, a love, a hope for that place. 

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Matt Dooley


Mapping in a tangible medium fulfills a need to work with my hands in a creative and meaningful way. I’m especially drawn to clay because of the unique challenges and opportunities that it provides as a cartographic medium. The ceramic tiles shown here were hand-carved from clay slabs using rudimentary tools and USGS National Hydrography Data. The tile surface is treated with a traditional clay slip called tierra-sigillata, which stains and chars unpredictably when exposed to burning carbon.
Working at a slower iterative pace has challenged my mapping practice in several ways. It provides time for contemplation about the act of mapping itself, as well as the places being represented.

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Traces I and Traces II

Jeannine Kitzhaber

Mixed media on canvas

While commuting for my job, I began a tangible journal of my travels as a way to make sense of my busy workday and to chronicle the ever-changing landscape. As a result, I began to notice systems and patterns found within landscapes via maps and what they reveal about how we live, work and connect to land.
My mixed media art process involves a layering of materials that are built up on a surface. I am interested in addressing the idea of experiencing land via tangible and intangible methods. I begin all work with a concept and a direction I want to pursue, but rely on instinct to drive the work. This duality in work approaches gives me a desired course while allowing room for the unexpected, much like travel.
The map-based works are large scale at 4' x 6' and appear abstract at first glance. The viewer may see areas in the work that seem both recognizable and unfamiliar. 

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Public Green / Areas Verdes Públicas

Lize Mogel

Silkscreen on Opallene

Public Green/Areas Verdes Públicas is a mapping of public parks and social capital in Los Angeles. 200 bilingual posters circulated throughout the city in transit shelter kiosks for almost 2 years between 2001-2002. It repurposed advertising space for public space advocacy.

In Los Angeles, verdancy is a marker of economic status— for example, wealthy areas of the city have lush street and private residential plantings. However, many people don’t have access to private green space, so public green space is a necessity. The presence of public green space is a measure of civic wealth, and of political solvency within a community.

As a map, Public Green functions both as wayfinding and as a political agent. At the time of the project there was state funding that could be used to create small parks in low-income neighborhoods. The poster gives basic information that would help people begin to advocate for public parks in their communities.

For me, "tangibility" and “interaction” is about access—not just to information or ways of thinking about a place, but to the means to change the nature of place. In 2001, specialized cartographic knowledge about the city was inaccessible to most people. For example, the LA Parks Department printed a two-map set of all city parks, but did not advertise it anywhere, and you had write to them to get one. Digital projects were also inaccessible to many communities (and they still are). Public Green put information directly in the view of the audience who would find it most useful, using accessible language, format, and distribution method.

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Coming Together

Steven R Holloway

Multiple lithograph & Chine-collé on paper

I STOP and then I watch, I count, I measure ... I OBSERVE. Stopping is, it turns out, difficult and takes a great deal of effort and practice. What is your practice? How do you stop? There are ways but they all involve great effort and practice. And really good stopping means making many many efforts, repeated over and over until you have entered into the place itSelf. And felt and enJOYed and got wet and dirty and cold and sun cloud water exposed.
So maybe, and I say maybe because a thousand times stopping and returning and observing will not guarantee the mysterious gift of the EXPERIENCE. But if and when, because good stopping like the real work will reveal the I-Thou, the experience of the Other, then and only then do I find that pressure within that asks to speak, and that demands voice. This is the RESPONDing.
My work, my responses, arise from stopping to observe a place, always, always. Stopping to observe and experience. My medium happens to be limited artist editioned prints using stone and plate lithography, intaglio, relief, silk screen, chine-collé, hand mixed inks etc., but also lensless or pinhole photography, and poetry.

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Tactile Map Symbols across Three Media

Megen Brittell, Amy Lobben, Megan Lawrence, and Manny Garcia

3D printing, microcapsule paper, embossed paper

A visual bias in cartographic design has rendered many maps and the information they contain inaccessible to people with visual disabilities. Tactile maps provide one mechanism by which to address the need to make maps and geospatial data more accessible. There are multiple methods by which to produce tactile maps, and many map makers use multiple technologies (Rowell and Ungar 2003). As part of our research we fabricated graphics and evaluated functional equivalence of a single symbol set when produced across three media.

Three production methods that are currently commercially available are 3D printing, microcapsule paper, and embossing. The 3D printing technique that we evaluated is from an extruder-type printer (Makerbot Replicator Dual). The 3D printer builds, layer by layer, a rigid and durable plastic artifact based on digital 3D model. Microcapsule paper consists of a layer of small capsules of chemicals sandwiched between two sheets. When printed with black ink (Inkjet printer) and passed through a controlled heat source (tactile image enhancer), the areas printed in black expand to create the raised areas. An embosser punches raised dots in a heavy-weight paper. The embosser used to create the graphics in this collection (EmFuse Color Braille Station by ViewPlus) punches 20 dots per inch, and also prints the pattern in ink.

In our recent study, we evaluated the functional equivalence of a set of tactile map symbols, which was designed for production on microcapsule paper (Lobben and Larwrence 2012). Response times were the fastest for the 3D printed pieces, and slowest for the embossed graphics. The difference in response times was significant (F=25.93, p<0.001), as was the interaction between production method and symbol type (point, line, or fill; F=3.028, p=0.023). Our participants expressed divided opinions about the materials. For example, some noted that the 3D printed pieces felt "crisp" and easy to read, while others commented that they felt "sharp" and were not pleasant to touch.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite medium?

Files that are ready to print are available for download from

Lobben A, Lawrence M (2012) The use of environmental features on tactile maps by navigators who are blind. The Professional Geographer 64(1):95—108. doi: 10.1080/00330124.2011.595619

Rowel J, Ungar S (2003) The world of touch: Results of an international survey of tactile maps and symbols. The Cartographic Journal 40(3):259—263. doi: 10.1179/000870403225012961

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Bad River - Wetland Medicine River: Interactive Floor Map & 

Mino Nibiwin, Mino Bimaadiziwin: Good Waters, Good Life

Jessie Conaway with the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe

Can ethics be mapped? Our environmental ethics are to a large degree determined by our values, not by facts about the environment and its degradation. Stories about water and watersheds reflect personal and cultural values.

This map is part of the Bad River Water&Culture Maps Project which maps stories in multiple media. Three of the maps feature Bad River Ojibwe perspectives; the floor map is an open public platform. Map contributors hold water features and indigenous voices front and center. We represent water vibrantly. Storymapping honors Ojibwe traditions of the educational and cultural values of storytelling. Participatory mapping assuring that many voices are represented.

Mashkii Ziibi, “wetland medicine” river, is the Ojibwemowin name of the Bad River in northern Wisconsin. The Bad River watershed is water and wetland-rich, with incredible biodiversity. The Bad River Ojibwe Indian Reservation is located in the lower part of the watershed. Tribal members and other residents of the watershed use these maps to address concerns about threats to waterways, wetlands, and their communities, fostering a community cultural and environmental ethic.

The Bad River Water&Culture Maps are the copyright of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) and Jessie Conaway of the UW - Madison Nelson Institute.

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Portland Bridges & Portland Bridges II

Nick Martinelli

Screen print and letterpress

The Portland Bridge Map is based on the simple idea that most street maps do not convey the personality of bridges. The simple line across the river in most plan view maps doesn't tell the viewer anything about who, when, and why people would use a particular crossing or another. The sketched profiles and transportation icons are an attempt to personalize the crossings, and connect them more to time and place.

I worked with artist Christopher Adams ( to make the maps in a mixed media of screen printing and letterpress printing. I thought that the hand printing would bring out more of the personality of the bridges.
We made a few runs of the two versions of the map on display. One with two screen printed layers (roads and river) and the other with just the river. Each with the same letterpress layer printed last. In the end, we achieved our goal of producing fine quality hand printed maps and rejuvenating a century old letterpress machine.

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Bathymetric Book

Caroline Rose

1st Edition: Inkjet printing on paper, hand-cut.
2nd and 3rd Editions: Laser-cut paper 

This three-dimensional representation of the bathymetry of Crater Lake was cut and bound by hand. In the first edition, the horizontal and vertical scales are as close as possible, creating a scale model of the lake floor at approximately 1:92,700. The subsequent versions represent my progress toward producing an edition of the book. Extensive documentation can be found on the project’s blog:

The map’s purpose is to be thought-provoking on many levels. I hope that the reader will be prompted to ‘look below the surface,’ thinking about the processes that form a physical landscape, contemplating how unseen dimensions of the lake are revealed by scientific study, and feeling inspired to visit fascinating natural places like Crater Lake.