personal geographies

Take yourself on a journey, a voyage of discovery or remembrance.
Create a wish, or a memory, a way to commemorate or call back a beautiful experience, aided by images, maps, charts, diagrams, objects, and stories.
During this workshop we will make a series of simple boxes and books, pop up charts, and other related structures. We’ll also experiment with collage, text, and various embellishing techniques, with which to illustrate your theme in the structures you make.

Lesson Plan

‘Personal geographies’ is a term coined from a book I enjoyed, which had a lot to do with mapping and diagrams, from ancient artefacts to work by contemporary artists. These types of images have always fascinated me, and I have used them in my own work and journals for years. I’ve had so many ideas about the directions I could take with this. I settled on : * thoughts of my favourite place in all the world, … Cooks Beach, on the Coromandel.
I’m sure you’ll have many thoughts about it as well …. It could be a journey or trip you have taken, or one you’d like to take. Or a memory of people and places. Just about anything, as a matter of fact. The thing is, you’ll need to start thinking about it, and collecting your ‘stuff’.
the receptacle : The basic idea is to make several objects to place in your chosen receptacle ( upmarket name for box ! ) so, of course, you’ll need a box. There are some great fancy boxes available in stores, so you can search around and find something gorgeous. Or, you might like to decorate your own box, in which case, anything will do that’s a suitable size. I ‘m not going to put limitations here, just don’t make it tooo small. Hopefully we’re going to be able to think of lots of things to go in this box.
the contents : As stated in the workshop outline, I’ll be demonstrating a variety of simple book structures , and related objects, and it will be up to you to choose which ones you want to make. And what you want to put in them. That’s the big question, as I see it, and will be the main influence on the stuff you decide to bring with you.

Requirement List

Your stuff : which might include :
Images … photos, photocopies ( often easier to work with than the actual photos ) found images, drawings, maps, diagrams, which could be used in books.
Text … significant messages, letters, cards, books, journals, quotes.
Objects to include, or draw inspiration from.
Decorative papers and images for collage, covering boxes, etc. also some papers you can use as pages in small books.
Fabrics, if you like. Ribbons, sheers, lace, etc. also the threads and needles you’ll use with them
Stuff to use as embellishment … buttons, beads, found objects, feathers, pressed flowers, leaves, shells.
Memorabilia …. ( dictionary definition … things worth remembering ) = anything.
And then, the practical stuff :
All your usual tools of the trade … be sure to include : sharp pencil, ruler, scissors, an old table knife ( smooth blade ) craft knife, cutting mat, writing tools.
Set square, compasses, awl, if you have these
Glue stick ( not liquid glue ) for sticking down small stuff
also I have found that acrylic binder medium is a good adhesive for applying larger pieces of paper, as may be the case in covering boxes. You can buy the Atelier brand from the Warehouse Stationery and other book shops, for around $14 for a 250 ml bottle, which lasts a long time.
Glue brush, and small pots for glue or water.
Junk paper for messy gluing. Wiping cloths, hand towel.
whatever paints you have and want to use. Brushes. Something to mix your paints on.
If you’re into rubber stamping stuff, you could bring that too.
Needles ( for binding I use no 18 or 20 tapestry needles ) and you may need other needles and threads for attaching things to your structures.
I will provide foam core and mat board, for basic constructions, some paper for book pages, threads for binding, book binders glue, and the essential book binding equipment. I’ll also have extra bits and pieces available for you to try out, such as gesso, paints, foils, stencils, stamps, etc. There’ll be a charge to cover these supplies, which I imagine will not exceed $10.

Venue Requirements

good table space and seating for all students,
and two extra tables for me and my stuff.
access to water.
power points.


coromandel box


my first 11 years in s africa by penny simcox


the daisy chain by Helen Smith


birds by Brooks


garden by Adrienne


work by Jane


work at Geelong 2012


work at Geelong 2012


work at Geelong 2012

Workshop Info

6 hours a day for 3 to 5 days

Skill Level » suitable for all levels
Cost » $50 per hour plus travel and accommodation
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