Make a MapLove Compass Mandala

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala:

Everybody needs a compass of some kind, be it aspirational or moral, physical or metaphorical. As a warm-up project for the new e-course, we’re going to make a MapLove Compass Mandala!

Maps often include a compass rose, to show where you are in relation to everywhere else. Conventionally North is shown at the top, but this wasn’t always the case (Mecca wasn’t North.) Mandala is the Sanskrit word for ‘circle’ and is usually shaped into a geometric configuration of symbols. You can make them out of natural objects, such as leaves, feathers, flower petals or pebbles….today we’re going to use paint.

What guides you? What’s important? Where do you want to go? What anchors you? Here’s a light-hearted exploration of direction in book form.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: You'll need

You’ll need:

  • Spare paper or a notebook for jotting down ideas
  • A square of paper – I’ve used 160gsm cartridge, around 30cm x 30cm
  • Paint or coloured pencils or felt tips or crayons
  • Scissors

Step by step:

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: List

Write a short list of things that are important to you. My list: Books, boats and love.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Images

Think about how you can represent them simply.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Find the centre and start there

Find the centre of your square. Beginning in the middle, add images or words to your compass, radiating outwards.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Keep going

Don’t worry too much if it ends up geometrically inaccurate…

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Finished side

Keep going, right to the outer edges.

Admire while drying, if wet.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Fold in half

Fold in half widthways.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: And again

Open out, turn ninety degrees and fold in half widthways again.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Into the centre
The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala:

Then fold each outside edge in to the middle crease.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Other side too
The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Sixteen squares in one

Hopefully you’ll now have a square with sixteen mini squares.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Cutting pattern

With scissors, cut a crooked spiral, starting at the arrow on the bottom left edge, finishing in the middle. It’s hard to cut straight on a creased line…do your best.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Start folding

Now, starting at the same spot as where you began cutting, start folding a zig zag, forward and back, using the creases you have already folded.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Concertina around the corner
The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Careful at the corner

When you get to a corner, keep zig-zagging away from the folds you’ve already made.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Finished folding

Keep going until there are no more folds to fold!

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: A square book

You’ve made a lovely little square book.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Sixteen word poem

Time to write a few more words…. a sixteen word poem, one for each ‘page’, on the reverse of the MapLove Compass Mandala. Think about words that act as a guide for you; encouraging, ephemeral, grounding – whatever you need.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Wonky handwriting

Add text however you like – i’ve gone with slightly wonky painted letters.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: One word per page

Decide how you want the book to be read – as you’ve folded it in a spiral, the orientation changes. Perhaps this makes the piece more poetic.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Finished book

Present your finished book so that both sides of the concertina can be seen.

The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala: Detail

Want to make more mappish books? The MapLove e-course begins 21st October – join us!

We’d love to see what you create – please use the hashtag #maploveecourse

4 thoughts on “Make a MapLove Compass Mandala

  1. Love this,! I am clearing my calendar after lunch today so that I can have some time for MAPLOVE!😻

  2. Loved doing the design for this project. Hurrying to complete before Maplove begins! I think I’ve gone a bit wrong at the end of the folding though. Do you end up with both valley/mountain folds as well as vertical folds?

    1. Oooh please send a pic Cathy! Yes yes your folds end up every which way, fear not! See you in class!

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