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.
- 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
Step by step:
The Travelling Bookbinder: Make a MapLove Compass Mandala
Write a short list of things that are important to you. My list: Books, boats and love.
Think about how you can represent them simply.
Find the centre of your square. Beginning in the middle, add images or words to your compass, radiating outwards.
Don’t worry too much if it ends up geometrically inaccurate…
Keep going, right to the outer edges.
Admire while drying, if wet.
Fold in half widthways.
Open out, turn ninety degrees and fold in half widthways again.
Then fold each outside edge in to the middle crease.
Hopefully you’ll now have a square with sixteen mini squares.
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.
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.
When you get to a corner, keep zig-zagging away from the folds you’ve already made.
Keep going until there are no more folds to fold!
You’ve made a lovely little square book.
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.
Add text however you like – i’ve gone with slightly wonky painted letters.
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.
Present your finished book so that both sides of the concertina can be seen.
Want to make more mappish books? The MapLove e-course begins 3rd March 2023 – join us!
We’d love to see what you create – please use the hashtag #maploveecourse