Thursday 28 April 2011

Introducing the Word Map of the British Isles

I'm so happy to finally reveal the collaboration I recently did with Angus Mcarthur at Snowhome.
The Word Map is a print of the British Isles which is created using selected text that has a certain relationship to its particular geographic location. Regional specialities, historical fact, local celebrities, indigenous species, stereotypes, cliches and typecasts all make up the map of the British Isles using hand crafted type. No lines or borders are used - just type.
The map was the fantastic design idea of Angus and he spent many months researching and finalising the words before coming to me with the proposition of commissioning me to hand render the words to form the British Isles. Knowing how much I love both maps and hand crafted type he knew I couldn't resist! It was definitely guaranteed to be my kind of project.
Throw in the fact also that it was the kind of work which is slow and involves meticulously building up word after word and seeing it evolve and you have my perfect combination.

Working directly onto a very large piece of paper with a pot of Indian ink and a 01 paintbrush I started in the Shetlands and worked my way down........ and down and down.......! I kept photographing the map at intervals - to keep Angus up to date with my progress, to get a sense of how it was progressing and also as a way of documenting this slow but very satisfying journey.
So many many hours and roughly 318 sets of hand painted words later and it was finished and amazingly I stood back and there was The British Isles!
I was really rather pleased with the finished result.

I do love a bit of hand created type (obviously - as it forms such a lot of my work) and this has re-affirmed my love for it. A beautiful piece of hand painted type can add to a word and make it into something other than just a word. One thing I've noticed is how everyone who has seen the map has a favourite word/s on it because of the aesthetics of that particular one and how it is created or relates to and weaves around the words around it. This wouldn't happen if the words were just typed.

So here are some images of the finished map in all it's litho printed glory. I've also included some of the process so you can see how it built up over time to form the finished piece is has now become.

The map is available as a rolled lithographic print which is printed on uncoated 190gsm paper stock and packed in a tube.

There are two sizes available; 60x80cm and 70x100cm.

The 60x80cm is available in grey, green and blue-black, the 70x100cm version in blue-black only. (The print fits standard ready-made frames).

It will be launched at the Grand Designs Live exhibition at Excel in London this week and is available to buy from the Snowhome website.

All in all it's been a fantastic project to work on and my geography and knowledge of the British Isles has improved immensely!


Holly Surplice said...

Alison this is SO gorgeous!!! I must get my mitts on one (will def help my appalling geography!). Congratulations, I am sure it is going to go down an absolute storm. Holx

Holly Surplice said...

Ordered one in Grey! Can't wait to see it!!! x

John Green said...

Hi Alison,

Hope your well! I'm currenbtly exhibiting the map on behalf of snowhome (sharing a stand) at Grand Designs and I honestly cannot think of a word to describe how popular the map has been with visitors. We're roughly selling so many a day at the exhibition that I think we have ran out! I keep mentioning you as the illustrator and people are vewry impressed!

Some people are sticking out for the world map version! hope your ready for it!

X john

Miss Average said...

Hi Alison, are you planning a yorkshire word map? That would be amazing?


Anonymous said...

Hi Alison

I just wanted to say how much I love your word map. I bought a large print last year while on holiday in York and hung it over the fireplace in my lounge. It looks fab and I've had lots of compliments on it.

Best wishes from the E in Riviera!