Monday, June 18, 2012

Treasure Maps

I ignored the blog all week because I was on a road trip - pictures coming soon!

The last time I discussed living room art with you, I'd had a terrible failure with fabric mapsSpoiler alert: this is a story of failure, as well.  I really don't know why this is so hard - people across the Interworld brag about their easy map art projects as if there's nothing to it.  I found several wonderful success stories on Pinterest, and they added another layer of genius: straight pins into the canvas map to show where I've been (and maybe another color for where I want to go?).

I couldn't find a map big enough for the three 24x36-inch canvases I'd already purchased for the living room, but fell in love with the maps printed on Cavellini wrapping paper.

Good news: my favorite art store carries a selected (i.e., too small but very welcome) collection of this wrapping paper so I spent a ridiculous $8 on the most beautiful paper I've ever owned.

Following the expert advice of my friend and style advisor Michelle, I immediately carted my purchases to Kinko's.  Michelle found other bloggers who had Kinko's resize paper to 3'x3': a much closer fit than the wrapping paper's current size!  Looking back, I should have known the copyright on the paper would be a problem...but I was too excited about my progress to be bothered with details like international law.  The Kinko's employee was quick to remind me.

This image has been altered to protect the gender and identity of the actual Kinko's employee who very kindly put up with my many questions...meaning, I stole this funny picture from the Internet.

I asked what he would do if I came back a few minutes later with the tiny little copyright cut off the bottom (I was, after all, a desperate criminal at this point).  In a response that I've laughed about for days now, he calmly said that of course he couldn't stop me if I wanted to break international copyright law but he wasn't willing to do it for me.  Bravo for your humor and law enforcement, Kinko's man!

I came home until I could wait for a new employee who wouldn't know that I'd remove the copyright come up with a new idea.

My new idea led me home...literally.  I went to The Book Nook in Prescott, AZ - a claustrophobia-inducing, cluttered mess of a bookstore that I have adored for years.  It has solutions to absolutely any print need I've ever had.

Aisles are even narrower than they appear.

Sure enough, there were two boxes of maps for me to browse.  I picked out a few with possibilities...then discovered that they wer 50 CENTS EACH and found a total of 40 maps I couldn't live without.   (It's amazing what a bargain does to my sense of need.)  The maps accompanied me on the next leg of my road trip, where I discovered how really amazing they were: when I showed them to dad, he pointed out that they're very old maps.  As in, I am now the awestruck owner of maps from the 1940s-1960s.  My favorite is a map of the U.S. from 1933.

As if that weren't amazing enough, it's personalized - the person who owned it very lightly pencilled in the national parks they visited.  This just made it to the list of Things I Have To Get Out Of The House If (God Forbid) My House Ever Burns Down.

Anyway, back to the failure part of my story.

None of the maps fit the canvases I own.  Most are too small, and the ones that are big enough to fit over one canvas aren't big enough to be divided across two.  So I scrapped the existing canvases sizes and taped a few of my favorite smaller maps to the wall, to see how it would look.

So here's where you get to weigh in on my doomed project.  I think canvases won't work because the maps don't have enough contrast to the wall.  So do I get nice poster frames for them instead?  Wait for another map find that allows me to use the bigger canvases? Or scrap the idea and search for a whole new art idea - perhaps from my trip to Cuba next month?

Note: be aware that I am authorized to ignore any and all comments in pursuit of my own ideas - miserable failures though they may be.  But I would love any feedback on this messy, unfinished challenge.


  1. Hmmmm....what if you painted the canvases a color similar to the orange pillows then centered the maps on the canvasses? That would give the wall some contrast, not waste the canvases and still get the maps on the wall in a way more unique than frames.

    1. That's a great idea! I like it much better than the frame idea...and since the frames would be $120, it's a lot cheaper.

    2. This was my idea as well!

  2. Ah! Prescott! I grew up there, but I've never been to The Book Nook. I'll have to stop there next I'm up visiting my parents. I think they would look really nice framed, although that's probably the most expensive option. Unless you can find frames at IKEA, they are usually pretty cheap. I do like the idea above - about painting the canvases.

    1. I grew up there too! Lived there until about ten years ago when I moved to Phoenix to finish school. The Book nook is on Gurley, down from the Gurley Street Grill but not as far as the Sharlot Hall Museum. :)

  3. I love reading your posts, perhaps I am biased with this one ;) I think the three maps look great. The first commenter may be on to something. You could paint the sides a pop of color, rather than centering, thus allowing the canvases look still, but the color could pop from the sides?