I can't remember exactly when I discovered the journals and art of Jill Berry - probably through Somerset Studios magazine at some juncture. What I do know is that I fell immediately in love with her artistic style and have followed her blog ever since. So when I heard that she was releasing her first book, I was more than a little bit excited and had it wish-listed immediately, eagerly awaiting that day when it would be released.
Well, that day arrived and on Monday my copy of Personal Geographies arrived. I am not disappointed! This fantastic book is one which explores the use of maps in mixed media art - both maps traditional, old and new, as well as the maps of our minds and hearts. This is so unlike any other mixed media books I have seen (and lets face it, I buy a LOT of books) - its perspective and theme brings something genuinely new and interesting to the table.
There are a number of contributing artists who are all wonderful in what they bring to Jill's theme, but to me it really is Jill whose work stands out. It is engaging. Layered. Intricate. Fascinating.
You know, when I was a teacher, I got to teach Geography. Initially I was a little worried about this because I hadn't done anything more than read a street map in 20 years. I need not have been concerned. So much of making maps, teaching about colour, topography, direction - it all came back to me and I remembered how much I LOVED geography at school. This shouldn't be a shock to me, given my love of travel, but it was. I have not since forgotten the excitement of maps and the adventure it can bring.
Here's a couple of sneak peeks into Personal Geographies:
You do not need to be a bit nerd-ish like me to enjoy this wonderful book. It is truly a wonderful experience and I have already started collecting maps and fun things I can include in my own journals, inspired by this book. Christmas is coming and I would strongly recommend adding Personal Geographies to your library. You will NOT regret it, I promise!
To contact Jill Berry: