Notebooks are go

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Remember the notebooks that I'm selling on Folksy? They're made from unused envelope paper, and covered in lovely old map paper.

I'm going to be selling them at an eco-event called New Gallery Jumble this coming Saturday 20 August - it's at 92 Peckham Road, sort of between Camberwell and Peckham, from 1pm until 5pm.

All the details can be found on facebook here, so do drop by if you can!

Steve's map of Malta

Saturday, August 06, 2011

About six weeks ago, I put some ads up in art shop noticeboards hoping to find people to draw maps. And happily a reply from Steve from Malta popped up.

I met him the other day and he drew this lovely map of Malta.

Malta, drawn by Steve

"Malta looks a bit like a fish," Steve told me. I'd never noticed it before, but Steve - who is an illustrator and designer - obviously has a good eye for detail. He has also put in the original Maltese names of the islands Comino and Gozo.

We spent a nice couple of hours talking design, London, accents, geography, Scotland, African fabric, and all sorts of other interesting things.

He has a great website here: with some excellently interesting design projects.

So now the idea of a new map of Europe is taking shape - I've only eight more maps to collect, with 'leads' for several of them. But the tiniest are the trickiest: Andorra, San Marino, Monaco! I may have to take a trip.

EuroGlobe, a map of Europe by Europeans

Baki's Kosovo map; Ladi's Albania map; Nikita's Czech map

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

I took a trip to Kilburn to the Queens Arms pub, which has recently become a centre for Kosovars and Albanians in London.

There, I met Baki and Ladi who drew their maps of Kosovo and Albania for me.

Kosovo, drawn by Baki

Albania, drawn by Ladi

(Things were a bit complicated: all these guys were Albanian, some of them from Kosovo. So I asked Baki from Kosovo (who is Albanian) to draw Kosovo, and Ladi who is Albanian to draw Albania...)

Both were part of a group celebrating a friends' birthday. I stayed with them a while and had a wide-ranging conversation about tourism in Albania, Serbian women, mad people in Ireland who support Nazis, the NHS and how the name Adrian is very international.

Later, I realised that one of the bar staff came from Czech Republic, so asked her to draw a map for me. Nikita's response was, "are you really serious?" but she drew this great map anyway.

Czech Republic, drawn by Nikita

Gaļis' map of Latvia

Monday, August 01, 2011

In search of people to draw maps, I recently went to 72 Queensborough Terrace, a Latvian guesthouse and bar. There I met Gaļis who drew this map.

Latvia, drawn by Gaļis

Gaļis was born in Liepāja where there are beautiful beaches. He has been living in London for 5 months, and wanted to practice his English, so we chatted for a while.

"You are most welcoming to stay," he said, encouraging me to spend a very fun/random evening, which included the following:

  • A man who was considering visiting friends in Kyrgyzstan

  • A man conducting anthropological experiments. I took part - he asked me to stare into my eyes in a mirror for 10 minutes. Weird.

  • A strawberry cider called Fizz!

  • Latvian versions of Cabaret and Those Were the Days with satirical political lyrics.

  • A woman sat next to me. She told me that so many times others had tried to "con-queer Latvia". But she didn't let it bother her.

  • I spent an hour talking to a man called Zinters who had fled Latvia after World War 2 to go to what he assumed was a safer Germany. From there, he was moved to England in a government guest worker scheme, working first in Yorkshire, then in Scotland. During the 1950s, he moved to Dublin, trained at the Royal College of Surgeons, worked as a brain surgeon, but eventually moved back to London. Later, he spent time in Uganda working under Idi Amin, left there, retrained to be a radiologist and eventually settled in Mansfield. Wow.

  • One of the final things Zinters said to me was, "Ireland: it's for the Irish, but Britain: it's for everyone".