Are you the kind of adventurous traveller who dreams of going on an African safari or a trek through India? Or are you a quieter sort of traveller who delights in a garden tour of the English countryside? No matter which kind of travel experience you enjoy, if you love to travel you probably love maps. Do you gaze at them and see myriad opportunities for traveling to distant parts of the world? Do you also find beauty in the older, vintage ones? Chances are good that you would probably love to have a beautiful hand-painted map made for you that documents your very special journey. This is exactly what my talented friend Connie Brown creates at Redstone Studios in the town of Durham, Connecticut.
The map featured above was done for a client to document a memorable trip to East Africa. The client is an accomplished nature photographer and supplied Connie with photos of wild animals and other details of the trip, including a quote about Africa from the writer Ernest Hemingway. This is a map to be treasured, not only as a representation of the location of a magnificent trip, but also as a beautiful work of art to display in one's home. The photos below show some of the exquisite details that were included on this map.
Quote from Ernest Hemingway and beautiful paintings of the animals
Photo of giraffes that the client gave to Connie and Connie's artistic rendering below
In the photo above notice the map's border which is based on a beaded Maasai bracelet design and the compass rose which is inspired by a Maasai necklace. These details contribute to the beauty and personal meaning of this project. The colors Connie has used throughout are so appealing -- the yellows, greens, blues and browns all work together well and create such a pleasing result.
More images of animals in the borders and gorgeous close-up of the regions in Africa that are featured
Connie is a cartographer and enjoys the marriage of art and science that exists in map making. Her maps are accurate and also beautiful. She has an interest in the elaborate elements found in Renaissance maps, such as borders, cartouches, elaborate lettering and illustrations. These are features that add a beauty and vintage quality to her work.
The list of maps that Redstone Studios has made over the years reads like a travel book of short stories:
A journey that a couple took to China to adopt their infant daughter and bring her home
The annual vacation that a family takes to their favorite lake in the Oregon Cascades
A trip that a family took to Africa to visit their son when he was in the Peace Corps
The travels of a couple who circled the globe at the equator, looking at animal species
The routes of a retired submarine captain
Civil War experiences depicted for the great-grandchildren of soldiers
A tiger reserve in India done for a documentary filmmaker
A wedding week in Tuscany
A private pilot's trip from Nantucket to Cape Town
An antique car-rally in British Columbia
A bird watcher's trip to Antarctica
You can imagine how many personal narratives and family history would be contained in the stories of these trips. These are tales of geography and the human spirit.
If I were to commission a map from Redstone Studios, I can think of three ideas:
1) My garden tour of the Cotswolds in England
2) A literary landscape of England featuring the locations of my favorite writers
3) A trip to Italy to trace the footsteps of my ancestors, born in Rome and Naples (I haven't made this trip yet, but want to)
What trip would you like documented if you were to commission one of these maps? Are you an adventuresome traveller or a traveller who likes to return to favorite places?
"The past lives on, in art and memory, but it is not static: it shifts and changes as the present throws its shadows backwards. The landscape also changes, but far more slowly; it is a living link between what we were and what we have become."
-- Margaret Drabble, "A Writer's Britain"
Wouldn't it be amazing to have the landscapes of our lives, the ones that really made a difference, memorialized in maps such as those made by Redstone Studios?