Lesson Three: THE MAP OF YOU
Lesson 3 Option 2


We can learn so much by observing other artists’ work.  We can be moved emotionally, intuitively (“irrationally”) and these ways of connecting to art are all valid.  It is what brings us into a piece or art - curiosity via the senses, the trick of a seasoned artist to capture your interest.   But to look more deeply into the work, you must engage the conscious, analytical tools of thinking so that you are able to give names to the subtleties and nuances that have attracted you in the first place. In other words, discover why you are drawn into a specific work, style or anything in the world for that matter.   It means taking observation to a more critical level, where you can actually discover what is at the heart of your inner artist.


Do you have a favorite artist?


1-Look at the collages of Rex Ray.  Rex Ray has a style of working that invites us to take a closer look in their size and repetition - a body of work in miniature.  As you have just completed in your ”Linking Series” from Lesson 2, it only took one small adjustment to inspire and make a connection to the next piece. In this exercise, you will be deconstructing the small collages of Rex Ray.  

In your journal, note similarities. They link and yet they vary.  Note differences.  

Write a list of ways in which they change ever so slightly.  Get specific like you did in the linking descriptions.  

How the shape changes ever so slightly, how the color becomes a tint or shade, how the forms turn or move.  Note how many times an element repeats in an individual piece, in the series.  No element is unimportant.

You could even create a spreadsheet if you are so inclined. Reading pictures is like solving puzzles.




2-Make a list about who you are.  How are you unique?

My list looks something like this :  Explorer, Archeologist, Engineer…Mother, Maker, Rebel.  Use metaphors if necessary - words or terms like Black & White, Half Full etc,  Open…  Look at your ongoing list of words to help you identify some of your characteristics.

Maybe the following questions will be helpful.

Do you have a favorite color, place, pet, person or thing?

What activities interest you?

Do you collect anything?

How would you gauge your emotional and/or spiritual qualities?

What books do you read?

What do you dream about?

What textures do you prefer?

What elements are you discerning from the Rex Ray collages or another favorite artist?



3-Next you will draw a map - a place of “YOU.”  It can be in a Mandala/ Symmetrical format, a Pie Chart,  or a grid of streets in your “neighborhood” - names, numbers or whatever might come up as an idea for how you perceive yourself as a series of intersecting characteristics, emotions and identities. 

Place these characteristics on your map in a type of hierarchy of importance.    Think about “word clouds” and how the most dominant words appear larger in the cloud.  

You may find it easier to write your characteristics on individual pieces of paper so that you can shift them around until you discover their priority in your life.




4-Develop a stitch variation for each characteristic.  Put a piece of fabric into an embroidery hoop and start stitching the different formations so that you begin a “stitch-ionary”  or stitch alphabet of your own.  

Look at the examples of Kanji, Morse Code, etc. I have added new “alphabets” as I find them. 

Notice how they are similar with slight variations, like the Rex Ray collages. 

Refer to a favorite FONT to get inspiration, if you like.


Note: some characteristics can be combined.  You may only get four or five stitches.  That is excellent!!!


You may arrange each stitch variation in any way you choose on the cloth.  

Afterwards, do a sketch of each stitch in your journal and record which characteristic it represents.




Writing tool

Embroidery hoop

Needle, thread and scrap cloth.


Rex Ray on YouTube


Copyright 2018 Roxanne Lasky  Please do not reproduce.

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