On Sunday, I was very decadent and bought myself a new book. It is only 24 pages long and cost £8.95, but it is so beautiful and enticing that it is absolutely, definitely worth every penny. It’s not a craft book, or even fiction: it’s a book called ‘Maps’ by Nigel Peake. It’s full of, well, maps; but not your ordinary, everyday atlas-type maps: these are out-of-the-ordinary, everyday, stylised, hand-drawn to the tiniest minutiae maps, filled with colour and pattern, and – well, they’re just awesome. See left for a couple of pages from inside this book. There aren’t many pages in the book, but it’s not something you can just flip quickly through: you need to really study the pictures, to see which details have been picked up.
I just stumbled upon this book as I was browsing the shelves – it’s very thin and there is not even any wording on the spine, so could easily have been missed, but that’s probably actually what made me notice it. I was just mesmerised, as soon as I opened it. The example to the right, here, is more representative of what I love about the amazing use of line, and pattern. (The image shown is a print, but it does also appear in the book, ‘Sheds’ – I just didn’t want to break the spine of my book, to scan it!). Slightly off-topic, but something to think about, I can totally imagine this kind of image converted into blackwork embroidery. Hmm…
If you check out Nigel Peake’s blog, it’s obvious how the detail of the ordinary things we often just walk past without really seeing is being plucked from obscurity in his work. It’s not that it is enlarged or prettified, but itjust makes you actually look at the detail, makes you aware, instead of being blind to it. I love the photos on his blog.
There is also a website where you can actually flip through his publications, and see even more of his wonderful illustrations; then when you can’t take it any more, you can also buy prints and zines online. Go and do it now. I insist.