Maps and Stamps and Wishing Stars

As a child I was taught (by my father) how to read maps. On trips out of town I used to sit in the front passenger seat of the car and give my father directions. Presumably this was as much about keeping my sister and I apart so that we wouldn’t fight in the car as it was about teaching me navigation.

I also collected stamps. My brother (nine years older) had a stamp collection, so I had one too. I used to buy the cheap assortments: 100 stamps for 25 cents. (I am old enough to remember 5 cent popsicles.) I was mostly interested in stamps that had pictures of birds or animals or butterflies, and not at all interested in how much the stamps might be worth.

My interests in maps and stamps come together in G is for Geography.

The book is enclosed in a box covered with actual maps (I have a collection of discarded maps) and stamps and tied shut with a ribbon. Although the work was produced in an edition of 6, no two copies are identical.

I wanted a format that reproduced the difficulties that many people have when unfolding and re-folding maps, so I created a structure with pages that rotate open randomly.

The pages are covered in archival pigment prints of scanned maps and have genuine stamps to match the letter of the alphabet of each map’s location.

I wanted to match letters of the alphabet because G is for Geography is also an alphabet book. I wrote the story for the reverse side so that the first letter of each page is in alphabetical order.

I was prompted to write about this particular book this week because of a post on boingboing. Bonhams is having a History of Science auction which includes some wonderful “pocket” globes. One can imagine an 18th century gentleman carrying one of these for handy reference while discussing world affairs with his friends at the coffee house.

The auction includes larger globes and similar items

as well as a wide range of other historic science-related artifacts. The item that really caught my eye, and which I would love to own but can’t afford is this:

It is even small enough to fit in our tiny, overcrowded house!


And now for something completely different …

Wishing Star Project Update:

Things are progressing gradually. I have been collecting wishes, transcribing them, and folding them into stars. I now have about 14 litres (3 gallons Imperial measure, 3.7 gallons U.S.) but will need a lot more! I need to fill several of these bins.

If you have already left me a wish (or three) please wish again, and please pass the link along to friends and family. If you haven’t wished yet, you can leave wishes here.

I look forward to your assistance in completing the project.   ; ]




About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than thirty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004. I also create prints and drawings that are frequently text-inspired or text-based.
This entry was posted in artist's books, book arts, bookbinding, Design, maps, moveable books and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Maps and Stamps and Wishing Stars

  1. Mary Kritz says:

    Hello Cathryn: Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your map and stamps in a box with the alphabetic story on the reverse side. I especially like the way you joined the pieces. I will be happy to send more stars your way.


  2. I am happy to see the wishing star project is coming along. I so love the idea – I hope you will get enough wishes eventually. And I am quite impressed by how many you have already done. Will you let us know some more obscure or especially beautiful ones?


    • Byopia Press says:

      Sorry it took me so long to respond to this: my life has been crazy busy recently!

      There isn’t a lot of difference in the paper stars — some variation in size and some different colours — but there is a lot of variety in what gets written inside them. My current favourites are:

      I wish for a lesson to teach me patience, a lesson to teach me humbleness, and a lesson to teach me unconditional love. Preferably not dramatic and painful lessons.

      I wish to have a photogenic memory.

      I like the first for its wisdom, and the second because it reminds me of Mrs. Malaprop. ; ]


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