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OrnaMental Maps
One-session workshop

Duration: 3 hours

  • Research or learning phase (1 hour)

  • Designing and creative phase (2 hours)

Acquired skills and objectives:

- Discovering local visual culture

- Enhancing culture of origin and diversity

- Raising awareness about environment through recycling

- learning creative techniques

- experience in co-working (team and community building)

- skills in digital audio-visual content making


Recycling exercise with the
OrnaMental Maps technique

OrnaMental maps is a method to create half-consciously drawn geometric ornament on recycles objects based on a collection of ornaments.

Why to work with ornaments ?

Ornaments have dozens of different uses, functions and meanings broadcasting universal and very specific messages at the same time. Their main characteristics that make them apt to reuse and recycle :

  • they are free from ideology still they are closely connected to ethnic, religious or cultural identities

  • they can be adapted to many different material and digital artistic medias

  • there are easy and simple methods to create them even without having special artistic skills

  • creating them has a therapeutic aspect and a calming effect.

  • They are everywhere and it's possible to approach many different topics through them.

Step 1 (Introduction) :
  • Trainers explain what an ornament is, they show examples from different visual cultures
Step 2 :
Instead of taking a walk outside,  participants search for pattern is books or in online artwork databases :
Step 4 :
Pick up a piece of furniture, a wooden board or any smaller object that you don't use anymore. You may use anything that you find it in the street, thrown away by your neighbors or at home, it the cave : any tired or shabby piece.
If you work in group and you make the exercise in a group, the best choice is an unvarnished wooden board measuring at least 30 x 40 cm so that 3 or 4 may sit around it comfortably when you begin the work. If you are more then 4, try to find a larger board or use more than one : 1 board per 3 or 4 persons.
Step 5 :
Prepare the tools that you'll need :
- pencils (as many as you are)
- erasers
- acrylic paint
- plastic containers (such as smaller recycled bottle tops to mix the paint and bigger ones for water
- brushes
- eventually rules and compasses
- varnish (if you want to finalize your object and use it afterwords) 
OrnaMental maps training3.jpg
Step 6:
Form groups of 3 or 4 persons and sit around a board.

Step 7:
Each of you shall prepare photos (at least two of them). You can also print them to have them before your eyes or just observe them for a while and retain the basic line of your ornaments.
Step 8: 
Choose a topic to talk about while you'll  be drawing. It can be about your visual experiences in your neighborhood or in the locality  where you're  originally from. You can also compare them. Try to give a visual description about things that you like there and those that you don't. You can do it in turn, one at a time

Step 9:
In parallel, each of you will begin to draw with a pencil at different points of  the board. Use the ornaments on your photos as a starting point for your drawing that you'll continue to develop in a half conscious way while you are either talking or listening to the others.
OrnaMental maps is a technique based on a half conscious way of creating patterns. The aim is to liberate you from the stress of wanting to create something beautiful and well-done  but also to help you to get to know each other by sharing stories. To reach these two  goals at the  same  time, you will use  the technique of divided attention.
While you talk or you listen to the others, the visual descriptions might also influence the patterns you draw. 
Step 10: 
As the patterns you draw each of you independently expands on the  surface of thee board, at one point, they will get close to each other. At that moment, you  will have to find solutions together how to link them to each other. You have several solutions, you will find some examples below.

Linking  the patterns is a symbolic gesture: you need to think about how to unite different universes, how to create connections.
20220210_201524 copie.jpg
20220210_201214 copie.jpg
Step 10:
Step 11: 
Add your colors. Colors may introduce additional rhythms to your patterns, "brake" them or vary them. But color may also be the key for a harmonious appearance of all the different geometric patterns. For example, you  can  decide to use the  different shades  of  only one or two colors such  as the red on this example of an OrnaMental map.

Different ways to create transitions between your  geometrical ornaments: 
Delimitation of patterns by adding stripes
Challah et l'horloge.jpg
Overlapped patterns
Use  of an imaginary grid into which you  can fit different forms
Linking elements with lines or by adding simple forms between them 
cica et etagere.jpg
Leaving empty spaces
If you work with more then one group at once, so on several objects, you can also create connections between there separate objects, for example by using the same range  of colors on each.
pot de fleur.png
boite petite.png
horloge rouge.png
Don't  forget  to estimate the time you have at your disposal for the workshop. If you work on large surfaces, don't add too small details, otherwise it can take many-many  hours to  finish.
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