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OrnaMental City Map


1. Improving arts & crafts skills
2.  Stimulating 
positive feelings about living environment
3. Co-creating and working in  group
4. Feeling the creative flow

Time frame

60 minutes

Material needed

Paper or wooden boards collected as waste
Crayons, erasers
Brushes of different sizes
Plastic cups for water
Paper plates to mix colors

Acrylic paint

A room where you can paint

Activities based on a subconscious or half-conscious creativity are quite useful to explore needs and desires. If you can create a collective city map based on collected images or patterns from your neighbourhood, when you analyse it, you will notice that imperceptibly, you have created an ideal city composed of ornaments, abstract forms and colours.

Creative Phase Activities
Techniques & Tutorials


In this version of OrnaMental maps, to create your map, you can find inspiration in the city map itself: your OrnaMental map can be designed as a labyrinth pattern inspired by streets and buildings into which you can integrate the patterns and even places that you found.

OrnaMental city map is another version of the co-creative exercise of  OrnaMental map, but here patterns and ornaments are not linked to each other. They are separated by lines representing roads just like on a real map. 

You can base this activity on any discovery activity such as different city tours during which you collect images, patterns and ornaments.

In this exercise you'll make appeal to your faculty of abstraction. You can transform places and buildings too  into ornaments.

1. Create together and imaginary map with aleatory roads. There are two ways to do it:


a) Draw first simple geometric forms such as triangles, half circles and rectangles. Then,transform these shapes into a network of paths or roads by adding lines and erasing others as if you were creating a labyrinth game.


b) Use tapes and  stick them on the boards as if they represented streets of the neighborhood. You can copy the streets from a real map or invent your own city.

Either you work on paper or up-cycled wooden boards, it should be big enough so that 4 persons can sit around to draw ans paint on it comfortably. So preview one large board or paper/4 participants. 

Dispose them in the workshop so that participants can sit on both sides.


Form small groups of 3 or 4 persons who will work together on one board.

If you work on wood, to introduce the exercise, tell them why you are working with recycled wood. You can also explain them the difference between recycling and up-cycling and share the objects' stories if you know them. 

You can also create a small online quiz game about wooden waste. 

6. Tell participants to choose some of the previously taken photos and to find details on it that can easily be transformed into a geometric ornament.

You can create and use this small paper tool to facilitate the selection of details in their photos. 


8. Give them pencils and  erasers to draw the outlines of the patterns they have chosen.

Each of them can add a place, a building or anything else where you find nice smells, nice views or nice sounds in the neighborhood.
Draw them into the empty spaces left between the roads.


9. Distribute acrylic paint and ask them to color their drawings. You don't have to pay attention to the outlines,  it is not a problem if  paint overflows on the tape.


You can also give them the freedom to work immediately with brushes and the colors. 

One person may also work in more than one group,  and can participate to more than one map. The result will be a map of an idealistic town where all of your important places will be represented and linked to each other wherever they are.

You may also work individually on a map putting on it all the places you like.

After coloring your drawing, the result may look like something like this:

The Marne river near Paris embracing a small island and wooden bridges

A calm street by night

in Szentendre

North African kelim carpet patterns from Tunis


Graffiti on the walls in Berlin

Nice drain cover patterns in Budapest

Colorful pavement in the Capella Palatina in Palermo

Checkers game played on a cafe terrace in Fez

Norias (water wheels)

in Hama

Riverside in early autumn near Paris

Small lake next to our  home in Maisons-Alfort

Stairs leading up to Montmartres through the park  in springtime

Palm trees in the oasis of Tozeur

My house's entry in old Damascus

if you have worked with tapes, tear them off and admire your city map.

We suggest to end the workshop session with reviewing all the different places you've depicted on the plan. They might be specific places at first, in your own actual neighborhood, but after reviewing them you may discover interesting things : these places, once depicted may remind you other places you visited in the past recently or even a long time ago, which depicted more or less unconsciously.

This exercise may be a departing point for further story telling exercises as well aiming aat discovering each other's cultures. 

Recommendations to combine "OrnaMental City Map" with other activities:

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