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Creative Phase Activities
Techniques & Tutorials

OrnaMental Maps



1. Improving skills in visual content making

2. soft skills (work in group)

3.raising awareness about environment through recycling

4. discovering local visual environment

5. Improving skills in story-telling, sharing experience

6.  Improving verbal skills and divided attention

7. Creating bridges between local culture, culture of origin and each other.

Time frame

Between 90 minutes to 120 minutes

Material needed

Up-cyclable wooden board or  any other wooden piece of furniture
Pencils (as many as you are), erasers
Acrylic paint, brushes
Plastic containers (such as smaller recycled bottle tops to mix the paint and bigger ones for water
Eventually rules and compasses
Varnish (if you want to finalize your object and use it afterwords) 

OrnaMental map is a form of collective creation. It is a complex experience where people bring into a collective art piece their own personal, visual heritages and try to find out together how to link them to each other, for example, by transforming the lines and the shapes gradually or by creating transitions of colors. In this way, they can map cultural and personal encounters and represent them visually.

1. Pick up a smaller piece of furniture, a wooden board  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, in the cave : any tired or shabby piece. 

The easiest object to work with 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.


The OrnaMental Map technique can be based on a collection of photos created within various discovery activities, taken at  home, in the street or at the occasion of an exhibition visit.

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2. Form groups of 3 or 4 persons and sit around your board or your furniture

3. Prepare your photos. You can also previously print them to have them before your eyes. Observe your photo for a while and  try to identify shapes and lines that can  be turned into patterns or ornaments.


4. Share  your  photo's story with the others: where was it taken, what do you like in it, etc.  You can also choose a topic to talk about while you'll  be drawing. which is related to the previous discovery activity. It can be about your visual experiences in your neighborhood or in the locality  where you're  originally from.

5. 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.
Screenshot 2022-08-26 at 22-06-29 OrnaMental Space Maps cotaong.png

6. 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.

7.  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.


In case you need some ideas to create transition between patterns...

Recommendations to combine "OrnaMental Maps" with other activities:

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