bathymetric /ba-thi-ˈme-trik/ of or relating to measurements of the depths of oceans or lakes
What's this all about? ...Here's an introduction to this blog and here's a 30-second overview of the book itself

Thursday, September 26, 2013


My Bathymetric Book is a variation on an old idea.  The work of many other artists influenced its structure and general look and feel, while a bit of research helped me choose Crater Lake as my specific subject matter. 


I have long admired the layered wooden depth maps that I see at craft fairs; I like their layered structure and tactile quality, which I have imitated in my book. As lifelong canoe and kayak paddler, lakes are very special places to me. Studying these wooden depth maps certainly contributed to my desire to map a lake. 

In 2011, I was given the book The Map as Art by Katharine Harmon. It is a collection of images and artists' statements describing dozens of map-inspired works of art. 

In Harmon's book, the pieces that fascinated me most tended to depict the beauty of natural forms... pieces like this: 

This is Mariele Neudecker's Unrecallable Now. I especially found myself attracted to intricacy, detail, and realism in this piece... and possibly a bit of idealism in its flawless landscape and ethereal glow. 

The book features several beautiful, geographically inspired works by Maya Lin. When I was designing my book, I only knew these images. I've read a bit more about Maya Lin recently and her entire body of work really resonates with me. 


              by Maya Lin

The Map as Art also includes Noriko Ambe's Flat File Globes. The simplicity of the plain, white, flat material  paired with the complexity of the cuts and their cumulative effect definitely made an impression on me and my book. 

    by Noriko Ambe 

Finally, as I noted in my Making Of post, some inspiration came from the material itself, a thick, textured white paper that I really wanted to use, especially in layers. 

Having a background in book conservation and a bit of bookbinding, I liked the the idea of using the three-dimensional space within a book. I also wanted to bind a book for myself, something I hadn't done yet. All of these factors brought me to decide: I would build a book and cut the shape of a lake within it. 

With my material and bathymetric map idea in mind, I knew I wanted to emphasize depth. Though I initially imagined using one of the Great Lakes or a lake on the northern Minnesota border, I found that Crater Lake tops the list of deepest lakes in the United States. What made it stand out even further was its high ratio of depth to longest surface dimension. This was what made it possible to create a scale model of the lake floor in a small book with a notable vertical dimension. Lake Superior, for instance, is very large; had I represented its depth in 3/8 of an inch, its surface would extend about 520 inches (more than 43 feet) at the widest. 

Crater Lake is conveniently a very small, compact shape and is very deep for its surface area. It is also a National Park and a beautiful location that many people are familiar with. Detailed underwater survey data is easily available from the USGS.  Furthermore, its volcanic past has created many interesting underwater features; steep cliffs plunge in at the edges and cones and domes lift up from the lake floor, making it an easy choice for my Bathymetric Book.

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