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Working the Land

uffta (OOF-tah): interjection: Exclamation of Norwegian origin, popular in strongly Scandinavian settlements in the upper Midwest, used to express surprise, bewilderment, astonishment, pity, pain, and fatigue. Syn. yikes, oh boy, whoa nelly, hoo-wee, good gravy.

I'm happy to report that the custom requests continue to pour into my shop at a nicely steady pace. While many of them remain in the style of my original lake-style bathymetries, the most recent requests have begun to grow legs and climb onto land for a look at the good life. Starting from the simplest, though not necessarily easiest, to the most complex, here's a look at what me and my trusty lil' blade have been up to lately.

The first piece is basically a reverse of my typical pieces. Instead of the land being a single, solid white layer with the water represented in layers of deepening color, the water here is a base layer of white, and the land is layered on top in the shades from light to dark. Abstract veining, or a chunk of Mobjack Bay, near Gloucester, Virgina?

Going with more land-like coloration, another patron requested a 12-layer representation of Little Switzerland, North Carolina. If you notice, there's a handful of little lakes scattered throughout this area as well.

Incorporating the water into the land-based topographies took off from there. Starting small, here is the stunning Plage du Pyla on the southwestern coast of France.

From here, it was an all-out war against my brains and hands to work both the land's topography and the water's depth into a single piece. Here is an artistically isolated Marrowstone Island, from the great state of Washington.

(entire piece)
And it didn't get any easier from there. A request for the Rhode Island coastline near Westerly:

(entire piece)

And then onto the largest lake in New Hampshire: Lake Winnipesaukee. I counted at least 53 islands here, not including the little hills of land that were islands of another sort.


(entire piece)
Finally, the biggest, most time-taxing, brain-busting piece to date was actually a set of pieces. Two pairs of pieces of two different areas of Quebec -- Rouyn-Noranda and Montreal.


(both sets)
To answer a question that I'm sure many of you have in mind at this point, YES, these take a good, many hours to complete, and cutting the pieces is only a small portion of the process. For many of these, especially those attempting to capture a big area in a much smaller space, it's difficult to find easy-to-read topographic maps that generalize the land's topography enough to be of use. Most of the time, I need to zoom in to see the lines, choose which ones to follow, and then zoom out to work the lines into the piece itself. I feel like I add more wrinkles in my brain by doing this. It is mentally exhausting, and it is totally worth it. The results look way cool to me, and I'm excited to tackle some more. Not all areas seem to translate as well as others, but they all have an artful final look, and, best of all, the recipients get to own an original art map of the place they love.

You can say it with me: Uffta!


what unique and beautiful work you do!

Uffta indeed! I am so keeping you/these in mind for the next time I need a very special gift.

UFFTA!! WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW! Each piece totally blows my mind, Marnie! You are so amazing. I don't even know what to say. All these examples of your incredible craftsmanship and artistry expanding into new territories, uncharted waters. I am so impressed with your new work and it amazes me how you challenge yourself to constantly grow and change. It is such an honor to know you and witness your majesty.
love you! awesome post!