View Full Version : Does anybody ever sculpt maps? (Clay, etc.)

03-06-2009, 05:57 AM
Just curious. Does anybody ever create maps my sculpting them in clay or other media (even beach sand)?

I do this now and then when I have the materials- I find it's an extremely easy way to make great mountains (it's tricky to get a good photo of it afterwards though).

An example of one sculpture map I made:

[broken link]

joćo paulo
03-06-2009, 06:15 AM
At first glance, this map (?) Seems a piece of carved wood but is actually a map of the coast of Greenland. This map, dated 1884, was made by Eskimos (Inuit). While sailing along the coast, carved the edges of this piece of wood, creating a map for navigation.

Points and angles in the sculpture are corresponding with the geography of the coast. The angle on the edge of the map is related to the slope of the coast. Reading the map is made from south to north using the right side of the sculpture / map. When you reach the end of the sculpture / map on the right side, just move to the left to further interpretation.

This map / sculpture was on display at the Walters Art Museum (http://www.thewalters.org/) (Baltimore, MD, USA) as part of the exhibition Maps: Finding Our Place in the World.

03-06-2009, 08:21 AM
I did one a few months back for a challenge - the one with the set buildings and I put a space ship on it. Vehuiah did one in play doh for challenge I think it might have been the same one.

03-06-2009, 01:12 PM
I used to do contour maps in cardboard. No pictures though (done in the '80s)

I really liked the way you can get a proper feel for the "lay of the land" with concrete maps

03-06-2009, 02:55 PM
I used to do contour maps in cardboard. No pictures though (done in the '80s)

I really liked the way you can get a proper feel for the "lay of the land" with concrete maps

I've wondered if anyone has exported the countours of a map to a laser cutter to fab up a stacked 3d model?

-Rob A>

03-19-2009, 12:19 PM
I dunno if this is what you had in mind, but miniature wargamers have been doing this since the early 1800s. But I suppose only for small-scale tactical maps?

03-19-2009, 01:55 PM
On an unrelated note, Blake, whilst browsing your Deviantart, I discovered that I rather like your fungus person you drew.

03-19-2009, 08:21 PM
I actually sculpt city landscapes in plasticine at times, if they have some special issue to deal with. But I really need to invest in making proper tools to work in finer details than what I use now.

03-21-2009, 10:05 AM
One of those 'To Do' projects I have had on the list for a while is to get a bag of sharp sand, pour it into a tray, wet it and then sculpt it topographically. Then take some overhead photographs of it and use a black and white of the image as a shadow overlay on a map in photoshop.

03-21-2009, 10:09 AM
I did similar here:


Try it with white pasticene play doh and it gives a great shadow map for use with a texture for dirt.

05-29-2014, 07:27 PM
Here's another version of an Inuit map made from driftwood and sealskin. Inuit cartography: Map of a Greenland bay carved by Silas Sandgreen in 1925 (http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2014/01/08/inuit_cartography_map_of_a_greenland_bay_carved_by _silas_sandgreen_in_1925.html) 64553