BY: JULIA RENAUD
I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking right about now: what on earth is face mapping? Those were my thoughts exactly, and to put this question at bay, Amee Le, occupational therapist and founder of Mindful Occupational Therapy Services came to this month’s BIST community meeting to explain what face mapping is all about.
Amee shared that she first learned about the enjoyable and artistic activity from seeing a face map made by information designer, Anna Vital. Amee liked the way that the visual representation, encompassing a picture and short bits of text, enabled her clients to reflect on their experiences. She also thought it was a great way for her to learn about her clients and the experiences that helped to shape them.
Making a face map is simple enough to do, and also fun. If you couldn’t make it to the community meeting, I encourage you to give face mapping a try on your own. I’ll do my best to take you through the process so you too can make a face map of your own.
What you’ll need:
- A blank piece of paper
- A picture of your face (bigger is better in this case)
- Glue or tape (or if you’re tech savvy, like the fine employees at BIST, you can print the picture directly onto the sheet of paper)
- Plenty of colourful writing utensils (pens, pencil crayons, markers, etc.)
Four easy steps for making your face map:
- Glue or tape the picture of your face onto the middle the blank piece of paper.
- Above your picture, write the year that you were born and/or a goal that you have for your future.
- Starting at whatever age you’d like, chronologically write down some milestones in your life around the picture with your corresponding age for each.
- Draw a line from each milestone to a point on your face that you feel represents that milestone.
For example, I was very happy about buying my first car, so I linked that milestone up with the corner of my smile.
The milestones that you choose to highlight can all be related or have no theme whatsoever, it’s entirely up to you. Maybe you need to do a rough draft like I did to get your events in order – picking out milestones is a lot harder than I thought! Be creative and have fun with it.
Above, you’ll find a picture of my own face map that I made at the community meeting. I decided that my goal is to find a new hobby, so I wrote that at the top. My milestones don’t have any particular theme although I tried to include a variety of big moments, starting from age 12 through to 28. For me these big moments mostly revolved around my numerous concussions, as well as my academic and career achievements. Since my most recent concussion, my milestones revolve around perseverance, and celebrating the small victories that come with brain injury recovery. I also chose to write each milestone in a different colour to make my face map more visually interesting.
Amee was absolutely right in saying that face maps are an excellent way to get to know others. As much fun as I had making my face map, my absolute favourite part was meeting and learning about other members of the BIST community. Those sitting alongside me making their own face maps had a breadth of life experiences, some of which we had in common, others that we didn’t. I had the opportunity to learn about many of the triumphs and tribulations that shaped the present of those sitting around me. Most of all, I took with me the compassion that everyone shared with one another while putting our stories down on paper. We are all so fortunate to have such a wonderful community and support network through BIST, its staff, and its members.
Lastly, I’d like to point out that our face mapping meeting leader, Amee, is also blogger and creative mastermind! You can check out her wonderful blog here for more art project ideas.
Next Community Meeting: Wednesday, August 29th, 6-8 p.m.
Julia Renaud is a very talkative ABI survivor with a passion for learning new things, trying new activities, and meeting new people – all of which have led her to writing this column. When not chatting someone’s ear off, Julia can be found outside walking her dog while occasionally talking to him, of course!