curious oddities

Lovely New Nautical Locket necklaces
July 30, 2012, 7:33 pm
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The Marvelous adventures of Frolicking Alison Faye the Revel rouser

tall-ship-3-by-paint-and-inkUnder the grand title of Chief Mapmaker, Alison Murray Whittington charts magical and fantastic lands for her organization: The Interimaginational Institute for Fantastical Exploration & Cartography. Each of her hand-inked and painted maps is an inspiration for endless tales of heroes and quests, romance and adventure, mystery and wonder.

I was truly delighted when she agreed to grant me an interview from her home in Chesapeake, Virginia.

First things first, I must know, what were your most beloved storybooks or tales growing up?

I can only begin to scratch the surface here. I loved so many books and tales when I was growing up, and still do: they include a lot of classics, like Where the Wild Things Are, Paddington Bear, Pippi Longstocking, The Pop-Up Book of Gnomes (I was an adult before I realized the original book, Gnomes, even existed), and A Book of Fairy Tales, illustrated by the Grahame Johnstone sisters (still one of my most treasured books). I also loved Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle in Time, The Ordinary Princess, and both The Little Princess and The Little Prince. And my dad was a great storyteller, too. I’m very lucky that my childhood was packed to the brim with story and imagination.
You have charted such wonderful lands. If you had the opportunity to choose one to visit, which would be at the top of your list?

That is such an awesome question – no one has ever asked me that. I love all of the places I’ve charted, without question, but if I could pick only one place to visit, it would be Marvelopolis and vicinity. I love the mix of activities and elements… there’s a bit of adventure (who wouldn’t want to ride a Pegasus?), a bit of intrigue (Smuggler’s Inn), ocean, mountains, forest… it’s got a little bit of everything, really.

Plus, it has my favorite element: the promise of more adventures to be had off the edges of the paper, just beyond the map’s boundaries. marvelopolis-by-paint-and-inkWas the first map that you created of a real or imaginary place? Was it for you or a project for something else?

I must have made maps as a student, but really, this is a very new occupation for me. And it sprung up almost fully-formed, out of the blue, or so it seemed. I can look back at my whole life, and see how it has led me to this life as a mapmaker, but at the time, it felt like it just came out of nowhere.

One day, I just had a hankering to make a map… I even knew that I wanted to use dip pens and India ink, and hunted them down and bought them before I ever made the first map. I remember buying those supplies very clearly, and I know for sure the first map was a treasure map, but I just don’t remember which one it was. It’s not one of the maps in my Etsy shop, though. It’s definitely in the back of the file cabinet in my “oops” folder. It took some practice before I was ready to start sharing my maps with the world. You can read about that here, if you like.

If you were a pirate, what name would you sail under?

Ooooooh…. I get so excited just thinking about pirating! But not the evil kind. I’d be a pirate in my own way, which wouldn’t be robbing and plundering, but wreaking havoc in fun, wacky ways: like sneaking into a town in the middle of the night with my crew to start a big carnival Or instead of stealing treasure, burying a chest of chocolate coins and tacking a map to someone’s door in the middle of the night. Or firing cannonballs of confetti at another ship! Now, wouldn’t that be marvelous?

So I would need a good name to be that kind of pirate. Like Alison the Revelrouser or Frolicking Alison Faye. Wow, or Frolicking Alison Faye the Revelrouser. I really like that word, revelrouser. I think I will have to use it a lot.

Originals: (If you are looking to book a holiday trip, be sure to check out Alison’s map of the North Pole!)

Miss Frolicking Alison Faye, if you ever choose to set sail, I shall be the first to sign up as crew!!