I am always contemplating new ways to interpret the beautiful geometry of Florence's urban plan, which I find endlessly fascinating. For this series of embossed maps—my first attempt at embossing—I chose to focus on some of my favorite piazzas. On to sturdy museum board I printed scans of the original drawings for the maps that I had created for The Piazzas of Florence. Next I cut out the city blocks, and the outlines that define Florence’s streets & piazzas began to reveal themselves.

I experimented with several different kinds of paper for the embossing, and found that one of my old favorites, a creamy heavyweight Rives, worked wonderfully. It's 100% cotton, with a nice tooth, and very “impressionable.” I was able to ease it along the edges that delineate the city blocks/streets with my fingers, and then use a bone folder/other tools to make the lines crisp. While a proper press would be useful for such work, I found that I really enjoyed using my hands for this process.

Dimensions: 20 x 20 cm (8” x 8”)

Rives Heavyweight with hand-deckled edges

Mounted on Rives Heavyweight or papers marbled by a local artisan

More details about creating the embossed maps in this blog post.

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Piazza di Santa Trìnita

Piazza della Signoria

Piazza di Santa Maria Novella

Piazza di Santo Spirito

Piazza di San Lorenzo