Piecing together the world map


Russia didn’t look like it would fit.  Too many pieces, not enough space.  It might help if I don’t put African countries into Central Siberia.

It’s an excellent puzzle.  The pieces are small.  Much of the writing requires two sets of glasses perched on top of each other.  The colour palette is very limited.  I don’t know if it is old, or just designed to look old.

Yet, there is plenty of connective detail that helps to pull the pieces together.

It was also a test of my ability to place pieces based solely on difficult-to-pronounce town names.  Just where might Salekhard and Nadym be when they’re at home?  A little to the left of Siberia, as it turns out.  No cheating with Google Maps … or The Times Atlas of the World either.

 Series notes

In this series of photographs called “Mini Jigsaws”, I select a small number of odd pieces from a puzzle just completed and re-assemble them.  The aim is to distill something of the experience thrown up by this particular puzzle.

When organising these pieces, I reached a dilemma.  Where should I place my two continents if I want them to relate visually to each other?

Of my two choices, the first attempt seems to accentuate the divide between them.  In the other, my eye is instead drawn to the horizontal line that runs across both.


First attempt
First attempt


World Map - Second attempt
Second attempt


This whole thing got me thinking about borders and divisions, as well as connections and similarities.

Why does the first image seem to be the stronger of the two?  Am I just more comfortable with the idea of separation?

But thinking on it further, the first image is just visually comfortable.  It draws on the rule of thirds and allows the eye to flow easily, conventionally, along the rows of pieces.  The image reinforces the idea of separation by employing key elements of design that create a comfortable viewing experience.

In contrast, my attempt to build a connection between the two continents has created a difficult image; it has created visual discomfort.

Interestingly, once I found one connecting line, others started emerging.  Look close.  They are there.






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