Guest Blogger: Abbie Zuidema

We would like to introduce you to Abbie Zuidema, our Friday Guest blogger! Abbie uses text and image in her watercolor illustrations to uncover the history of the land. She responds to world news, home town experiences, and sentiments that move her clients’ and her own heart, such as the Magnitude 6.3 earthquake hits off Japan coast early this morning.

Japan – Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Crisis (2011)

Click on the link to read about EARTHQUAKE, TSUNAMI AND NUCLEAR CRISIS in the New York Times

“The earthquakes and tsunami in Japan broke my heart. The most recent development is the radioactive runoff from Fukushima into the Pacific. This impacts everything, immediately, worldwide. Japan’s food source is being poisoned. My map is in response to those events.

Of all the nations in the world, Japan is one of the most innovative and resilliant. There is a tremendous hope within the inherent “laws of nature.”  The end of one, gives birth to another. The duality of life and death is represented in the oceans that surround Japan. What gives me hope is nature itself.

Researching this map initially my focus was to visually describe the sea life most immediately effected.  In that search I kept coming across Fugu-pufferfish. Japanese have eaten it for centuries. The poison tetrodotoxin is concentrated in the liver, ovaries and skin. Years of training is required to prepare Fugu.  The poison is a neurotoxin. The victim is full conscious but unable to move or speak. The most popular preparation is sashimi arranged in a chrysanthemum pattern which is also the royal seal.

For me, Fugu represents life and death, the sea, and centuries of tradition that makes Japan what it is. “

abbie j. zuidema

abbie j. zuidema lives in Brooklyn and works as an illustrator creating intimate paintings of maps and food for magazines around the country.  Abbie describes her process on her website: “It is about consumption. I get to look and digest how things are made: the silkiness of the ribbon, the details of lace, shininess of packaging. To better understand that human impulse of desire.”

Please visit her website at 

Ready to change your thinking?

Learn more