Not Quite through the Journey

Having darkened the lines of the sketches, I printed them out on Extravorganza and applied to spots on the map that had been painted with a 1:3 dilution of acrylic paint to fabric medium. I adhered the pieces of organza with white glue; the organza virtually disappears. And so do the sketches! You will wonder what those lines were like BEFORE I made them heavier! I may mess around with the sketches and see whether I can improve them, then print and paste over what is there. On this small scale, it is difficult (for me, anyway) to get a bold enough look with enough detail for the pictures to be “read.” I think that a binding would be good on this—maybe black?

I didn’t get to trying the musical notes this week as I started working on a sample for another map! This time, a map on the walkability of our neighbourhood in Mt. Pleasant, SC. I would like to make it using a mosaic technique.

Goals for the week:

1. Finish a sample to try colours for the mosaic.

2. Apply binding to the strip map.

3. Make another stab at the sketches for the strip map.


New book: Layered Cloth: The Art of Fabric Manipulation by Ann Small

Published in 2017, this book. This book was highlighted in the Sept., 2018 issue of Quilting Arts magazine; happily, the book was available through the Toronto Public Library. Seeing the title, I didn’t expect much as it seemed to me that Colette Wolf had already written the bible of fabric manipulation. What Small has done is to push techniques further.

She starts with layering (sewing channels across 5-7 layers fabric, cutting through the channels, and forcing the fabric to “bloom”). Small uses this technique to create landscapes by changing (1) the colours in the stack as well as applying small pieces to the top of the stack, and (2) the direction or nature of the stitching. She also cuts through part of a grid structure to create open work.

Two other very interesting techniques she details are trapunto used with layered fabrics on the top and kantha stitching to create texture. While overall, the book does not seem totally coherent as to topics, Small does some very interesting things. Be sure to look at her fish kimono.

Progress on Strip Map

Strip maps are an ancient way of describing a route by showing key features of the landscape on a long piece of hide or fabric. Medieval strips maps showed things like groups of trees, mountains, churches, villages, streams, etc. Modern day versions show the numbered roads with exits and mileage; examples include the AAA Triptik and routes from Google. My version will show the general road direction with sketches of key places appropriately situated. I have drawn then sewn on a canvas strip the route from Toronto to Charleston, S.C. based on directions in Google maps (thankfully, we are no longer driving it!). I have painted scenery using Jacquard Dye-Na-Flow. The medieval maps had primitive pictures; I think that my scenery meets that criterion.

Using an app for iPad called Procreate with an Apple Pencil, I am sketching those locations on a custom size “canvas” 2.5X2.5” that I hope will be small enough for my purpose. With the Möbius map, I had a lot of trouble getting the sketches scaled down appropriately (I was using a different app, using a canvas the size of the iPad, and reducing the pictures to about 1.25X1.25”.). From the trials I’ve done, the size looks more or less on; what is not right is the weight of the lines for the sketches. Procreate uses layers so that I can draw over the lines on a different layer and not have to start all over. (Whew.).

Goals for the week (may be ambitious considering the havoc of a home reno going on here as well as gorgeous weather)

– Finish the sketches for the map.

– Start trials of how to create musical notes about 1” tall. Anybody out there ever done this? There was a quilt in Burlington for the recent SAQA show where the music must have been silk screened. I would think about appliqué, either on top or reverse.

– Keep looking for a place to make thermofax screens.

How Have Others Made Textile Maps?

There are a lot of textile maps on the web.  I have collected quite a few on a Pinterest page ( and tried to categorize them according to major technique:

  • Non-textile—collage of old maps to make pictures (Matt Cusick) and Rebecca Doyle (“Friends of the Coves, London, ON”)
  • Embroidered/cross stitch— ?Ruben Marroquin map of Brooklyn (Large hand embroidered stitches on ?counted cross canvas) ; Jill Spurgin (embroidery as architecture) ; A bobbins tale “Memory Map of a Route in my Hometown, St. Albans”; ?Famille Summerbelle Map of France (looks like crewel); Bettina Matzkuhn “Yours/Mine”; Jaynie Himsl “The Surveyor’s Nightmare”; Kate Tarling “Queen Square, Bristol (machine embroidery; like the way the trees are done; like irregularity of edge); “The Battle of Evesham 1265”; Paula Kovarik “River” (machine embroidered to look like topographic map); Mary Bryning “Ullswater”
  • Pieced —Timna Tarr “South Hadley Falls, MA”(see her blog about how to do bias on maps, July 30 2014); Shizuko Ozaki (very colorful); Catherine Jarett  “Gotham Transit Authority (looks like fine strips that are pieced with digital effect); Leah Evans “Set River: Lost Boat” (abstracted); Gloria S. Daly “Polvs Articvs”; Marika Pineda “The King’s Wardrobe Was Here”; Alicia Merrett “Map Fragment #112—Good Earth
  • Multimedia— Bettina Matzkuhn “Yours/Mine”; Silvia Muxxarelli “Love in the City Art Map” (map with separate skyline; similar to Valerie Godwin); Valerie Godwin  “Cartographic Art Quilt” and “City Grid IV”;  Ayn Hanna “LineScape #8”; Anna Slawinska “Warszawa” (she used oil paint sticks to get color variation; love the irregular shape); Ree Nancarrow “Glacial Run-off” (there are subtle quilted lines that suggest map lines on what is essentially a landscape quilt)
  • Applique— Linda Gass “In Transition” (quilting lines are critical);  Richard Rowley “Bird’s Eye View of Chicago World’s Fair” (love the scalloped border); Chris Staver “Time Zones”; Catherine Jarett “Gotham Transit Authority;  Kathleen Hughes “To Explore Strange, New Worlds” (beading, imaginary place); Nigel Peake (hand embroidered) ; “Riverside Settlement”
  • Abstract—Linden Lancaster “Escape Plan; Alicia Merrett; Jacqie Himple; Leah Evans;  Maureen O’Doogan “Marriage Map”; Charlotte Ziebarth “Wrinkles, Lines and Scars” (looks like heavy machine embroidery)
  • Collaged— Ellen Lindner
  • Whole cloth—Anna Slawninha (not square); Linda Gass “Geography of Hope”;  Maureen O”Doogan “Map of the Soul”( interesting border/edging; machine embroidery); Paula Jo Griffith “Somewhere Between Science and Fantasy” (has appearance of printed map, maybe because of gray and black thread); Australian Aboriginal People made of lines and dots (two of my favorite things)
  • Landscapes—Valerie Godwin; Culture Quitek “Tatra Mountains of Slovaki);  Ree Nancarrow “Glacial Run-off” (there are subtle quilted lines that suggest map lines on what is essentially a landscape quilt)

Goals for this week: 

  1. Draw pictures for strip map for route to SC.
  2. Find a place to do thermofaxes of Charleston drawings to use in a map. 

A Broader View

I have tended to think of maps in a very narrow way: street and road maps, geopolitical maps, topographic maps, red/blue state maps (I am American too).    But consider this definition of maps:

“graphic representations that facilitate a spatial understanding of things, concepts, conditions, processes.”  (Brian Hurley, 1987)

That pretty much opens things up, doesn’t it?  Just take the idea of processes:   Exchange of parts across borders during the manufacturing process (think cars), the network of transmission through social media, transportation networks (which may not be to scale—think Toronto Transit maps), location of polling stations.  Note that many of these maps would show a virtual rather than substantive map.  Then there are conditions:  maps constructed of dots representing homes with internet access or homes with jack-o-lanterns at Halloween, maps representing per capita wealth (thus shrinking Africa and expanding North America), hurricane paths (on my mind this week), refugee pathways.   

One common application of mapping concepts is mind-mapping.  I have been working on that for maps, and not having a particularly productive time of it. 

Last week I met my goal, drafting seven map ideas (yeah!).  Here’s one.

“Close to Home”


Goals for this week:

  1.   Summarize characteristics of maps found on Pinterest

2.  Draft at least 3 more map ideas.

Connecting in the Tech Age

I have been in a household of blogs for a couple of years now—my husband has two!  But why me, why now? It is about community.  The Canadian Embroiderers’ Guild, London (ON) has consented to let me try taking a course long distance.  While we may try Skype or FaceTime, those could really get in the teachers’ way, so I thought I’d try a blog as a way of participating.  It could help me clarify my thinking and get substantive, constructive ideas from my classmates, and maybe others. The course is about maps.  It happens that I have already done some maps:  A satire of the London, UK tube map, a walking tour of downtown Charleston, SC, and a map about flooding in peninsular Charleston.   Before doing those last two, I came across a coffee table book at Indigo called “Map: Exploring the World” which was fascinating.    Paired on opposite pages, were maps with similar approaches but often separated in the making by centuries.   An exhibition at the Toronto Reference Library featured a number of those maps.   One idea that came to me was prompted by display of a medieval strip map.   I was just knitting an infinity scarf just to figure out how to do it; an infinity scarf is a mobius loop, technically with only one side (if you put your finger on the scarf and slide it along, you will eventually come back to the starting point without lifting your finger).  So I combined the idea of the strip map with the mobius to create a circular walking route (see below “Charleston Highlights”).   (Which got me into urban sketching, but that is for another day.)
What shape are maps?  Often they have been written or printed on paper or skins and are roughly rectangular.   Strip maps are long rectangular ribbons which can be folded; a modern day example is a printout of directions from Google Maps.   Or the ribbons can be connected after twisting one end to make a mobius loop!  There are also spherical maps—globes (felter alert!).  And irregular shapes, for example, a world projection often printed on rectangular surfaces.  Anyone want to try making a map on a glove (knowing something like the back of your hand?)? Goals for this week:
  1.   Draw at least once idea for a map every day.
  2.   Continue to get blog organized.