Thursday, March 29, 2012

Where I've been, Where I'm going?

My family moves house. Not as much as some, but I think more than most. It's part of being in the military. While the Army often asks us where we'd like to go, when it comes down to it, they make the final decision of where my husband is needed. This makes mapping out future plans a bit difficult. But we've been fortunate enough to live in many very interesting places along the way. Where we've been and where we are going has been the focus of my pondering on the Twelve by Twelve map theme.

Usually, I ask myself if there are any textile references related to a given theme or subject I want to pursue. My first thoughts were of maps printed on the silk linings of some WWII era bomber jackets. According to Wikipedia,
Some jackets had a map of the mission area sewn into the lining, which could be used (in theory) for navigation if shot down. Some jackets (famously, those from the China Burma India Theater, and of the Flying Tigers) had a "Blood chit" sewn on the lining or outer back, printed on cloth, which promised certain rewards to civilians who aided a downed airman.
I liked that a map could signify the future, or a road out of danger. I wrote in my sketchbook that perhaps I could embroider on silk, but have it be a map of an inner journey. What do I want? Where do I want to go? Dead ends? Dangerous or unknown places? Rewarding places?

Then I got to thinking that all of that might be a bit obtuse, and considered souvenir state tea towels like these from the Sundance catalog. If nothing else the size and proportions are much closer to our 20x12" vertical format. Conceptually, this idea would be less "escape route," and more "banal life in general." And I'm OK with that.

So, I set about listing things I could incorporate. Thoughts on moving. Places we've lived. Icons of those places. The sense of criss-crossing the globe. Then I started drawing. With Google Maps to help I made drawings of neighborhoods in which we've lived. With tracing paper, I finessed placements.

My next step will be to transfer my drawing to a plain tea towel and get to embroidering. I'm liking where this is going, and it was fun reminiscing where I've been in the process.


Gerrie said...

Great idea!! I love those souvenir towels. So kitschy!

Renate said...

Kristin, I'm very interested in seeing your process for this one. Sounds very interesting

Karen said...

I like where you're going with this Kristin, and thanks for the detail about your process