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.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Painted Map

In late 2010, I created this quilt for the Thread Tails and Vapor Trails traveling quilt exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of Naval aviation. Since my husband is a navy pilot and I am an art quilter, of course, I had to enter.

It's titled Orion Odyssey. ("Orion" is the nickname of the P-3 which my husband flew.)
You can see lots more pictures on my blog here.

Below you can see part of the map section of the quilt. You can read about creating that map here.
Creating this quilt was a real struggle. I rearranged, sliced, painted, re-stitched, re-cut, removed, layered and fussed with this quilt way too much. The quilt recently came back to me after more than a year of traveling around the country. I'm glad it have it home -- there are a lot of things I really like about it. (And some I don't.)

The map is one of the things I really like! The gold dots you see in the photo above are actually tiny gold beads that mark all the places Jeff has landed a P-3.

I recently pulled out some of the freezer paper stencils I cut to create the map. After all that work, I couldn't throw the away. Here's Africa.
Here's Europe and Asia. I think North and South America are curled up on the left.
I cut this entire map with an exacto knife. For the quilt, I used the opposite cut-outs which I guess I threw away. I could only find the positive shapes in my stencil files.

I've been thinking about what I'll create for this new map challenge. I'm thinking of cutting more freezer paper stencils. I need to add exacto blades to my shopping list.

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Love New Yorker Maps

I picked up last week's New Yorker and there was another map. The one above is the iconic New Yorker's view of the US which I have always loved. If you google New Yorker cover maps, you can see many of them.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Body Mapping

I've been thinking about maps and body images and came up with a few ideas for our next challenge.  I tried looking up some images to show you on some copyright free sites, but what I want to do is not on any of those sites.  Here's what I found for  brain mapping, which seems more like problem solving.

I tried heart mapping next, and this is what I got, which is really cool, but not what I'm looking for.

Whatever I decide to do, it will be abstract, so I am not worried about copyright infringement, and hopefully it will be a series.