I feel very privileged to have been accepted into the Four in Art on-line group just this past month. I am taking this membership quite responsibly.
The theme for this year is Urban and the challenge for this quarter is Urban Maps.
I have done a great deal of thinking about this topic. How shall I quilt about maps in a 12” square space?
I could do a piece showing a city map with streets and work colors in to show types of land use: buildings, neighborhoods, parks, or all of it.
I could do a piece incorporating words found on city maps using stenciling, paints, stitches and such.
Should I show how a city developed by creating a sheer overlay of a present day map that can lift to reveal a dated map from a century ago?
Should I focus on new technology such as GPS mapping, or what about mass transportation maps?
Maybe I could do an abstract representation of a city map using a cut and slash method of quilt making.
Make a color study of a statistical map indicating population, poverty, etc.
There are so many choices. I must narrow it down to two or three and get working on it, since November 1 will be on me in no time.
In my research, I discovered that from the 14th Century on, mapmakers used a combination of methods to produce a pictorial city map. They included painting, sketching and engraving. I see the making of an art quilt piece today is similar to what mapmakers have been doing for hundreds of years.
I have learned that a pictorial map was intended as a decorative object and communities felt a sense of importance if one was made for them. Maps were most commonly drawn from the perspective of the cartographer, creating a perspective view rather than an aerial view, which did not allow a person to see all there was in the city. Leonardo da Vinci improved on mapmaking by drawing plans of a city layout and building outlines. These maps moved away from pictorial oblique maps toward outline plans. In the 18th Century, balloons tethered above
helped cartographers see and record the layout of streets and roads although the wind posed some problems.
A few books I found helpful were:
Understanding Maps of Our World: Maps and Cities, published by Gareth Stevens Publishing, 2010
The Penguin Historical Atlas of
North America, by Eric Homberger,
1995, Penguin Books
One Planet Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment, published by United Nations Environment Programme, 2005 NOTE: This book is spectacular for the photography. It is an oversized book and very heavy but fascinating.
As I was investigating the topic on the internet, I came across the webpage for Valeria S. Goodwin, who designs cartographic, architectural, and abstract quilts. She written a book Art Quilt Maps: Capture a Sense of Place with Fiber Collage-A Visual Guide that C & T Publishing has just released. It looks like a book I must view!