Monday, August 8, 2011

Mapping the Journey

Ancestral Home
I love a good map.  I think this fascination started as a child when my family took road trips all over New England.  We would pile into the family sedan, my father always driving, and my mother always knitting in the front seat.  A sleeve of peppermint Life Savers would be passed around, in hopes of keeping the three siblings in the back seat quiet, and the trip would begin.  In a short while, the glove compartment would open and the maps would emerge.  I remember being the one who would mark the journey we were taking, always interested in finding the shortest route, the most scenic view, and the tallest mountain.  Then I'd heave a sigh of relief if I could coax the map back into its previous folded shape without creating an outcry from my siblings who would complain if the map encroached on any of their precious space (I always sat in the middle).

Fast forward (ahem) at least forty years, and not much has changed.  My husband always drives.  I am the one sitting in the front seat knitting, and our four children all have love/hate relationships with each other as well as with the maps we pass to the back seat.  Of course, the gps has changed our navigation, but the maps of New England still live in our glove compartment "just in case".
1923 Map of Connecticut

Several years ago I started using vintage maps as the bases of my fabric collages.  I am always on the look out for beautiful maps (whose copyright has expired) for use in my work.  The nest in "Ancestral Home" was built upon an island created from scraps of two maps of Ohio.  Birds perch on the shores of the great lakes in several of my pieces, and many new pieces are in the works.  So far I have always used the original maps, but I'm considering using copies in the future so I can focus my resources on creating more collages instead of searching for the maps.
1911 Map of Rhode Island
This map of Rhode Island is from an old Atlas, and will have an American Bittern on top, as well as reeds and rushes partially hiding the bird.

The map of Connecticut will be the base for a collage of a shore bird searching in the mud for some dinner.

In the next few days, I will be sharing my process of making these two pieces and creating mixed media fiber collage using new and vintage materials.  Join me as I "Map the Journey".


Loralei Walker said...

Oh, what beautiful work - I can't wait to see how you get there!!

My Sweet Prairie said...

Ooh I just love maps too! I have bought myself and my children several, and each has a huge one on their wall. Old atlases too! What a great post!
Monika in Canada

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