Like my Bibliomania tablet, I started this before the Era of Wet Wool.
Here is the shape of the North American Continent. With satellite images, it's possible to see the reality of land mass and surrounding water. Early explorers, and cartographers, had a much tougher job, and made some understandable mistakes and some wild leaps of imagination.
For example, this early French map shows a huge inland sea.
Several early maps show California as a large island.
This one just squashes things together, allowing the Great Lakes to touch Florida.
Early map-makers tried to pin down this big unknowable continent with lines and names. Just draw those territories up to the top!
Or continue the lines straight out to that enormous river - the one that's so big you can't see to the other side. Of course, as these lines were drawn and re-drawn, very little attention was paid to the people already living here, and any territorial assumptions that they might have. The earliest map showing Native Americans that I could find was from 1887:
Yeah, it's impossible to read, but it seems to be showing an area we now label Oklahoma. The one below is from 1909.
In addition to demarcating people out of their land, we linguistically evicted them, writing their names as we saw fit. Recently, there has been a move to find and use the original names, as on this map:
So...for the tablet. I took the shape of the continent, and added as many of the original tribal names as I could fit, and printed it out on cloth:
Hmm: can't find a photo of the whole tablet with just dye. But this one, below, gives you an idea of the dye colors I painted:
The pink lines are the basting threads holding it to the backing material.
I embroidered the names using the same colors as the land, to show the connection between people and place.
And here's where I am today. The names of the tribal nations have all been embroidered, and very much fit into the shape of the continent, just as I envisioned. And I've started over-sewing the colonial-era map lines (the needle with purple thread is still there). I even figured out a nice map border. Just not completely sure how to finish off those lines. Should I extend them over the water to stitched dates? Add more lines (which would be accurate but muddle it visually? Not sure.
Now, at this point in the post, I'm scheduled to show you a finished, properly photographed piece of art. But my art isn't running on schedule. I've printed out 3 new tablets and have them beautifully dye painted (such gorgeous rich colors!) so I can have them ready to carry along and stitch while I'm in Seattle. But - like with the Bibliomania tablet in my last post - getting this finished isn't a priority right now.