I love maps: the old paper ones and the new online ones (GPS is a godsend if you don't have a sense of direction!). But the old ones are obsolete technology - which on this tile, is half-buried under a digital map. While I was in Turkey, I saw ancient Greek mosaics peeking out from under the edge of 'newer' Roman mosaics. That incredible, literal overlapping of historical layers sang to me, and has influenced my art.
The underlying map here is a digitally printed image of an early mosaic map of Jerusalem (for a textile artist, manipulating images in Photoshop and then being able to print the results on cloth is the most fun you can have that doesn't involve sex or chocolate). A digital map of the same part of the city, also printed on cloth, forms the top layer.
An ancient world map (with Christ's head, hands and feet at the top, bottom and sides) printed on cloth, with added Mapquest icons.
The city of Chester, England, has many maps available online. Some of these maps go far back, showing the original Roman wall. On this tile, I embroidered the oldest section (the part within the wall, seen here as a couched black thread) and ran a heavier white couched cord to show the new roadway, pushing right through history.
The very earliest maps were imprinted onto clay, or carved into stone. To create this ceramic map, I took Mapquest icons, used Photoshop to turn them into black and white images, and had them made up as rubber stamps. So along with my sorry attempts at cuneiform, this map shows where to get information, food and lodging.
Someday, people will find old printer ink cartridges and have no idea what they were used for. They are a part of the technology that I'm attempting to 'fossilize' under cloth. So I took a few of my tiles to Staples, asked for a manager, and showed him what I'm doing. And asked if I could please have some of those empty cartridges that they collect.
It was one of many times when it really helps to be a little old lady. Most people don't even see you (the power of invisibility!) and will happily give you what you want to get rid of you. So I took my bag of cartridges home, sawed them each in half and washed, and washed, and scrubbed all the ink out.
After I had tightly sewn the cloth over them, the black cloth didn't show enough detail. I took a round of wax and lightly rubbed it over the top....and it whitened the edges, just enough.
The earliest writing was impressed into clay tablets. I enjoyed trying to copy some of the cuneiform with embroidery, but then realized that these forms were pressed INTO the clay, not written ON it. So I tried some reverse applique (like the technique used in molas). Not exactly what I wanted, but I do like the stark color contrast. I later developed a complicated reverse embedded lettering technique (which I'll describe in a future blog) which would be great for this. Also, learned that most cuneiform tablets were actually small enough to fit in your hand...somehow, I'd always pictured them as 8.5 x 11
Galgolitic script. It was created by St Cyril in the 9th century, and I found it online! (I don't understand why people watch cat videos when there is such an amazing amount of fascinating information - and images! - to see). I just had to try embroidering the rounded, looping letter forms.
As a child, I struggled with the Palmer Method. My curved letters were often illegible. But Palmer had been developed as an easier form of handwriting - something everyday people could use. Before Palmer, Spencerian Script was the elegant form for handwriting. And before that were various forms of Copperplate. Today, penmanship is no longer being taught in many schools. And handwritten invitations and thank you notes are no longer sent by mail.
Years ago, when I taught art to small children, I explained that SERIFS were like tiny mittens and shoes for your letters. Diacritical marks? fancy jewelry on your ABCs...
Many colonial schoolgirls learned to sew (and to hate sewing) by creating samplers. I would have received low grades for my sloppy cross stitch on this sampler.