The pieces I have submitted for this exhibition – Mapping the future, where are you now?, reflect my ideas relating to maps and mapping from the perspective of a practitioner working with the medium of textiles. In these ‘mapworks’ the textile quite literally becomes the backdrop for the work with old fabric backed Ordnance survey and Bartholomew’s maps becoming a canvas to imprint.
The working methodology involves retrieving, then retracing cartographic information in the map, using a sewing machine as a drawing tool, to stitch over routes. Guiding the needle across the space of the map might involve hovering then dropping the needle to stitch areas – other times, dragging and pushing the needle towards the hardest reaching areas at the centre of the map. As a consequence this creates a range of tensions in the stitch quality that mimic the tension involved in negotiating the space of the map. In addition to this, thread becomes trapped between stitches or trails off the surface of the map creating qualities that might not have been perceived from the onset but which add another dimension or characteristic to the work.
These pieces are intended to be seen in reverse, dismantling or more appropriately unpicking some of the intentions of the original map. For instance, rather then orient, the ‘map’ might disorient the user or viewer. Its purpose or function is subverted so that it literally materialises as a stitched impression of the original map.