Four-in-Art · Quilts

Four-in-Art: Maps

The Four-in-Art group has chosen Urban as our overarching theme for this next year of quilts.  We will reveal quilts on the first of November in 2013, and February, May and August of 2014.

Our challenge for November 2013 is Maps, so it was with great interest that I viewed the exhibit sponsored by Quilts on the Wall, hanging at the Long Beach Quilt Show.  Their theme was also “maps.”


Uncharted, by Catherine Baltgalvis
Based on an antique chart with traditional compass symbols

Maps 12_Wintemute

El Camino Real, by Eileen Wintemute
Views of the early California Missions, found by traveling “The Royal Road”


A La Carte, by Shirley Wright
A garden plan for Vaux-Le-Viconte, a great chateau in France, built in the late 1650s

Some map quilts might be literal, as in the renditions above, from a garden to a quilt paying homage to traditional compass symbols.


Gone, by Laura Bisagna
An aerial map of her street, showing the houses claimed by wildfires

Other map quilts might show traditional maps, like the one above, but reveal pieces of the heart, like when Bisagna was evacuated from her home during a run of California wildfires.  She searched aerial photos, trying to discover any news about her house.  And through one of these photos, she realized that her “house was indeed gone,” as she wrote in her artist’s statement.


Tour de Apple Valley, by Carolyn Villars depicts a 50-mile race completed by her daughter-in-law, the map in the background showing the route taken.


Linda Anderson created this exquisite map of the “Mother Road,” or Route 66 in her quilt One Man’s Dream.  While I couldn’t discover from her statement whether or not her husband had actually traveled the road, I think the bas relief of the white quilting is effective not only as a map, but also as a background for the motorcycling figure.


“This quilt (Ice Core) was inspired by ice cores that are used to map climate change” wrote Annette Guerrero, the maker.


I loved the secondary layer of quilting over the color bands.


Body Map in Honor of  DaVinci’s Vetruvian Man, by Linda Friedman, pays homage to the classic map of the human form by Leonardo Da Vinci.


I loved this rendition by Patricia Charity of the romantic era of travel, of steamships and steam trains and great adventures.  She titled it It’s the Journey, for in those days, getting from point A to point B was a huge part of travel.


Karen Markley wanted to make a map of subterranean tunnels, such as those that contain subways, water and electrical lines, in her quilt titled Tunnels. This quilt is less representative and more evocative of what a person might find under their feet.


Beth Shibley’s Finding North is a rendition of a “modern compass,” and includes bits of maps that her husband used while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.


taking the back roads, by Joanell Connolly was so interesting to look at.  While you might decide that the crosses imitate a vast cemetery or that the white circular shapes might represent trees as if drawn by an architect, Connolly gives no indication of what her map might represent, only saying “when life gives you a choice. . .”


How many times have I peered out of an airplane window, snapping pictures of irrigation circles with my phone?  This aerial photograph by Tom Lamb, inspired Carol Nilsen to create Layered Marks From the Sky, a map of a runway and taxiway at nearby John Wayne Airport in Southern California.  But it’s not just the landscape she’s mapped in her quilt, but “the routes of a millions of people aboard thousands of aircraft.”


Last three map quilts.

Somewhere Between Science and Fantasy, a quilt by Jo Griffith had a chifffon overlayer on a drawn, or printed, background.  Two closeups are below.




Bit Map, by David Charity.  All the puns you need.  Close up below.


Maps7_TabarGaits of Lake Hodges, by Mary Tabar

Not only is this a map of a lake, but also the “gaits” of the critters who frequent there.


I’ll leave you with Tabar’s thoughts:
“Every trail starts with a map.  A map helps us navigate our desires.”

I look forward to our group’s challenge quilt, coming this November.

8 thoughts on “Four-in-Art: Maps

  1. What a wonderful year this will be! I immediately thought of all those Mariner’s Compass blocks I’ve made! I love ‘taking the back roads’ for its simplicity though! And “Gone” with its rogue red square! Looking forward to seeing the interpretations of these!

  2. Thanks for sharing these Elizabeth. You’ve provided us all with plenty of inspiration on the various ways the idea of “maps” can be interpreted. A great way to start off my journey with your group!

  3. Thanks for sharing these. I’m super excited about this one. I even know what I’m doing, already. Have to make long term plans around here to get things done ;0
    BTW, did we decide on a size limit?

  4. Thank you for sharing these quilts. I have been thinking of all types of things I could design and how I would execute each of them. I have had some similar thoughts shown here, but with my own twist on them. Can’t wait to get started with the fabrics and media.

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