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ABCD: Mapping

July 23, 2013

As we returned from the Lake District a day earlier than planned, I was able to get to The Dove on July 20th. The theme “Mapping” turned out to be a fertile one and we all agreed that we would like to stay with it for a while.

Jane Paterson

Jane Paterson had made an indigo resist-dyed paper scroll representing ancestral journeys – inspired by the indigo-dyed pleated skirts worn by Miao tribeswomen; their resist-dyed patterns are symbolic of their ancestors’ wanderings after being displaced from their traditional homeland. The clothes we wear are so random and arbitrary, it seems to me, dictated by fashion or by whatever catches our eye in a charity shop.
The sticks at the edge of Jane’s scroll are  tiny clothes-pins made from split bamboo.

Karen Young
Karen Young had dissected and folded a London A-Z map, and made a circular box to house it.

Elaine Knight

Elaine Knight had made a flexagon structure from a leaf-print over which she had drawn with cherry-juice. It looks so much like a city road-map.

Judith Staines had been given a collection of hotel stationery. She made a series of notebooks from them and gave one to each of us. Mine has the Stanley Hotel in Nairobi on the cover, and paper from the Cromwell Hospital in London inside. The binding is a machine-stitched stab-binding.

Judith Staines004

Judith brought some wonderful books she’s recently acquired. These two were published in the 1950s. “Papermaking Fibres” is illustrated with photographs of the various fibres taken through a microscope, and woodcuts by William J Macaulay.

Judith books

She also brought “The Atlas of Experience” by Louise van Swaaij and Jean Klare – the very special travel book that takes you on the long journey to where you are – also Simon Garfield’s “On the Map” and “The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography” by Katherine Harmon. I wanted it. Them. Badly.

Ama content

My contribution was a folding map of Castlerigg stone circle based on the National Trust bronze plaque at the site, which shows the stones in high relief and the surrounding hills in low relief. The structure is one of the family known as Turkish map-folds. Susan Angebranndt of Green Chair Press has generously posted instructions here.

Ama cover

The cover is a panoramic photograph printed on matte photo paper. I made an envelope for it from a page torn from an out-of-date road atlas.

Ama Mapping

After a shared lunch we examined Jane’s Chinese Sewing-kit, and made copies of it from squared paper. She showed us the book “Zhen Xian Bao, a little-known Chinese Folk Art” by Ruth Smith and Gina Corrigan, with illustrations and descriptions of many variations on this theme.

Sewing kit 1

Sewing kit 2

Sewing kit 3

Sewing kit 4

It is a thing of great beauty and ingenuity, but would not hold many of the items we would think necessary in a sewing kit – scissors, thimble, spools of thread. It reminded me of an exhibition of Cabinets of Curiosities I saw recently at the Holburne Museum in Bath.

I have just received a copy of the newly-re-published  “Innovative Bookbinding: Secret Compartments and Hidden Messages” by the late Shereen LaPlantz, author of  “Cover to Cover”, and I notice that it includes instructions for making the Chinese sewing-kit, as well as a number of different flexagons. This book is a treasure-house of imaginative and unusual structures: big thanks to David LaPlantz for the new edition.

ABCD’s next meeting will be in October, after Somerset Art Weeks. We’ll still be mapping.

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