01 Locator Map and Terrain Squares

Dimensions: 7’ x 15’ (Map); 24” x 24” (Squares)

Materials: Graphite on Tyvek (Map); organic cotton, hemp and Tencel (Squares)

Date: 2010

Installation view of my hand-drawn Locator Map of Nebraska (95 sections stitched together) and seven quilted relief Terrain Squares showing the physical terrain of Nebraska at selected locations. The scale of the Locator Map is 1 inch = 2.75 miles. I wanted to stitch the physical topography of Nebraska but I needed to know what I was stitching and where it was located. I wanted to see all of Nebraska’s towns in relation to one another, and because the map I needed was larger than any I could buy I decided to make my own.

02 Locator Map

Dimensions: 7' x 15'

Materials: Graphite on Tyvek; custom wooden wall mounts

Date: 2010

I used topographic software to divide Nebraska into a “Liz Grid” of 95 sections, 33 miles square. I printed each section at 4” square and then drew every city, town, park, railroad, river and creek on 12” Tyvek squares using graphite pencils. At each end of the state, trapezoidal sections (identified with an “A”) reflect the curvature of the earth.

03 Locator Map (detail Section 035)

Dimensions: 12” x 12”

Materials: Graphite on Tyvek

Date: 2010

I drew with graphite because of its soft grays and also because it has the same root—graphein or “to write”—as the word “cartography.” I chose Tyvek, a non-woven fabric, because of its industrial associations and also because it recalls the silk of ancient Chinese maps. The 95 section numbers are blind-stamped and also embroidered in Braille. A stamped graphic shows the location of a quilted Terrain Square.

04 Terrain Squares with Locator Map

Dimensions: 4' x 8’ x 1” (connected squares); squares are 24” x 24”

Materials: Organic cotton, hemp and Tencel; machine embroidery and hand-stenciling

Date:

Seven Terrain Squares in installation. The Terrain Squares represent the physical terrain of selected locations at a larger scale (1” = 596) than the Locator Map. I use topographic software to be able to see the terrain at this scale.

05 Terrain Squares

Dimensions: 4' x 8’ x 1” (connected squares); squares are 24” x 24”

Materials: Organic cotton, hemp and Tencel; machine embroidery and hand-stenciling

Date: 2010

I translate the physical terrain using free motion stitching and a type of padded relief known as trapunto. I am using, but extending, the conventions of quilting and embroidery.

06 Terrain Squares (detail, buttons and tabs)

Dimensions: Tabs are 1.5” x 3.75” and are reversible

Materials: 40 buttons and 20 tabs per Terrain Square

Date: 2010

The Terrain Squares fasten together in any order with a system of buttons and tabs which reference the grid marks of the hand-drawn Locator Map. These tabs and buttons, which are decorative as well as functional, recall the domestic uses of quilting and embroidery and contrast with the abstract language of the map. Squares can be hung from the ceiling allowing access to both sides, and I invite the viewer to touch this physical terrain.

07 Section 011 Harrison

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date: 2010

At the larger scale of the Terrain Squares, boundaries are lost and only topography remains, with heights and depths expressed as contour lines and padded relief forms. The only color on the front is the blue of the rivers, lakes and creeks.

08 Section 011 Harrison (back)

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date: 2010

The back of each Terrain Square contains a hand-stenciled 24” fragment of my 8’ x 8’ graphic of Nebraska grasses, drawn much much [repeated word] larger than life size. The lakes and rivers, blue on the front of the Terrain Square, appear as white “ghost lakes” and ghost rivers” on the back and combine with the white stenciled “ghost grasses” in unexpected ways. A numbering system references which one of the sixteen squares of the grasses graphic is stenciled onto the back of each Terrain Square.

09 Section 019 Valentine NWR

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date: 2010

I stitch the Terrain Squares with the same vocabulary I use when drawing: contour lines, eccentric hatching and a sort of scumbling—decorative, but not too decorative—for the lakes and rivers. My stitched lines meander, losing course and then regaining it. They carve through the height of the quilted stuffing, containing and bounding it. Lakes and their surrounding land are subdued through hatching. When I stitch the blue water, the only patches of color in the squares, I imagine the actions of the wind on its surface and the effects of its currents on what lies underneath.

10 Section 019 Valentine NWR (back)

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date: 2010

The stenciled “ghost grasses” on the backs of the Terrain Squares, filtered through memory and distant from botany, provide a vertical and organic counterpoint to the horizontal geometry of the quilted terrain.

11 Section 055 Grand Island

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date: 2014

12 Section 055 Grand Island (back)

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date: 2014

13 Section 073A Nebraska City

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date:2014

14 Section 073A Nebraska City (back)

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date: 2014

15 Section 084 Benkelman (detail)

Dimensions: 24” x 24”

Materials: Machine embroidery and hand-stenciling on organic cotton, hemp and Tencel

Date: 2010

16 Section 084 Benkelman (back) and Grasses Graphic

Dimensions: 16’ x 16’ (graphic); 24” x 24” (hand-stenciled square)

Materials: Hand-stenciling on organic hemp and Tencel

Date: 2010

My 8’ x 8’ graphic of Nebraska grasses is divided into sixteen 24” squares and each square is stenciled onto the back of one of the Terrain Squares before quilting.

17 Prairie Skin (in progress) (detail, 9 squares)

Dimensions: 11’ x 7’ finished; 12” pieced squares

Materials: Cotton, rice paper, harem cloth; hand and machine embroidery

Date: 2015

A pieced and quilted reversible shelter functioning as map, memory, commentary and shroud.

18 Prairie Skin (in progress) (detail, 8 Squares and pattern)

Dimensions: 11’ x 7’ finished; 12” pieced squares

Materials: Cotton, rice paper, harem cloth; hand and machine embroidery

Date: 2015

Large enough to wrap a human, the quilt will have circular flaps that overlap and tie.

19 Prairie Skin (in progress) (detail, 4 squares with sample of interior lining)

Dimensions: 11’ x 7’ finished; 12” pieced squares

Materials: Cotton, rice paper, harem cloth; hand and machine embroidery

Date: 2015

The inner lining is rice paper sandwiched between quilt batting and translucent cotton harem cloth. The rice paper has tracings of the river system from my Nebraska map squares and the hand-written text contains snippets of my writing and quotes referencing the landscape, memory and loss.

20 Surveys: Process

Dimensions: N/A

Materials: Collage of photograph, video still, topo map

Date: 2011

While drawing the Locator Map, I decided to constrast the abstract information gained by mapping with the sensory experience of being on the ground. I have traveled 9000 miles to date and documented my travels with still images and a dashboard-mounted video camera.

21 99 Ways of Looking at Nebraska: Places and Roads

Dimensions: 4” x 6” cards

Materials: Inkjet printed photographs and topo maps

Date: 2011

Part of the Surveys component of Mapping Nebraska, [add comma] these are collections of images of towns and other places and stills from my videos of Nebraska roads. The topo map for the particular location is printed on the back of each card.

22 The Rigor of the Horizontal (detail, Section 018)

Dimensions: 4" x 8.5” cards

Materials: Inkjet printed photographs and topo maps

Date: 2012

A collection of eleven images from my Surveys, combined with fragments of the topo map for that location. A portion of the hand-drawn Locator map at the same location is printed on the back of each card.

23 Ground Cloths: Section 52, Section 032-011, Section 046 and Section 018

Dimensions: Dimensions variable; custom wooden mounts

Materials: Screen laminated paper on voile and silk with hand and machine embroidery (reversible); custom wooden mounts

Date: 2012

These mixed media textile constructions respond to specific locations, documenting what is unseen, invisible, remembered or imagined.

24 Niobrara Reflection II: The solace of the contour line

Dimensions: 10.75” x 12.25”

Materials: Stitching, foiling and printing on eco-printed silk (reversible)

Date: 2012

The location is the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers.

25 Niobrara Reflection II: The solace of the contour line (back)

Dimensions: 10.75” x 12.25”

Materials: Inkjet transfer of cotton gauze: rice paper with hand-stitching

Date: 2012

The back is rice paper covered with handwritten text and laminated to silk gauze onto which I transferred the topo map for this location.