Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America.


Mapping is a fundamental way of converting personal knowledge to transmittable knowledge and maps are unique in the way they use space to represent space. Maps are selective in what they choose to represent, seductive in their contours and calligraphic marks and powerful in their ability to locate, describe, demarcate and ground.

I will present a visually rich journey through the work of contemporary artists who use stitching and weaving to map both literal and metaphorical terrains in a textile space. Among the artists we will look at are:
• Linda Gass, whose stitched topographic reliefs are at once descriptive aerial views of a landscape and commentaries on water
resource management in the West;
• Tilleke Schwarz, whose embroidered drawings map a personal and eccentric space which is created by an intuitive meandering;
• Jessica Rankin, who explores mental landscapes with fragments of scientific mappings such as astronomy, physics and genetics in
delicate traceries on organza; and
• Ismini Saminidou, whose woven installation maps the history of the Jerwood Space in London, from its origins as a Victorian school
to its current incarnation as a contemporary arts center.

We will consider how these haptic maps mark (and transcend) borders and boundaries, how they create (and subvert) order, and how repetitive actions of stitching and weaving infuse these maps with a particular intensity, and I will situate my own work, a stitched, drawn and digitally imaged cartography of the (physical and psychological) state where I live, within this vibrant and diverse contemporary practice.