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.


Stitching is one of the oldest forms or technologies of textile craft – if we regard technology in its elemental sense as artistry, process, invention or method. This presentation explores the notion of embroidered maps as creations of a cartographic visionary imagination. In terms of the Symposium’s theme promoting new links between traditional textile-based concepts and contemporary digital processes, these cartographic embroideries are viewed as compositions of space-time in which landscapes are rendered as illusions of three dimensions (space) with an implied fourth dimension (time). In these pictorial embroideries, time melds with memory in order to transcend the physical division and apportionment of space/place. Regarding the expanse of narrative, the storehouse of memory, “what the map cuts up, the story cuts across” (Certeau 1988).

The work of two embroiderers, who use maps as devices of visual narration, is compared and contextualized in terms of a biographic and cultural sense of time. In Tiva Trujillo’s meticulously embroidered map of Colorado’s San Luis Valley composed of multiple spatial perspectives, time assumes a biographically narrative role. This is apparent when Ms. Trujillo nostalgically refers to the concept for this piece as originating in an idyllic “Once Upon a Time…” era of her life. Josephine Lobato has created a series of maplike compositions, which combine toponyms marking places with scenes of cultural enactments. Her embroideries use continuous narration as a mode in which all progressive actions occur simultaneously within one frame. Both artists create static cartographic landscapes enlivened by the imagined dimension of time conflating past, present, and future.