BRIEF: The aim of the eleven artists is to create a textile and mixed-media travelling exhibition. The initial inspiration was the map of the Western Hemisphere embroidered by Elizabeth Cook (c.1800) that shows the voyages of her husband James Cook currently housed at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney. Elizabeth Cook’s map provided a starting point from which the concept of ‘map’ can be understood and interpreted in both concrete and abstract ways. Maps can be about many things; geography, history, geology, personal space, migration, movement, memory, travel, genealogy.

Exhibition Dates

Museum of the Riverina,

Botanic Gardens site, Wagga Wagga: March 15 to April 29, 2012

Shoalhaven City Arts Centre,

12 Berry Street, Nowra: May 31 to July 26, 2012

Launch Saturday, June 2, 12noon to 2pm

McGlade Gallery, ACU Strathfield campus, June 15 - July 6, 2013

Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, 16 Vincent Street, Cessnock, Feb 19 to March 16, 2014

Friday, 24 December 2010

James Cook Journals

His journals and those of Joseph Banks and Sydney Parkinson are recorded on the South Seas web site. They have been arranged side by side so that we can read each man's record of the same day.

Monday, 13 December 2010

True Size of Africa

An article in the New Economist, Nov 2010 explains some of the difficulties with drawing a sphere on a flat piece of paper when trying to compare the size of countries. There are not only distortions caused by the translation of three to two dimensions, but also emotional responses to the bigness/greatness of the countries involved.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Flat earth

I have been struggling to wrestle my globe onto a piece of paper. By Googling "flat world map" I found that many other, much more capable minds than mine have tackled the problem of translating three dimensions into two.

The version that most appealed is Fullers Projection perhaps because of the clever animation. But there are many more including butterfly shaped maps, to unrealistic rectangular maps which have been slightly modified in many ways. It all points to the unreliability of maps!

So here is another site to teach you how to make a flat map out of a round world.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Mapping the Landscape

Over the last quarter century Pippin Drysdale has been refining her forms, her materials and her colour palette to create a unique body of work that is a response to various landscapes. Read more in a article by Ted Snell at HandEye

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Japanese maps

Robin has discovered a wonderful on-line collection of maps of Japan.

The Japanese Historical Map Collection contains about 2,300 early maps of Japan and the World. The collection was acquired by the University of California from the Mitsui family in 1949 and is housed on the Berkeley campus in the East Asian Library.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Embroiderers Guild's maps

On Sunday October 17 we visited the Embroiderers Guild of NSW in Concord.

They have two framed, embroidered maps that were worked within seven years of each other. The older, worked in 1798 is of the counties of England and Wales. It is worked in silk and wool on very closely woven (?) linen cloth. The ink that was used to draw the map and write the names of the counties and their principal towns seems to have contained some kind of bleach.

We thought that the writing was printed until we looked at it with a strong magnifying glass and found that it was finely embroidered in black silk. The counties are outlined in coarser woollen yarn in larger, clumsier stitches. Perhaps it was a joint effort of governess and pupil.

The second map is worked on a more open weave linen cloth. It is a map of Europe with the capital cities noted (although sometimes not positioned accurately.) The countries are outlined with several rows of coloured, cross worked silks. The countries names sometimes have a larger first letter with colour added to the black silk. These are generally 2 over 2 cross stitches but the smaller wording is worked in one over one.

Some of the names of the countries were a surprise: like Candia for Cyprus.

Friday, 1 October 2010

The west and the map of the world

The ABC's Artworks broadcast a feature about maps and the politics implicit in them. It is available as a podcast and worth listening to.

"Maps haven't always told us where to go. Often they've told us what to think -- about ourselves and about other people. Early maps were powerful documents not because they were accurate -- mostly they weren't -- but because they reflected the politics and ideologies of the world of the map-maker."

Saturday, 11 September 2010


Is a town that remembers Cpt Cook every year in June when the Endeavour was repaired there.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

While looking for Elizabeth Cook's will which is supposed to be downloadable from the State Library's website, I came across an article about the embroidered waistcoat on page 7 of their magazine, SL of August 2009.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Annette found a link that shows how this waistcoat front could be made up. It also demonstrates how plain Cpt Cook's waistcoat was to be.

Our guide of the Mitchell Library is a self confessed "Cook tragic." He invited us to join him at a meeting of the Captain Cook Society that will meet at the library Thursday, August 19, 2010 for a discussion about the eight days the Endeavor spent in Botany Bay.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Mitchell Library visit

We were given the delux, 30 minute tour of the library before our meeting with the curator. Very interesting and well worthwhile a more leisurely repeat tour, one day.

We were shown an embroidery of "the world" done by Janet Berry. It is similar to the one, purportedly by Elizabeth Cook at the Maritime Museum. But is done on printed silk satin. So the embroidery is covering some lines and the floral wreath outside the map. It, like the "E. Cook" had several tracts and tracks across the oceans by various explorers.

The waistcoat is done by a different hand than the embroidery at the Maritime Museum. Our opinion is that a professional embroiderer did it. The embroidery is complete. The cloth just needs to be made up. For the time it is a discrete waistcoat, suitable for a middle aged sailor without aristrocratic pretensions.

The stain is ink, they think. They believe that it was spilled on the cloth sometime after it came into their collection.

The tapa cloth is fine, but not as fine as silk satin so it must have been a challenge for the embroiderer to achieve such beautifully fine, even stitches. The cloth is beige and there is an underlayer of linen to support the embroidery. We couldn't tell if it was tambour work because the stitches were so even and tiny.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Thursday, 27 May 2010

My place post cards

In order to get our creative juices flowing we will create postcard sized works that reflect "our place."

Prue wove a silk, knotted pile image of the view from her house.

Here is the view of the back of the weaving (not the back of the view.)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Broussonetia papyrfera

The Paper Mulberry
"Tough fibrous bark can be soaked and beaten into a useful fabric which has functioned as paper, cloth, or even shoe leather. It can be oiled to waterproof it, pulped to soften it, dyed to colour it. . . . It was tapa."
Pierre Marie Broussonet
18th century professor of botany

Anticipating our visit to the State Library

The State Library of NSW is currently running an exhibition called 100. ONE hundred is a major exhibition at the Mitchell Library, from 9 March to 16 June, 2010, and the centrepiece of their centenary celebrations this year.

The Mitchell Library opened its doors on 9 March, 1910. During 2010 they will celebrate one hundred years of collecting, collections and service to the people of NSW and Australia.
They have a fascinating web site and an interesting e-zine to subscribe to.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Embroidered map samplers

In Making Samplers, ISBN 0864385994, 1993, contributors include Jane Greenoff, Brenda Keyes, Jo Verso there is a chapter on Map Samplers:

"For ornament and education
. . . by the 1780's map outlines ready for embroidering were available commercially printed on to fabric. It was usual for embroidered maps to include the decorative embellishments.
. . . silk and satin were particularly popular for embroidered maps which depiced the entire world, either flat or in the round. In some cases the stitchery was confined to the use of black threads.
Flowers decoration: different periods favoured different flowers"

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Maritime Museum visit

On Monday April 12 we went to the Maritime Museum to see their nautical embroideries.

Here is the Museum's information on what we saw with my photos.

00004991 Embroidered map of Captain Cook’s voyage attributed to Elizabeth Cook

Embroidered maps and map samplers developed from in the British Isles in the 1770s. They were popular from the 1770s to the 1840s. The maps could either be hand drawn or commercially printed onto fabric for embroidery. The firm Laurie & Whittle offered such fabric maps for 7 shillings and 6 pence.

From: Tyner, Judith. Geography through Globes in the needle’s eye: embroidered maps eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Map Collector, No.66, 1994.

The ANMM purchased the map at Sotheby’s Painting Sale, 17 November 1988, with Hordern House acting the Museum’s agent.

The catalogue entry for the auction reads ‘A Late 18th Century, early 19th Century Hand Embroidered Map of the Western Hemisphere, which traces Captain Cook’s Voyages of Discovery. Provenance: Tyrrell Collection’.
A note on the back of the original frame read ‘The English Scottish and Australian Bank Limited / made in Great Britain'.

00019057 Sailor’s wool embroidery of a ship of the line and six flags, 19th Century

Three masted ship of the line, surmounted by a crown and flanked by six flags (A Union Jack, a French flag and a Red Ensign on left: A Union Jack, an Italian flag and a Red Ensign on right). Rose, Shamrock and Thistle design below.

Embroidery was a regular spare time activity of sailors in the 19th century, due to its content is it most likely made by a British sailor. The style of the Italian flag dates it to after 1861.

Purchased from a private vendor in 1995, who had purchased it at a garage sale many years before.

00019540 Embroidery sampler worked by Julia Donovan onboard the CARNATIC, 23 January 1879

Purchased in 1990 from Simpson’s Antiques with a collection of employment papers relating to the career of ship stewardess and matron Alice Wadley. The papers date from 1879 to 1887.

Julia Donovan is mentioned in the Queensland Archives as arriving in Rockhampton, Queensland, on board the CARNATIC on 5 February 1879. Her age is listed as 19.

The matron addressed in the sampler is most likely Alice Wadley and the sampler given to her by Julia Donovan at the end of her voyage on the CARNATIC.

The sampler has the alphabet in upper and lower case plus numerals from 1 to 17. Beneath is the address beginning ‘Dearest Matron we must part you / On that strange and distant shore…’. The sampler is signed ‘Worked by Julia Donovan board the Carnatic January 23rd 1879’.

00028956 Embroidered postcard, Australian Commonwealth Military Force, Paris, 1916

Purchased from I.S. Wright in 1995. The postcard depicts the flags of the main allied nations (Britain, France and Imperial Russia) plus the Australian flag and the crest of the Australian Defence Force. Made in France the postcard was sent from a major military base in Britain. The message on the back reads ‘To Dot with Love from Jim, September 27th 1916, Salisbury Plains, England’.

Mapping Textile Landscapes

The Textile Society of America has put the programme for their Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska (Oct. 6-9) on their website

The very first session is : Mapping Textile Landscapes!

The conference starts with one day of tours, then a day and a half of papers (unfortunately they run 4 sessions simultaneously so you have to decide which to go to), then an afternoon of sessions at specific locations, a third day of papers and then a final day of tours. There is a Willa Cather tour for the literary minded.