Monday, January 15, 2018
My daily art project for this year is maps, and I have finished the first large one that required several days' work. It came about as a prompt from my art book club that never reads books: "myths and legends." I'm not much on myths and legends per se so I thought maybe I could kill two birds with one stone and do a map of a myth.
The obvious choice is the Odyssey, a myth in which the hero spends 20 years going to and fro. Since it's a myth, many of the locations are mythical, although scholars and archaeologists have put considerable research into trying to pin them down. Some of the locations are clear: Troy, where the war occurred is still there (we visited it a while back) as is Ithaca, Odysseus' home. Scylla and Charybdis are on opposite sides of the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily. Ancient Carthage is modern Tripoli.
But other locations are less certain. I looked at several maps and chose the one where Odysseus traveled the farthest west, making it to the coast of Spain, because it would spread the route farther out on the map and fill the entire Mediterranean instead of just making a knot of lines in the eastern part of the sea.
I printed out the maps from Google at a scale that was big enough to work with and small enough to fit on a piece of canvas that was waiting on my work table. This took several sheets of paper, which I pasted together to make a single sheet. Then I cut out along the coastline and used the shore parts of the template to stitch around, carefully with a free-motion foot. I cut out the larger islands from the ocean and pinned them to the canvas for templates. I marked the 14 stops on the journey with tufts of turquoise thread. Finally I cross-hatched the water in blue, still with the free-motion foot.