Thursday, October 08, 2015

Embroidered World Map, Part 3

Lots of pictures coming with this week's update! First, a peek at the preliminary design work. Before I sew any coins on, I always sketch the design, and sometimes multiple ideas for each country so I can pick my favorite. This kind of sketching is most fun when the girls and I do it together. Here are Annie's and my sketchbooks, and Laurel's drawing paper. On my page I was trying a number of pictures for China and Spain, and Annie was copying some pictures already on the map. Laurel drew a Chinese house with a rainbow bursting from the roof.

Annie's Mexican sombrero and serape next to the one stitched on the map. I love it!

And here I am, listening to Craftlit and working on the map while my tired baby fights against sleep. I always listen to audiobooks or podcasts while I work at night, whether it's handwork or just dishes, and Craftlit is both. Each podcast episode contains chat about various crafty projects, and then a few chapters of a book with helpful notes from the former English teacher who hosts the show. 

I often find that certain projects become associated in my mind with the book I was listening to while working on it. Just looking at the project will bring back scenes and memories from the story. The baby wrap I wove while pregnant with Eliza is forever associated with The Moonstone, and at least the first part of this map is now linked in my mind with A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. For what it's worth, I like The Moonstone a lot more, but I'm glad I listened to both.

So, here are the five new coins added to the map this week! First up is China, which came from my friend Anna along with a fun letter about her trip to China a few years ago. The girls and I enjoyed reading it and looking through Anna's vacation pictures on Facebook to get ideas for our map. 

We settled on stitching a part of the imperial palace known as The Forbidden City in Beijing. I hope someday we get to visit it in person!

In geography we're finishing our study of Europe, so with that and with Europe filling up, I decided to focus on finishing that continent for now. For Greece we kept things simple, by surrounding the coin with a laurel victor wreath. I thought about a meander design, but went with this one for my own sweet Laurel.

Could Spain be anything other than a charging bull? Well, actually it was close between the bull and a flamenco guitar, but the bull won that contest. I tried giving him a rose between his horns, reminiscent of Ferdinand, but it looked strange so I took it out. I still feel like he needs more color, but the silhouette is effective too.

Sometimes when I'm designing I have something in mind, but I almost always do a few image searches first. For Portugal I was initially thinking of a sailing ship, but when I searched "Portugal national symbol" I discovered the Rooster of Barcelos. I was enchanted! Even though it's a little big for a small country, I had to include it.

And finally, leaving Europe for a bit, our own United States! I picked the 1976 bicentennial drummer boy quarter for the map. The quarter makes the head of the Statue of Liberty, surrounded by celebratory fireworks. Something I (re)learned when stitching the Statue of Liberty is that the seven points of her crown stand for the seven continents of the earth. How appropriate for a map displaying coins American travelers brought back from all over the world!

Zooming out, you can see how the map is filling up! In fact, in some areas I'm having to make hard choices about which countries to include and which are going to get left out. Central America and the Caribbean are very tight, as is western Europe. Currently we have coins from 37 countries, but six of those might not make the map. Those I'm saving for the end, because I'm thinking about sewing those around the corners with some of the designs I loved but couldn't fit on the map. So, we'll have to see.

The next update will include a list of the countries we have, and a (much shorter!) list of the countries I'm still trying to find. Thanks to all of you who have joined in this project, and to everyone else following along the journey. I'm so excited to see our black & white map filling up with color and texture!

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