Posted by: bschutzgruber | January 19, 2018

Back When the World was Flat

Cartography ~ study and practice of making maps
The premise being that by combining science, aesthetics, and technique,
reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.

Before the days of views-from-space, GPS, and navigation apps there were maps. I’ve always found maps fascinating and I was raised with an appreciation of the art and science that goes into making them. Dad had been an Army scout during WWII with an intelligence and reconnaissance platoon, leading combat and reconnaissance patrols into enemy territory.  Here a compass and map were as important to survival as a weapon.  Mom loved road trips and could figure out how to get anywhere. When we were in elementary school she taught the five of us kids (and many a scout troop!) how to read a map and use a compass. History, literature, and humanities classes showed pictures of early maps, told the stories early mapmakers as well as the philosophical, theological, and political debates of taking a 3 dimensional reality (the earth) and translating it into a 2 dimensional drawing (a map). When I look at maps from the earliest (6100 BCE) to now, I am struck with how our ideas of the shape and size of the world have developed and changed.

To illustrate this I decided to leave my comfort zone of creating artwork that has a practical function (garments, baskets, accessories… even my wall pieces can be used as rugs) to create a 3 dimensional piece of art that has no specific external function and submit it to the Michigan League of Handweavers Biennial Fiber Show.

My starting point was the 8 sided basket I learned to make this summer at the AGWSD summer school Soft Basketry course taught by Averil Otiv. [see blog posts for August 2017].

The flat sides combined with a spherical shape was perfect to illustrate the combination of the historical belief that the world was flat and a modern globe. I would use maps as my material – as I did for Cartography Chic Map Hat and Purse [blog post March 2015]

I made a sample using newsprint to experiment with size and weaving a completely enclosed shape.  I cut the strips twice as wide and folded them in half laying out a 14×14 base.



I liked the size but simply folding paper strips in half would not give the over all structure needed to hold the shape. I needed do a sample using a map glued to stronger paper. I chose 140 lb/300gr cold press watercolor paper and used an artist spray adhesive. I cut the strips 3/4 inch/2cm wide, laying out an 8×8 base.  The watercolor paper gave the firm structure I wanted and I used a kabob skewer as the stem to hold my nonagon globe.


Now it was time to weave the final piece using the larger base size.

I used Minwax clear satin polycrylic finish to seal the paper, a kabob skewer set in a 5″ diameter wood base for the stand, a pony bead to hold the nonagon globe in place, and a clear seed bead to cover the tip of skewer.  Final dimensions with stand: 12″ x 12″ x 12″. Now to find a box for transport.

The packing gods smiled on me because I had a box that EXACTLY fit = whew!!  Paper work is filled out and Back When the World was Flat has been delivered.  The jury selection will take place between February 1 and February 4 so fingers crossed!!

The Michigan League of Handweavers 2018 Biennial Fiber Show will be held
February 6 – March 11, 2018
at the Shiawassee Art Center, Owosso, MI





  1. I can’t imagine, Barbara, that you have much to worry about – good luck 😊

    • Thanks! From your thoughts to the juror’s thoughts! 🙂

  2. Really interesting shape–trying to wrap my mind around the nine sides! Good luck with the jury 🙂

    • Thanks Katherine. The shape is not an easy one to photograph so I’m glad the jury involves actually seeing the pieces, not just sending images.

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