Solway Walk – Map Art

Sul Waths Crossing the Iapetus Ocean

Following on from my exploration of the Solway I wondered if I could make an object that captured the way it was a real objective place, but was open to a number of subjective impressions.

For a while I have experimented with weaving Ordnance Survey maps, with the grid squares becoming the warp and the weft of the created object. In the past it has been two different maps, but for this I wanted to experiment with two maps of the same place, but shift them so the Solway became kind of extended and ambiguous. Like it is. So I made the object above.

It will never win a Turner Prize but my interest is not in creating ‘Fine Art’, but in using art-making to explore ideas and express experience. What I wanted to express was…

  • Blurring the boundary between England and Scotland.
  • Showing how the Waths crossed this boundary.
  • Make something that looked recognisable from a distance but changed before your eyes as you approached it.
  • Make you kind of wonder what it was, a picture, a map, some weaving or needlepoint.
  • Shifting your sense of time. The Iapetus Ocean was the water between the two tectonic plates that mashed together to make the Borders. The Solway is all that is left. I liked it as an archaeological object.
  • To also have bits of it that were from the time it was made. I liked it as a contemporaneous object as well.
  • To work with text and image and object and colour as things to stand in for something else.

Sometime I would like to return to making this as a more aesthetically sophisticated object. But as a starting point, it is a good place to start.

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