sewn maps

Isle of Wight, 8.5″ x 11″

Jamaica, 8.5″ x 11″

Madagascar, 8.5″ x 11″

Isle of Man, 8.5″ x 11″

Cyprus, 11″ x 17″

Montserrat, 11″ x 17″

Sri Lanka, 11″ x 17″

This is what I’ve been doing — sewing outlines of islands. The smaller-sized ones were my initial attempts, on thinner paper garnered from a rarely-used sketch book, and through the process of trial and error, I’ve migrated to larger-sized, thicker paper. I’m toying with the idea of going even larger than 11 by 17 inches so that I can get more detail, particularly around jagged edges, but I’m rather enjoying the current size at the moment.

I really do love doing this, and poring through an atlas in search of islands is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon (except, of course, with a three-year-old, I don’t literally have an afternoon to kill with an atlas, unfortunately). I’ve been thinking about whether to make any additions, in the way of text or other embellishments or landmarks, but I really like the minimalism of the shapes on a white background. I’m not certain what I’ll do with all these sewn maps, perhaps sell them if the interest is there. For now though, I’m just going to keep looking for wonderfully-shaped islands to sew.


21 responses

  1. I love them!

    They’re so minimalistically pleasing to look at.

    You should do Singapore! (I thought the first one reminded me of it)

    June 3, 2011 at 3:53 am

  2. I thought to do Singapore, but I dislike the straight edges of the reclaimed land. I’m working on Corsica right now… it’s got some crazy edges.

    June 3, 2011 at 3:54 am

  3. The straight edges that I dislike is also the reason I don’t want to do certain countries/states/provinces.

    June 3, 2011 at 4:00 am

  4. these are great!

    what about the outer banks of north carolina? i think that would like interesting, but maybe i’m just biased because i’m from there. :P roanoke island has some interesting intricacies, though…

    June 3, 2011 at 4:30 am

  5. Ah, makes sense.

    However/on the flip side, it’d be an interesting study to do a series of *just* islands with a lot of straight edges.

    June 3, 2011 at 5:11 am

  6. oooh, i love these! i want one!

    June 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm

  7. I could totally send you one! Which would you like?

    June 4, 2011 at 12:25 am

  8. Thanks!

    I’ve actually been thinking about doing bodies of water too. I do like the idea of doing something like the outer banks of North Carolina. Definitely something to add to my list, together with Roanoke Island. Thanks for the suggestions!

    June 4, 2011 at 12:26 am

  9. Hmm, I do like that idea too. Ohhh, so many possible ideas! I was thinking of doing bodies of water as well (eg. lakes, rivers) and someone below suggested I could do outer edges of states, all ideas I do like!

    June 4, 2011 at 12:28 am

  10. sri lanka is beautiful, but they all are, so whichever you don’t mind parting with! i will pay for it!

    June 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

  11. Sri Lanka is my favourite too :) I’ll be more than happy to send it to you. They’re just sitting on a shelf and I have no idea what to do with them at the moment.

    How’s $20 shipped?

    June 5, 2011 at 12:20 am

  12. Great! Can I paypal you? Or do you prefer another method of payment like a check?

    I will put it in a frame and take a photo of it and put it on my blog too :D

    June 5, 2011 at 2:10 am

  13. Aww, I can’t wait to see it in a frame and in your home :)

    Paypal would be great. You can send it to jello_stix(at)

    We’ve got a postal strike happening here right now, so I’m not sure how long it’ll take to get to you. I’ll let you know when I mail it out.

    June 5, 2011 at 2:29 am

  14. Excellent! I will send the money tomorrow when I’m not on my ancient laptop, and hopefully your postal system will please its workers soon, but for their sake, certainly not for mine! Heheh, anyway, whenever you are able to will be fine :) Do you have my address? It is on my facebook profile because I am weird.

    June 5, 2011 at 4:13 am

  15. sent!

    what is $20 american to you anyway? Same as canadian sort of?

    June 6, 2011 at 10:53 pm

  16. Thanks!

    The Bank of Canada tells me it’s about $19.57, so more of less the same. I thought we were at parity, but I guess that was a while ago.

    I have to construct an envelope for the map and then I’ll mail it off later this week!

    June 7, 2011 at 12:47 am

  17. Anonymous


    if you flip the isle of wright upside down, it kind of looks like Singapore! – cheryl

    June 14, 2011 at 1:29 am

  18. Re: singapore!

    So true! It just needs the straight edges of reclaimed land.

    June 14, 2011 at 2:04 am

  19. We’re still in the midst of the postal strike, so I haven’t mailed the map yet. I just wanted to let you know, in case you were wondering what happened to it!

    June 15, 2011 at 1:43 pm

  20. No worries! I know you will send it someday. :)

    June 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

  21. Hey Kristen, just to let you know, I finally mailed it out today. Thanks so much for your patience!!

    June 30, 2011 at 9:31 pm

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