world atlas

My atlas is a bit out of date. For instance, should one wish to look at a map of Kyrgyzstan*, one finds that Kyrgyzstan isn’t there — just the Kyrgyz SSR. And apparently it isn’t necessary to mark the boundaries of SSRs very clearly, since — presumably — they are all part of the happy Soviet family. I’ve been meaning to buy a new atlas for some time, but it is difficult to know when exactly to make the purchase since there will always be another revolution or an independence referendum along in a minute.

Although the out-datedness of my atlas means that I need to get most of my political geography information online, I still like the book itself. Mine is only a modest atlas, but it has lots of nice Stuff at the beginning: stuff about geology, stuff about the oceans and so on. And this is the second reason why I took it down from the bookshelf this weekend. I’ve been thinking about lava and I wanted to look at some pictures. (By the way, if you google “lava flow” then you get some amazing images.)

I wanted to look at lava because I am thinking about weaving some. This forthcoming exhibition is seeking

artworks that consider the ‘elements’ within the environment and landscape from a geological perspective

where ‘elements’ can be defined in several different ways. Since I live on a plug of volcanic rock, and look out across the river at an ancient lava flow, my thoughts turned to the elements of earth and fire and the volcanic activity which landscaped this part of Scotland. It’s deadly and dangerous, but it is also incredibly beautiful and helps to keep the earth alive.

So I’m thinking of weaving something like this,

possibly with some stainless steel in the weft to give it shape. And I am thinking that the black should be wool so I can shrink it up a bit. Sampling is called for. It may well turn out a complete disaster, but I am rather enjoying the uncertainty.

*If you want to know why I was looking up Kyrgyzstan, then you’ll have to buy a copy of the autumn Journal in August.

world atlas” was posted by Cally on 30 May 2011 at

Creative Commons License

12 Responses

  1. Ana
    | Reply

    Now you’re talking some serious fire colors! My very favorites.
    your friend the Fiery Sagittarian

  2. Evelyn
    | Reply

    Very lava-ish and hot! what weave structure? a great sense of flow from one side to the other.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      good old echo weave still! don’t seem to need anything else at the moment.

  3. Meg in Nelson
    | Reply

    And don’t discard the old atlas. I really wished I had saved mine. I’m a map freak and have been buying atlases almost every decade, and wished I had the presence of mind to save them all – including the NZ road maps. Especially when roads I used to know disappear.

  4. Julia
    | Reply

    I LOVE the lava! So. Much. Orange! Wondering if you could shape the piece into a flow-y form with the stainless steel?

    • Cally
      | Reply

      I’m hoping that’ll work. The yarn is silk and stainless steel and I have no idea how much shaping it will take – or hold – but that’s an excellent reason for trying it, n’est-ce pas?

  5. Trapunto
    | Reply


  6. marion
    | Reply

    This does look like lava. I think it’s a wonderful idea.

  7. Kerstin
    | Reply

    or… let the black threads be wool, and make them shrink?!?

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Yes, that’s my plan – to shrink up the wool and then use the stainless steel to shape the flow. It’s yet to be tested in practice of course!

  8. Margreet
    | Reply

    What an exiting project. Looking forward to seeing more. I like what I see already, and stainless steel or wool added, very interesting to see will happen. You have the right colours for lava. Happy sampling!
    Atlases, I have quite a collection here, old and new. When you buy a new one, it usually is 1 or 2 years behind anyway with changes……

  9. Cally
    | Reply

    Thanks for all the enthusiasm. I’d better get on with it.

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