Tapestries: An Exploration of World Maps

Reprinted from an article directory. I couldn’t resist posting information about maps in history.

Article by: Angela Dawson-Field

People have always been curious about the world around them and the development of maps has echoed this historical fascination. Maps were once considered to be valuable objects and were treasured by their owners and regarded as works of art in their own right. These objects attracted the attention of artists as well as skilled draughtsmen and maps became quite ornate and decorative items, capturing the imagination of those who wondered what lay beyond the horizon.

Early maps tended to reflect what people knew or remembered and were largely topographical in nature. Often, these early pieces depicted myth and lore, combining to create “living maps” that were passed form generation to generation. Formalising the topography into early maps, knowledge became standardised and sowed the foundation of early cartography.

By the Middle Ages cartography had slowed in that accuracy became replaced by religious depiction through maps. Examples of strong belief can be seen in some maps where the Holy Land is shown to be at the centre of the earth. Another example is Europa Regina by Johannes Bucius which shows an early and elongated map, depicting Europe as the Queen of the World.

The Age of Seafaring during the 16th and 17th centuries saw new interest in map making, particularly the British and the Dutch taking to the seas and exploring new lands. At this time maps became increasingly artistic. An East Indies map in tropical colouring with pineapple trees and other exotic flora and fauna, designed to capture the imagination and evoke the scent of spice in the air is a typical example. As the demand for cartographers grew in the 17th century the artistic nature of maps from a purely functional item to a work of art began to evolve.

Maps were often decorated elaborately with sea creatures or mythical characters. Many of these very accomplished draughtsmen created quite unique works of art from map making. Maps designed by Petrus Plancius (1552-1622) or Abraham Ortelius (1528-1598) were frequently found embellished with intricate pictorial content. A successor to Abraham Ortelius was the Dutch cartographer Jan Baptist Vrients (1552-1612) who designed Obis Terrae Compendosia. The world is split into two hemispheres and surrounded by ornate and detailed pictorial decoration. The map brings a perception of how the world looks and a plethora of exotic creatures and landscapes from the far flung shores of the globe.

Another famous example is Nova Totius Terrarum, designed by Henricus Hondius (1597-1622), a Dutch Cartographer. This 17th century map is an ornate depiction of the world and is surrounded by detailed nautical scenes, perhaps reflecting the age and drama of exploration by sea as mythical creatures rise from the ocean and men are seen contemplating their journey.

Antique maps are increasingly popular in the modern home and make elaborate tapestries in home décor. There are a number of ways in which an antique map can add charm and elegance to the home, whether in poster, print or tapestry format and are much appreciated by connoisseurs of good taste.

Copyright © The Tapestry House, all rights reserved.

About the Author: Angela Dawson-Field writes extensively on home
decor and tapestry & textile art. The Tapestry House
http://www.thetapestryhouse.com/products/index.html
http://www.thetapestryhouse.com/

Source: Reprint this free article (318215) by Angela Dawson-Field at Isnare.com Free Articles Directory

Ghost Hunters Burn Historic Mansion

The fire at LeBeau broke out at about 2 a.m. local time Friday, Nov. 21, and the building was almost completely destroyed by the time firefighters arrived. The ghost hunters had been trying to produce a reaction from the spirits they assumed resided there, by doing what TV ghost hunters call “provocation,” essentially making loud noises, yelling taunts at the ghosts and banging on walls. Frustrated that their efforts failed to yield any spirits, the group decided to light a fire. Whether this was intended to smoke the spirits out or simply burn the place down, the resulting flames soon reduced the mansion to ashes and four brick chimneys.While many ghost hunters engage in harmless (and fruitless) fun, as this case shows, there can be a dark, dangerous side to the pursuit. In the wake of popular ghost-hunting TV shows, police across the country have seen a surge in people being arrested, injured and even killed while looking for ghosts.

Source: Ghost Hunters Burn Historic Mansion

plantation

Painting of Lebeau Plantation by Elaine Hodges.

From Wikipedia: LeBeau Plantation

The LeBeau Plantation existed in Arabi, Louisiana. It was built as a private residence by Francois LeBeau in 1854. Francois Barthelemy LeBeau bought the land in 1851 and the demolished the house that was already on the property. Though LeBeau died the year that the plantation home was complete, his widow Sylvanie Fuselier lived in the home until her death in 1879.

Between the 1920s and the 1940s, the LeBeau Plantation was known as the Cardone Hotel.

Examiner: Haunted Lebeau Mansion burned by careless ghost hunters

Nobody had lived in the mansion since the 1980’s and there were no injuries. A piece of history was lost in the Arabi, Louisiana. All that is left behind are the four tall chimneys and a pile of charred lumber.

A mansion that stood strong for over 160 years and even survived hurricane Katrina could not fight off the fire that took her to the ground by the carelessness of these seven men.

Mapping a Human Presence

Original post and photos from Jessica Glasgow (explorer and photographer in Ontario). I like this post from her site and what she wrote about the old houses. I have copied it here to preserve and archive it.

I am constantly fascinated by the amount of character that a home can possess despite its essential bones of wood and concrete. Houses are not living beings, yet there is something about them that maintains a presence or aura. In a small period of time, a home can turn from a capsule for memories and place of from which we map our lives to an empty structure that becomes an arrangement of building materials. What happens after we leave?

In developing this project I hope to convey my personal fascination with the phenomena of abandoned homes and by the virtue of photographing one, map out a human presence that once occupied it. Through mapping it I hope to convey the particular flavour and aura of the house and by means of the contents left within it, begin to tell the viewer a fragmented story of it’s occupants.

Source: jessica glasgow photography: Mapping a Human Presence

Mountain Lion Kittens in Santa Monica Mountains

Researchers Find 2 Mountain Lion Kittens in Santa Monica Mountains.

While researchers are happy that the mountain lions are populating the area, the Sierra Nevada Mountains are located in a highly urbanized area. This means the mountain lions may someday find themselves in highways or developments, which could be problematic.

The Santa Monica National Recreation area, however, is suitable for hunting and setting up dens. With these kittens, the count is up to 24 in the habitat.

I can understand why people keep exotic pets, I’d love to keep a mountain lion kitten if it could stay that way and not eat me out of house and home and probably destroy my home pretty much. In the end, keeping wild animals as pets just doesn’t work. They need to be left to roam, grow and be wild. But, this means we need to give them some space. It doesn’t seem people are too willing to do this. All the pet friendly types can only think about keeping them as pets.

Where the Wild Things Are: A Pagan Celebration

Originally posted to ‘BackWash: Where the Wild Things Are’ newsletter, September, 22, 2003.

Tomorrow is the Autumn Equinox. I should be doing something, celebrating the changing seasons. But I’m not. I’ll be at work from 9:00am till 8:30 at night. By the time I’m done I will be too tired to drive myself home. But, I have to do that so I’ll manage somehow. Times like that I’m so glad it’s the car that does all the work!

Anyway, real life does interfere with how Wiccan or Pagan we would like to be. That’s ok, it’s reality. If I was to skip work and the big meeting after work, that would be living in some unreal imaginary world of my own creation. I have to work to make money to pay for my car, my rent and the clothes I wear while I do all those other things. Now and then I even treat myself to a new book, a fancy coffee or a day of window shopping.

It’s ok to live in the real world. It’s ok to miss a Pagan celebration. It would be nicer to not miss it. But, really as long as I’m alive and still on this planet I’m not missing a thing. As I drive I’ll be looking at the darkened forest I drive through on the way home. I’ll be watching for deer and foxes who sometimes show up along the roadside in the evenings. I’ll be listening to the sounds of the night as I drive with the windows down to let in all that cool night air and the scent of crisp Autumn leaves.

You may not light candles, perform rituals or chant pretty rhymes but that doesn’t mean you’re not celebrating along with the rest of the world. It’s what you have in your heart, mind and soul that matters, even if you only express it to yourself. You don’t have to prove how Pagan you are to anyone but you.

Abandoning Landlines

13% of Canadian households have abandoned landline phone service : Hugh Thompson’s Digital Home.

Wireless phones continue to grow in popularity in Canada. According to Statistic Canada’s Residential telephone service survey, more than three-quarters (78%) of Canadian households had a wireless phone in 2010, up from 74% in 2008.

The December 2010 survey of about 19,000 Canadian households also found that an increasing number of Canadians were abandoning traditional home landline telephone service.

In 2010, 13% of Canadian households reported they used a wireless phone exclusively, up from 8% in 2008.

Haunted or Not?

This  was posted on Facebook as a Halloween thing, something meant to be spooky, creepy, etc. I never see the old houses that way. To me they look sad, lost, a little mysterious and a stepping stone to our history, our identity. I feel bad for the houses when people think they are haunted or creepy. It’s like someone seeing your Grandmother and thinking she is ugly. I guess I do give the houses feelings, even though they are not living things, exactly. People name boats, give them a personality why don’t more houses and cars get names too? What would you name this house, in the picture above? What would you name your own home, whether it’s a house or part of a building that you live in?

The Houses are Dying

Lee-Ann sent me this link, 100 Abandoned Houses. It is heartbreaking to look at them but I looked at all 100, cringing and sighing over some of those beautiful homes being left to fire and eventual death. A house can die I think. It may not be alive in the sense of having blood or opposable thumbs, but it is a creature of sorts. When (if) you look at these houses think of them as a home, a place that used to have a friendly kitchen and bedrooms where children lined their stuffed animals up along the headboard of their bed. These houses aren’t homes but they have lost more than that. One, in particular, just seems to be moaning “I’m hurt.” Where did the people go? I read the about page for the site, that explained some of it.

Maybe knowing Detroit is/ was a big part of the auto industry explains even more. Will this be the future for more of our cities as the big employers buckle under and there are fewer jobs for an increasing population? Could the cities become ghost towns, like out of some science fiction story? It’s a weird feeling to look at these houses and know they are all in a large city, not some out of the way farmhouse in rural Ontario.

Just Empty Space

I think of space when I think of that day. Kind of odd I guess. But space as an element, a thing you can almost reach out and touch, something that you could hear if you listen during a quiet time.

An empty space is mysterious and unknown. That’s likely why we fear it. Around the corner, at the other side of a dark room, the backseat of the car when you know no one is sitting there. Our hitchhiker was like that. Something in the space that you could almost feel but not actually see, smell or touch. Just something sensed enough to give a creepy feeling and start us looking into dark corners expecting to see her there.

Her, was the girl who died, of course. Alone, in the rainstorm, under a bridge, she drowned in her over turned car. I thought it was a sad way to die. Hoping to be found and yet time passing with no help. Could she see the clock on her dashboard, watch the seconds and minutes pass as she died. The water rising but not filling the car quite enough to ease the pressure so she could force open a door and escape. Or was she already gone when she hit the water? Did she never even know she was dying until she was dead?

Did she now wait on the bridge, looking at the world of the living and want to come back, to join us again or just finally get home.

My husband parked the car there, at her bridge. He’d noticed the floral offerings at the side of the road and wanted to take a look. We often made road trips to cemeteries, abandoned farms and houses. He liked to put them in a more gruesome and haunted light. He’s into horror. I’m not a horror fan, not someone who’d stay up after midnight to watch movies about murderers, violence and gore.

He remembered hearing about the accident and her death on the news. We talked about it. I was sad for her. There was nothing left of the car of course, it had all been towed away, put away and dealt with. He wanted to take a better look, maybe find some car part left over or something of hers which had been overlooked. So he picked his way down the weeds and stepped around the muddy shore searching for a souvenir.

I took some photos of her flowers. They were looking pretty weathered and shabby but I was glad her family and friends had given her a memorial, a tribute. Then we got back in the car, thinking of how welcome a hot chocolate would be. The girl was in my mind, as any tragic figure lingers awhile before becoming just a memory and passing thought.

Did he look over his shoulder first or did I? I’m not sure. More likely my husband did, he was driving and had a reason to check the rear view mirror now and then. He didn’t say anything. Just drove on down those wet dirt country roads, splashing through puddles but not laughing about the spray of water as he usually would have. I decided he was feeling a bit somber, as I was myself. When I noticed he was a bit jumpy I laughed and asked if we were being followed, maybe he wanted to play at being secret agents and spies as he sometimes liked to do on drives along quiet roads.

He didn’t answer right away. Then he asked if I could see, or did I feel, anyone in the car, in the backseat. I gave a quick look, humouring him. I was all set to say “Of course not”, but I did catch something out of the corner of my eye. Just something in that space. I turned around in my seat, pushing the seat belt off my neck, for a better look. Nothing. Of course nothing. We hadn’t brought anyone else along, not a dog, not so much as a goldfish.

“No”, I said. I didn’t laugh or make a joke about it though.

We drove farther, closer to the road into town. Each of us would sneak backward looks. I could see him look in the rear view mirror several times on a road where we were the only traffic.

He pulled the mirror down to focus on the back seat. I scrunched down to watch the back from the passenger side mirror. It began to feel really creepy in that car. Something was in that space of nothingness, something we couldn’t see.

Just behind my head I could feel eyes, keeping silent, soundless as the dead, ironically. We hardly dared to breathe ourselves. I wished my husband could find the bravery I lacked and flip on the radio. Surely something as normal and ordinary as the radio could chase away the skin crawling creepiness of whatever lurked in the backseat.

She must have been so cold, dying in that deeply chilled water. How desperate she must be now to find some warmth, something human, to not be alone and quite so dead. If you believe in ghosts surely you could see how she might want to sit in our warm backseat with the heater making the car so toasty warm. Only now I was getting chilled just thinking about heat sucking ghosts sitting just out of sight, right behind me.

Another quick flick of my eyes to the backseat. My imagination pictured her sitting there. Her eyes dark and haunted, bruised looking. Her body so cold, right through, unable to feel warmth. Dripping water. I imagined hearing the little plop, plop, plop of water as it dripped from her cold, dead self. Maybe she would shiver, not knowing that a ghost isn’t alive and wouldn’t need to shiver.

It was a long trip back to town, we didn’t speak again. How can you speak about what isn’t there.

At the coffee shop, back in the living world where the spaces are all filled with artificial light, noise from the living and the smell of bacon and eggs, it was very easy to shake off the creepy feeling and put it down to just imagination. But, the feeling came with us when we got back in the car. I feel it still.

It’s been days since we took that road trip. I’m often alone in our apartment after my husband takes the car to work. Those spaces of time which I used to do laundry, make dinner, wash dishes and vacuum are no longer just the passing of time. My space is captured by something I only feel, see out of the corner of my eye. It’s her I’m sure. I think she is sad, missing the people she knew and the things she liked to do.

Since that day at the bridge I’ve stopped looking in the backseat when I’m in the car. I avoid mirrors especially, they give me a very creepy feeling. When I brush my teeth each morning I look down, avoiding my own eyes and anything that might be in that space behind me. I never take that space for granted any more.

You see, she isn’t the only one there now. I think they followed her to our home. Someday they’ll fill all that space. Taking it all. I hardly dare to take a real breath any more. I never look into corners and I always have the lights on. Someday they will suck out all the space around me. I don’t know what will happen then, when the dead fill the space of the living. My husband thinks I’m crazy so I just don’t talk to him about it any more. But I can see he gets nervous too, sometimes after dark when the apartment is quiet and he gets that creepy sense of something else, something that hitchhiked back into the living world with us and won’t now let us go.


My Halloween story. By me.

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