Caro Higgs – Country – Landscape

Symbolic representation

Inspiration; three holidays in the north of Pakistan when I travelled cross country by jeep and my fascination of maps.

I have chosen to demonstrate the typical landscape with symbolic representation, ie a map. What struck me most about the Hindu-Kush and afterwards the Karakorum mountains was their sheer enormity, one never seemed to be able to get high enough. This section of map, a small part of the Hindu Raj Range is actually slightly outside the Khyber Pakhtunkhura area but I travelled this section twice along the very uneven dirt road marked in red below the line of the river, the Chitral – Gilgit Trade Route, which is the most northerly main route across the north-west of Pakistan and which joins the Karakoram highway in Gilgit. It varies from between 2.44 m to 4.88 m in width (more often the former), in places passing another vehicle was an interesting, if not hair-raising experience. The Gilgit river, which is the main river on the map is also where I assisted our driver to poach for trout with a seine net, they did taste delicious even if they came from privately owned water! I should add that my task was to collect the fish from the bank, to where they had been tossed, and then subsequently to clean them out, most of which was done in a local irrigation ditch which ran along the road side.

The area of the map is around 20 square kilometres, the landscape is arid, stony and unstable for the most part. The contour lines are 500 foot intervals (10 000 feet being around 3030 metres and 16562 feet around 5020 metres), and the closer they are the steeper the land. The lowest and highest points on this section of map are around 3100 metres apart. I have no photos which clearly show the valley and high mountain in one take. The map is not very modern (1962) but I really don’t think that the landscape will have changed much in the intervening years. There is only one real area of woodland/scrub within this area but plenty of scree slopes. The houses are marked and there will be subsistence farming around the homesteads, fruit trees, cereal crops etc but life is hard and a lot of the land is barren. Many of the smaller water courses marked dwindle in the summer months and there are two small glaciers. Afghanistan lies just under 100 kilometres to the north. As I am presenting the landscape I do not think it necessary to add the place names which would create unnecessary clutter.

I have used Egyptian cotton with machine and hand stitch and a very small amount of crayon colour.

  1. Wow, what a great idea, Caro! And so perfectly executed!

  2. What a creative idea. I would love to see this in reality. Well done.

  3. Maryte Collard

    Very interesting idea! Previously I was involved in orienteering sport and my daughter and granddaughters still are active in it, so we have maps all around and know how to read them. I can imagine mountains and valleys. Also was very interesting to read your travel experiences and adventures. Love the perfection of your lines of quilting!

  4. your quilt is very interesting and unusual. I believe you worked hard in planning the maps. well done.

  5. Very interesting to read all the details of your travel adventures ! I am really in awe with the precise realisation of your map ! what an unusual idea to represent your landscape !

  6. studiociboulette

    Beautiful map. I love of the line designs. Nice machine and hand work.

  7. I love your idea of interpreting the landscape theme as a map and reading about your travels. Your work is meticulous and very precise executed as always. Beautiful!

  8. A totally amazing quilt, beautifully and meticulously executed. Loved reading about your travels. Beautiful!

  9. This is really a fabulous idea and I love looking at maps. Your story helps bring to life the image you have created.

  10. joanbrailsford

    I loved the story behind this piece and the map is a wonderful illustration of the hair-raising landscape you describe. I like the simplicity that the limited colour palette gives and the finished piece is beautiful

  11. I too love maps and this is a brilliant idea – a great way to represent your travels.

  12. Your machine and hand quilting is so detailed and precise on this landscape map composition. It must have been a labor of love creating this and remembering your wonderful travels to Pakistan. Well done Caro!

  13. I can imagine the hights and lows of the landscape. Very well done. Love the colour palette.

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