kristin rohr—mapping her world
By Patricia Belyea
VICTORIA BC Mapmaking combines science and aesthetics to translate reality into a 2D communication. Meet scientist and artist Kristin Rohr who utilizes her rational left brain and creative right brain to produce compelling cartographic quilts.
This Sunday I visited Kristin at her studio, a converted horse stable located at the back of her rural one-acre property, just north of Victoria BC. Kristin’s workspace includes a medium-arm, a 20-year old Bernina 1230 and a classic Featherweight.
A dedicated quilter, Kristin balances her studio time with her consultancy work in deep-sea marine geology. Her approach is to create petite sample pieces for trying out ideas before investing a month or two on a full-size project. Kristin learned this discipline while studying for six years with Gail Harker to attain a Part 1 Certificate in Design and Embroidery from City and Guilds.
Attending workshops led by Nancy Crow, Elin Noble, Martha Ann Cole, Barbara Shelly and others introduced Kristin to quilting and fabric dyeing as serious art forms. More recently a two-day class with architect Valerie Goodwin, who makes cartographic constructions featuring buildings and roads, pushed Kristin forward with her own version of quilted maps.
In the last three years Kristin has developed precise quilted maps of her region that tell stories—salmon fingerlings being released in a nearby creek or a diptych with Before and After quilts showing more than 30 years of development and population growth.
Kristin crafts descriptive quilts that reveal truths about how the world around us is changing. Making bigger pieces and seeking new venues to show her work are next for this thoughtful and accomplished artist.