I'll admit it:
I am a man. And I ask for directions.
There. Now you know my secret.
I suppose when they were handing out the genes for internal navigation systems, I was tardy for registration. Most likely, I got lost on the way and couldn’t find a gas station to get directions.
But my grandfather, Leonard Sanders, had the gene. He was a central Iowa farmer who could tell which direction he was facing blindfolded and in a wind storm. He just knew.
My wife has the gene. She has a sort of mental GPS that allows her to pinpoint the shortest route between any two points in Blue Earth County. Though my years in Mankato outnumber hers 2 to 1, she’s uncannily accurate. Trust me -- I’ve lost the bets.
Shelley Cords-Swason has the gene, too.
A cartographer and former Minnesota State University geography instructor, Cords-Swanson uses her map-making background to create quilt-sized pieces of fiber art.
Though her pieces very rarely depict actual places, her quilts are unmistakably map-like. Contour lines, bar scales and directional arrows appear throughout her work.
Beginning this week, Cords-Swanson will be displaying 26 map quilts -- as well as three furniture sculptures -- at the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center on the Bethany Lutheran College Campus.
Truly, her work has to be viewed to be appreciated. But for those like me who are intimidated by all things navigational, Cords-Swanson offered a few tips for viewing her art:
- View the map quilts from a distance: Notice the colors, Cords-Swanson said, because they are chosen intentionally to catch your eye. But don’t focus on the details yet.
- Then, view the quilt close up: Now, look at the markings and contours. Notice the subtle relief patterns, she said, that develop from working with fibers. They mimic the topographical information conveyed in some maps. Notice, too, the intricate details that may appear insignificant but are crucial to the overall “feel” of the piece.
- Last, view the quilt as a whole: Develop a sense of how the various elements flow together, how the map moves from one location to another and what places your own mind envisions.
As you might imagine, Cords-Swanson has no difficulty reading maps and said she was born with an innate spatial sense. Even so Ñ and maybe she was lying to make me feel better -- she said she still asks for directions.
“I still prefer to read maps over GPS,” she laughed. “But I still ask sometimes.”
I'll admit it:
- Keeping the saddle warm Clothed in a pair of decrepit cowboy boots, dusty blue jeans, a western style shirt, and a 10-gallon hat with a thick mustache resting below the nose, folk musician Pop Wagner is a man who seems to have rode horseback onto stage from the bright eye o
Today Author John Thavis “The Vatican Diaries” Q&A -- 6:30 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 1850 Adams St., Mankato, 345-3444. Blue Earth County Library storytime -- 10:30 a.m., Blue Earth County Library, 100 E. Main St., Mankato, free,
- MSU grad to continue Broadway run in 'Once' The story continues for Claire Wellin, the 2008 musical theatre graduate from the Minnesota State University Department of Theatre & Dance, who appeared on Broadway in April and May in the Tony Award-winning musical “Once.” She has been told that sh
'In Stitches': Bethany theatre costumes on display
'In Stitches' will be on exhibit through May 29 at the Twin Rivers Council for the Arts Gallery.
Fall of faith
I 35W Bridge Survivor Recounts Falling 60 Feet For Lois Welman, plummeting 60 feet during rush hour traffic when Interstate 35W’s Mississippi River Bridge collapsed on Aug. 1, 2007 -- killing 13 people and injuring 144 individuals -- was essentially
- Partner art ST. PETER -- Charlie Putnam and Le Ann Gehring-Ryan don't share a studio. They very seldom paint together and don't really share influences. Yet there are similarities between the artistic couple. For starters, both are teachers. Putnam has taught ar
- Exhibits Arts Center of St. Peter — Paintings by Charlie Putnam and Le Ann Gehring-Ryan, Friday through June 16 at 315 S. Minnesota Ave., St. Peter. Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Blue Earth County Library, M
Links to cancer still mixed for low-calorie, high-protein soy beans
Q: I have heard a lot about how healthy soy foods are for me, and that I should be eating or drinking them, but I am a bit leery because of all the talk about soy and breast cancer. Is soy a good choice, or should I avoid it? A: Soybeans are a widely
- Ain't no sunshine when she's gone MANKATO — There are those people in life whose unyielding kindness and warmth lift up those around them, whose focus is always outward — never on themselves. Lois Jaeger, fine arts director at Bethany Lutheran College, is certainly one of those peopl
Cooking 101: Dana Elliott, chef, to lead Taste of Home Cooking show
MANKATO -- Dana Elliott has given interviews about food all over the country. As a seven-year "seasoned" veteran of the Taste of Home Cooking School -- as the Indianapolis chef expert wittily characterizes herself -- Elliott delivers simple, easy-to-
- More Currents Headlines