July 18, 2009

On The Street Where You Live: Awesome Map Quilts By Haptic Lab

haptic_ftgreene_quilt.jpg

Fantastic. Haptic Lab's Haptician in Chief is Elizabeth Emily Fischer, who makes Soft Maps, quilts with map patterns stitched onto them:

These heirlooms are meant to be used: wrap your children in them, have a picnic, pull them close during the next Nor'easter. Not only beautiful, these blankets can be used as a mnemonic tool. As your child grows up with a Soft Map, they learn to read their neighborhood and its landmarks in a tactile, easily remembered way.
Yes, I'm sure you will remember every time your kid has a picnic on his handmade, heirloom silk crib blanket, because you will be so freaked out at every grass stain and jam and mayonnaise drip.

How about some softer, inside play options? Soft Maps could be like awesomer, more deluxe version of those vinyl playmats that came with the bucket of Creative Playthings town blocks. A map blanket like the Fort Greene one above could be used to play real estate developer; stitch little green X's on each townhouse he empties, gut renovates, and flips.

If they're too bumpy for play, a Soft Map quilt could still be educational. You could, for example, have a map that shows the back roads in the Hamptons. Or a map of New Canaan with all the architecturally significant modernist houses picked out.

Or you know what, it's an heirloom; why not push the time horizon way back? Create maps or map fragments, then don't tell what they are. The kid has to identify, track, and decode his whole life. The place you take the family vacation in 2019 may or may not be on the blanket, kid. You tell me. It could be something that unfolds in the future, or it could be the key to unraveling some crazy family secret.

It'd be a handstitched equivalent of that family who found out their architect built a mystery puzzle into their Fifth Avenue apartment. Even if you neglect to put a nice prize at the end--like ice cream or a million dollars or something--the kid'll get a sweet book deal out of it.

Haptic Lab | Soft Map (c) Blankets [hapticlab.com via dt reader eric]

5 Comments

The name is Emily Fischer. (Though my brother was going to be named "Elizabeth" if he was born a girl..) Thanks for the post.

d'oh, sorry. clearly I cannot type and listen to the radio at the same time.

hi,
love the soft maps! how do you get the map
outlined onto the fabric? roz

i agree with everything you said.
how much are they?

Roz you use a washable marker, tailors chalk (which can come in pencil form), or transfer paper.

These are beautiful and inspiring.

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