Los Angeles-based artist Ellen November has been quilting for 30 years and sewing since she was 10. Recently, we spotted some of her work on the design blog If It’s Hip, It’s Here: a collection of graphic quilts inspired by the Thomas Guides of Los Angeles, and the history of the region. The lines and symbols of her recreated Thomas Guide maps form a natural, flowing pattern, over which November stitches images from photos she has taken in L.A., along with historical drawings and representations of local landmarks.
Her quilts are collages of references, both contemporary and reminiscent of a time before smartphones. “I have always loved maps,” she tells Co.Design. “They are graphic representations unto themselves. With today’s GPS systems, it seems that paper maps have become a thing of the past.” The Thomas Guides bring the artist back to a time when the world couldn’t be so easily plotted out. “The Thomas Guide maps used to be a necessity for people living in Los Angeles, since it is so sprawling,” she says. “Each page of the Thomas Guide references one particular area. Although it is finite, there is a tremendous amount of detail in each map.”