Escalante Quadrangle, 27" H x 22" W (framed: 30 x 24)
USGS 7.5 minute topographic map with velvet and silk, pen and stitching

Several years ago I hiked at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah. I wandered through brilliant canyons carved out of an immense and stunning landscape. Escalante Quadrangle is one of my navigational USGS topographic quadrangle maps and is the base for this work. I’ve annotated the paper map using pen, stitching, velvet, silk and transfers to convey Escalante’s science and history, archeology, plant life, soil and rock. It imagines uranium atoms and a pair of copper pit mines in the monument’s topography.

From petrified wood and dinosaur fossils to arches and slot canyons, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
is a trove of geology, archaeology, and history. President Clinton established the Monument in 1996, and in 2017, President Trump shrunk its boundaries by 47 percent. Now fragmented into three Units, Trump’s new boundaries open up hundreds of thousands of acres of previously protected land to mining, drilling, grazing, and increased off-road vehicle use threatening artifacts and fossils that were protected by the monument status. Environmental groups have filed suit but it will probably be years before courts conclusively rule on the question of the legality of cutting up and diminishing the monument.

  © Bonnie Peterson
photo credit: Tom Van Eynde