Cross-stitcher hopes to make people think differently with earth science maps

‘Being able to create a way for others to interact with earth science creatively is really important to me.'

A cross-stitcher in the US has turned heads with her earth science maps, which she hopes will help her turn the hobby into a full-time job.

Kara Prior, from Iowa, has degrees in environmental science, but when she was a child her grandmother taught her to cross-stitch.

As a graduate student in her late twenties, she came back to the past-time and began making patterns for herself, including an Iowa landform regions map.

Since then, she has created numerous educational pieces, the patterns for which can be bought by the public, and recently she went viral on Reddit as the result of her creativity, earning almost 40,000 “upvotes”.

Hello! I cross stitch earth science maps and have been told they belong here. Great Lakes Bathymetry is my favorite so far. from MapPorn

“It’s been a bit overwhelming,” Kara told the PA news agency.

“I had to leave my phone in a different room after a few hours to not just be glued to watching upvotes and comments come in. I can struggle with constantly refreshing social media on normal days, so this was a bit much.

“The support and encouragement has been wonderful. There was some excellent ‘nerding out’ about the Great Lakes and a lot of inspiration for other things to turn into cross-stitch maps.”

Four of Kara Prior's bedrock geology creations
(Kara Prior)

The piece that went viral for Kara was entitled “Bathymetry of the Great Lakes”, but she has also created bedrock geology patterns for every state.

The crafter is also working on state watershed patterns – a watershed being an area of land that drains rainfall and snowmelt into streams and rivers – for the US, as well as geology patterns for other countries and provinces.

“I think that earth science maps can be beautiful, and I wanted to spend more time with them by cross-stitching, and to be able to share them more regularly with other people,” said Kara.

Kara Prior creates artworks which also educate on earth science
(Kara Prior)

“Being able to create a way for others to interact with earth science creatively is really important to me.

“Seeing geological or bathymetric maps in cross-stitch can make people think about their landscape differently, but having patterns that they can stitch themselves and spend intimate, literally hands-on time with is really special.

“I know of at least a couple families who used my state geology maps as part of their home-schooling curricula last year, which is such a huge compliment every time I think about it.”

To see more of Kara’s work, you can view her Etsy page at www.etsy.com/shop/blondeboxshell.

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