‘Weirdly Wildly Wonderful’


Collage: map pieces (Caribbean) & stitching on paper

h 35 x w 35 cm 2015

Framing: Floating foamcore mount in white wood box frame with TruView non-reflective glass

This piece is a complete reworking of a series of atlas pages from the 1970s depicting the islands of the Caribbean. The title, ‘Weirdly, wildly, wonderful’ is actually taken from the Caribbean tourist board website. It’s a description of Cuba, “a time-capsule of a vanished Caribbean”, which seems wholly appropriate.

Vibrant turquoise blue paper is pleated and stitched to hold this square.  The sweet shop pastels of multiple islands seem to bob about in a new sea of folds and textures. They’re still beautiful and mystical, with enigmatic place names to set your imagination off on a virtual adventure…

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Jewels in the Sea

There’s a beautiful World Atlas from the 1970s that I found in a church bric-a-brac sale. It’s fascinating how out of date it is, but the pages are printed in gloriously saturated blues and greens. Each page is a joy to look at.

Especially, I thought, the pages that showed islands of the Caribbean – I’ve never been there, though I’d love to go. Deep blues everywhere of course in these maps, as there’s so much sea in the mix, but fantastic pinks and oranges and all sorts on the islands themselves.

Folding the Ocean

In this piece, I set about reorganising them though, as they were scattered over a few pages. Folding and stitching them until they were back together in some new way – like jewels in a precious box. Then, in search of a suitable title, I payed a visit to the official Caribbean tourist board’s website and stumbled upon a phrase that they say describes all their islands – “weirdly, wildly wonderful”.  And I think they really are.

Holding the Space

Looking at the piece in context, it is a grid of sorts. The bold blue square is held firmly with stitching that borders the whole piece. Stitching highlights the verticals, while the ‘random’ arrangement of multi-coloured islands allow your eyes to see the horizontals. The tension between the two hold the grid tightly in place. The vertical pleats give it texture and depth, drawing your eye in close enough to read the place names. And get pleasantly lost in this sea of wonderful islands…

‘Weirdly Wildly Wonderful’ was last modified: December 6th, 2018 by Michelle Rumney

Additional information

Dimensions 35 x 35 cm

Collage: map pieces (Caribbean) & stitching on paper


Floating foamcore mount in white wood box frame with TruView non-reflective glass


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