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Postcard #2 Navigation Chart

Navigational chart used to teach sailors wave patterns and currents in the oceans around Marshall Islands. Dates from late 19th century.

This postcard was the most popular. The creative work the Fieldworkers did in response to it was varied and beautiful.


Neville created his own Navigation Chart:

"I chose this item because of its beauty and simplicity to function With a complicated problem... Instead of Islands made of land, I chose museums as I view them as Islands of information and history ... My chart starts from the horniman museum and work up to the London museum on the way there is the old medical theatre ...on the east side I chose the design museum and on the west there are the fire brigade , the war and cinema museums ..... I've chose because these museums because they show different aspects of our culture....I remembered that these charts where for a certain radius or trip and want to apply the same rules to my chart ....my chart is for walking distances"



Here is Paulette talking about her fantastic work 'the People Clock'


Joel works at Mulberry Day Centre. He worked with a group of adults with Learning Disabilities using the idea of the Navigation Chart to create a group work painted on silk that depicts a map of Lewisham.

Joel talks about the process and their experience of the project in this video:


Cathy created a beautiful weaving that shows the sea and land and uses cowries exactly like those used on the Navigation Chart. "I didn’t read the back of the cards when I received them because I wanted to be inspired by the actual object".


Joanna looked through Ethnographies written about life in the Marshall Islands in the Horniman library and created a series of multi-media artworks which she bound into a book:

Shaftesbury Clinic

There were some beautiful works done in pastel by people from Shaftesbury Clinic


Sarah chose to make a quilt inspired by the chart.

"I was drawn to the Marshall Islands Navigation Chart because it opened up a whole new way of seeing, bringing to mind untold or overlooked stories. The object is the product of the perspective of people who can 'read' a body of water. The geometry of the chart appealed to me too, and I decided to recreate its pattern in quilt form. Textiles, for me, can look like water; I lay in bed and my duvet looks like a lake.

At the time of submission for the Community Fieldworkers project, the quilt was incomplete; I hope to finish the quilt soon so I can sleep and dream of the sea."


Hayley and her sister created their own chart and photographed it: "The chart enabled sailors to look forward and an­ticipate the obstacles in their path to help them find their way safely. I am struck by how the islands appear so small against the coconut wood con­necting them suggesting the process of getting there is as important as arriving at the island.

In life, people frequently say that your journey is as important as your destination. It makes me think about the decisions we all make and how these affect the journey through our own lives. My sister and I built this navigational chart in the garden to explore some of the decisions we face in our lives and the destinations these might lead to. In the process we thought about the patterns or currents that effect and influence our decisions."