November 22, 2017
Arts & Entertainment
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  • Jacki Cockcroft sanded a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood, stained it gray and traced the map on the wood, before hammering in 657 nails. She then proceeded to string the fishing line around the nails.
    Jacki Cockcroft sanded a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood, stained it gray and traced the map on the wood, before hammering in 657 nails. She then proceeded to string the fishing line around the nails.

She Nailed It: Art Teacher Creates 3-D Map Of The Bodkin Peninsula

Sharon Mager
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October 19, 2017

Using 657 nails and approximately one mile of fishing line, Bodkin Elementary School art teacher Jacki Cockcroft created a unique work of art: a 3-D nautical map of the Bodkin peninsula.

Hung from a wall in the school’s media center, the work shines thanks to a gray background and the royal-blue fishing line. Mounted next to the map are a large blue crab and a green turtle, adding a playful touch.

Cockcroft said she was contacted by the school’s principal, Rachel Amstutz, on behalf of the PTA, commissioning her to create a mural over the summer. There were no restrictions or directions. She had free rein. Cockcroft immediately started brainstorming with global studies teacher Melissa Major as the colleagues sought a way to highlight the school’s location.

“A lot of kids live on the water or have water access, so I thought of a nautical map, inspired by string art, but instead using fishing line,” said Cockcroft, who has taught art at Bodkin for nine years.

In addition to giving it a different look and texture, the fishing line would be sturdy enough to last whether the mural would be hung inside or outside, she thought.

She began by printing a nautical map of the Bodkin peninsula, focusing on the northern end of Mountain Road, highlighting Bodkin Creek, including Wharf, Back and Main creeks. She then sanded a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood, stained it gray and traced the map on the wood, before hammering in 657 nails. She then proceeded to string the fishing line around the nails.

“There were only two knots: where I finished and where I started,” she said. “Then I added the coordinates of the school — the global address — and I put a small star of where Bodkin Elementary is.” The white star, near the bottom, is tiny, and Cockcroft said it’s a great way for kids to visualize how small the school is in relation to the rest of the area.

The project took 30 hours. “The hardest part was making sure the fishing line stayed taut,” she said. Keeping the nails level was also a challenge. “I had to go slow,” she said.

The map complete, she took it to Bodkin Elementary. It was unveiled on September 13 and hung in the media center on October 9.

Cockcroft, and each member of the staff, is pleased with the end result. She especially likes how the gray background allows for the blue fishing line color to “pop.” And she likes the sheen. “It’s cool how shiny the fishing line is when light hits it,” she said.

Amstutz is also thrilled with the result. She said she and other leaders want to spruce up the school and thought a mural would be a great addition. When she saw the nautical map, she was pleased that the art also educates children on local geography.

“It helps show the kids what our local area looks like,” Amstutz said.


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