About this project
We've designed a Renaissance style fantasy map of modern-day Baltimore. We’ll be using a laser to burn the illustrated map onto genuine leather to create an incredible wall hanging.
The leather maps come with loops attached making them ready to hang.
Our first one is hanging up at the Made In Baltimore pop-up store through September at 16 W. North Ave.
In addition to the leather version seen above, we're also making stretched canvas versions. These are made by exposing ultraviolet reactive dye to sunlight through a mask. This is stretched over a wooden frame to produce a unique hanging. Like the natural leather hangings, each one is slightly different.
They will come pre-streched on a wooden frame. The wire across the back makes them easy to hang.
We'll also be sewing the canvas to a backing to create a pillowcase for a throw pillow.
The pillow is removable, and the pillow case is washing machine safe.
We’re using cutting edge manufacturing techniques to produce vintage-looking maps that are a bit different than most things you’re used to seeing. And we're doing it here. Locally. In Baltimore.
Because of the variations in our process, each map is unique.
The leather maps are burned into high quality genuine leather using a 80 watt laser at the Baltimore Node Hackerspace. The burn is precise permanently brands the leather. The computer tells the laser where to move, and burns the map into the hide, producing an antique looking creation. We’re producing these in two sizes, medium and large. The medium size leather map is around 13”x19” The large size will be about 17”x23”. Since it’s a natural product, expect the edges and surface to have some variations, and no two will be alike.
The leather is held down flat to the iron bed of the laser using magnets.
Our canvas dyed prints are made using the power of the sun to expose ultraviolet-reactive dye through a mask. In the time-lapse image below, you can see the cloth darkening as the sun exposes the dye.
The dye is spread thinly across the fabric by hand. We make transparencies of the image of the map and lay it over the cloth out in sunlight. It’s like that old blue photography paper that turned white out in the sun. The sun exposes the dye through the transparency, and creates the print.
Since the dye is hand-painted onto the fabric, this process produces an individually unique piece every time. The canvas maps are muslin attached to canvas, stretched over a wooden frame, and come shipped to you, ready to hang.
Baltimore, we actually like it here. We're proud of our city and a lot of interesting history has happened here. We want to make a cool antique looking map highlighting some of our favorite places around town to share with our family, friends, and you.
If the project is successful, we'll expand to do this for other cities. Todd has ties to Vancouver, San Francisco and Brooklyn, and Cody’s a real world traveler and has lived in many cities including New York, Denver, Richmond, Phoenix, LA, DC, and Sydney.
We’d also love to hear from you as to which city you’d like us to do next.
We've tried to make a map that is both awesome looking and informative; a real conversation piece. We’ve done this by adding add things of modern day, history and lore.
The Old Baltimore Shot Tower and other similar towers seen around Baltimore aren’t smoke stacks as many people think. In the 1800s we used to use these towers to fabricate shot, the small metal beads for shotgun shells, pistols, rifles and even for cannon balls. The shot was created by pouring molten lead through a sieve at the top of the tower and allowed the metal to fall down into a tank of water at the bottom.
Chessie is the legendary sea creature occasionally seen out in the murky waters of the Chesapeake. A fantasy map without some sort of mythical sea creature is incomplete, and a map of Baltimore would be incomplete without her.
The seal we included is the original English arms of Lord Baltimore. It originally had Italian text of Maryland’s motto, “Fatti Maschii Parole Femine”, which literally translates from italian to “Manly deeds, Womanly words”… which we thought was a bit sexist. The official translation that Maryland says it means is “Strong deeds, gentle words.” We decided to translate this official translation back to Italian to create our own version of the motto, “Azioni forti, parole dolci"
These features as well as over two dozen other landmarks will be included in the map. We’ll have a key posted online too to indicate what is what and help guide you around. You might even learn something.
With your support we'll be able to produce postcards, t-shirts, posters, and of course the pillows, and canvas and leather maps. We'll be able to ship these out to you in the coming months and know they'll make great gifts for your friends and relatives.
Todd Blatt is a mechanical engineer, 3D designer and a maker. He works at Tinkerine Studios, the 3d printer manufacturer in Vancouver, and owns Custom 3D Stuff LLC. He’s an active member of the Baltimore Node makerspace, a tournament Go and Foosball player, and loves making movie prop replicas. He also runs WeTheBuilders.com, a crowdsourced 3D printed sculpture project.
Cody Wright is an environment artist at ZeniMax the game design studio that brought you Elder Scrolls Online, his most recent project. He met Todd playing pool at Frasier’s in Hamden, and drives a hand-painted Jurassic Park style Hyundai Tiburon.
We're starting with Baltimore to see how this goes, and if it turns out well we plan to expand to other cities, and have some cool ideas under wraps. Please either back the campaign or share it with others! If we get enough funding to make this project happen, additional proceeds will go into developing everything needed for cities like New York, San Francisco, DC, London, Tokyo, Vancouver, Chicago, who knows!
Risks and challenges
We need sunny days to produce our dyed canvas. The production of these doesn't take long, but if the sun isn't nice to us it's possible that it could hold us up. We've allowed extra time in our reward tiers as a buffer to help us with that. Laser engraving takes some time; nearly an hour per map. We've budgeted time in the coming months to be able to work out of the Baltimore Node Hackerspace and use the laser engraver there.
Postcards and posters are simple and straightforward. We won't have any issues producing them and fulfilling them. Cody used to work at a local t-shirt production facility and has worked out a relationship with them. Todd has already met with a leather supplier and has arranged a deal for a leather purchase.
Todd has run a kickstarter campaign before that was successfully funded and fulfilled on time. Cody has made hundreds of UV reactive dyed canvases before through his company DyeLlama and ships them to customers regularly.
Thanks again for your support and don't forget to share this project with others. The hardest part about running a kickstarter campaign is getting the word out, so that's where we could use your help the most.
Todd and Cody
Charm City Maps
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