historic map prints

Growing up, I nursed a pretty healthy crush on a boy who was majorly into geology. He was always talking about hiking, mountains and rocks, so I took it upon myself to learn about all those things. While all the hard work never really paid off, I did leave that phase of my life with a real love for cartography. I ended up taking a few classes in college and still have a hard time passing up beautiful maps in antique stores. While I’m always hunting for the perfect map for my home (I’m looking for one that covers the southeastern region of West Virginia, where I went to summer camp), I love seeing maps used in artwork and craft projects. I know some people don’t like maps cut up and repurposed, but after coming across so many abused and discarded maps over the years, I’m happy to find any old map get a new life in a happy home.

These prints from Jason at LaFerrera are made from historic maps that pertain to a matching state. I’m partial to the Virginia Red Fox above, but there’s a nice selection to choose from right here. In addition, Jason just finished a Red Crowned Crane print made from maps of Japan. All of the proceeds from this print go toward helping the tsunami/earthquake victims in Japan via the Red Cross. Click here to check out the full selection of prints and shop online ($40–$250 each). xo, grace

Speaking of snakes, did you hear about the escaped cobra at the Bronx Zoo? Crazy.

  1. Brittany says:

    They’re beautiful! I love the red fox and the crane for Japan is so cool!!

  2. Bobbi says:

    Brilliant! True Love! The tail feathers on that crane are just stunning! Thanks, lady.

  3. Bobbi says:

    Brilliant! True love. The tail feathers on that crane are stunning! Thanks, lady.

  4. Catherine says:

    These are beautiful! I love them.

    And on a random note, I had a friend in high school who was obsessed with Camp Alleghany… How funny!

  5. Virginia says:

    I love those, and here’s an online shop with old maps of West Virginia (I have family in WV): http://www.pinebrookmaps.com/servlet/the-2664/antique-map-West-Virginia/Detail

  6. Jo says:

    stunning! I just ordered two cranes for Mother’s Day (for my mom and for me!). thanks!

  7. Pistachio says:

    Wow, I love these. I really like the little fox!

  8. Shanthi says:

    Lovely post. Thanks for sharing

  9. these are amazing! since i live in virginia, i think i will have to buy the virginia fox! thanks for sharing!!!

  10. Ruthanne says:

    beautiful prints. The are so delicate – what a clever idea. I love maps, and his birds are gorgeous. And the Japanese Crane is a treasure. Just ordered 2 prints! Thanks for sharing.

  11. I do enjoy old maps. For an amazing 3D form of art using old maps, check out the most recent Bergdorf Goodman holiday windows in 2010. I wrote about them at http://blog.retrocollage.com/wholly-holiday-assemblage-bergdorf-goodmans-phantasmagorical-window-montages/

  12. Kim says:

    These are so incredibly beautiful. Thank you for sharing!

  13. these are so awesome – love the coastline creating the shadow on the crane!

  14. Clare says:

    I love these — Jason LaFerrera’s work is all digital collage. He doesn’t actually cut up old maps; he scans them and clips them together all on the computer, so the original maps are saved.

    1. grace says:


      oh! i must have missed that, thanks for the update. so there’s no original that’s scanned in to make these?


  15. Laura says:

    Beautiful prints! I think maps by themselves make beautiful art, but this is a great way to recycle old ones! These prints are great, too, because you have to look twice to see what it really is!

    By the way, the Bronx cobra is on Twitter. It’s pretty hilarious…


  16. mia says:

    I went to Camp Alleghany also! Some of the best memories of my life – I was a camper for 7 years and counselor for 2 (1996 – 2003) Go Grays!

  17. Samuel says:

    A definite impulse buy! Totally wonderful.

  18. Clare says:

    @grace – From what I’ve read, there’s no physical collage. He talks a little bit about it here: http://www.neatorama.com/art/2010/06/11/jason-laferrera/

  19. Kristan says:

    Gorgeous! And what a wonderful thing he’s doing for Japan. I think the crane is my favorite anyway.

  20. Surya says:

    Absolutely love these!

  21. Ray says:

    I use a compass and a watch
    Thought you use GPS.

  22. Courtney says:

    I LOVE these! My husband is a big map geek so I have already bookmarked these for Christmas! Thanks for posting!

  23. Rachel M. says:

    Gorgeous! I don’t mind it when old maps are cut up. We should reuse things that were on the way to the trash bin! This is a good application, I think. :)

  24. caroline says:

    amazing. I love maps and foxes so that first image just hit the spot. checking out the shop now…

  25. refreshing to see such unusual illustrations!

  26. Barb Pagani says:

    I have added this to my blog.
    What a great idea. I have tons of maps that I think I will scan for collage….thanks for the inspiration.

  27. Dennis says:

    These are great! Love the fox!

  28. youngleslie says:

    Grace… I LIVE in southeastern WV, near Lewisburg — recently (FEB’11) voted Coolest Small Town in America by Budget Mag readers. Where did you go to camp? I’ve been following Design*Sponge for years. You can write me directly, this name on MobileMe~:0), but I’ll check back here too.

    Map critters are just lovely!

    1. grace says:

      hi youngleslie

      i went to camp allegheny :)


  29. Jo says:

    I just received my two crane prints. They are even more beautiful in person, if that’s the right term. Thanks again for the link.


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