The seasons are changing, and so is our Featured Designer! Jane Crosen, Mapmaker uses our infamous flour sack towels in one of the most unique ways we’ve ever seen! What started out as map research and editing, turned into a series of hand-drawn map illustrations that are now popularly sold printed on postcards, T-shirts, and of course, flour sack towels!
1. Can you give a brief description of what your business is all about, in general?
I produce a line of hand-drawn maps of Maine regions, from Casco Bay to Moosehead to the Downeast Coast, some taking in coastal stretches and others focusing on islands, peninsulas, and lakes.
2. What is the story behind how your business came to be?
While working as in-house editor for DeLorme Publishing, my job included researching special places and reading maps, along with typesetting and labeling. When I moved down east for a job at WoodenBoat magazine, I did custom map illustrations on the side, and gradually began self-publishing my series of hand-drawn maps in the form of posters, postcards, T-shirts, and chef aprons. The latest addition has been flour sack towels, which have proven very popular. My maps, which are finely detailed with calligraphy labels, print beautifully on the ringspun Gourmet towels.
To see all of the maps that are available to be printed on flour sack towels, please visit the Cards page here: Postcards and Notecards
My love of place and exploring the Maine landscape, especially watery places. The style of my artwork emphasizes watersheds and coastlines. I label towns, villages, main roads, and important landscape features, and use decorative symbols to locate scenic spots and access for recreation. I try to make my maps accurate, uncluttered, and timeless.
4. What is your favorite part about your business?
I wear lots of hats—artist, editor, publisher, production, sales and marketing, order fulfillment, accounting—and enjoy the variety. Really my favorite part of mapmaking is researching special places and portraying a sense of place through the language of a map—and sharing that sense of place and adventure with my customers. As a freelance editor and proofreader I love reading and learning about places to explore, skills and traditional arts, cooking and preserving, natural and cultural history, all kinds of things.
5. What is your favorite product that you make or sell for your business?
I personally love textiles, fiber arts, cooking and functional decorative art, so the map floursack towels are a natural favorite.
6. Do you have any future plans for your business?
Although I enjoy everything I do, I would like to make time to do more writing. I had a wonderful adventure in publishing a few years ago writing and illustrating a cookbook, Maine Mapmaker’s Kitchen: Creative, Healthy Recipes for Home, Camp, and Afloat. I have a pile of new recipes, tips, and essays waiting for quality time to write them up and finesse them into publishable form.
7. What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to get into this type of business?
Pursue projects that genuinely engage your own interests, not just because it might sell. Follow your own instincts, not just market trends. Some things sell better than others (in different markets, places, times), but anything you feel is worthwhile is worth doing, worth the investment of time and money. Offering a variety of related products and services helps float the boat. For me, it’s been important to balance the seasonal ebbs and flows of map publishing with the steady, sustaining work of freelance editing.
Want to see more of this marvelous mapmaking? Check out all of Jane’s collection at www.mainemapmaker.com