Geographer Candice Luebbering Envisions Art in Vintage Maps
September 30, 2022 @ 12:00pm
Designers in D.C. work with home in mind — whether home is in the city or a faraway place that adds extra texture and color to their products. Each maker featured in our October Issue is unique, but a common theme persists: a focus on cultural appreciation, sustainability and naturalness. We tell their stories and dive into details of each business below, from cocktail syrups to minimalist earrings to vintage repurposed maps.
Candice Luebbering, owner and designer of All Mapped Out, pores through old and vintage maps and turns them into coasters, helping every customer bring place into their space.
District Fray: What’s the story of All Mapped Out?
Candice Luebbering: All Mapped Out started 10 years ago as a creative outlet after graduate school (M.S. and Ph.D — in geography, of course). I wanted to get away from computer clicking and physically craft something. I had a growing pile of vintage maps and atlases from antique malls, thrift stores and garage sales, and I began repurposing them into coasters. It was a hobby business done off and on while I worked and studied, but within the last year I decided to change course and make All Mapped Out my primary pursuit, creating geography- and cartography-inspired home decor. I get so much joy from customers connecting with something I’ve made and feel honored every time my work becomes a special gift shared between friends or family. I think I was chasing prestige before but now I’m crafting fulfillment one Mapped item at a time.
Why is having a sense of place important in our homes?
Your home is your place and you get to create its identity for however long or short you’re there. You don’t need location-based décor to create your home’s sense of place, but many people are passionate about the places they’ve been and like to celebrate them in their spaces. I don’t like to ask people what they do; I like to ask about their “wheres” — the places they’ve lived, worked, studied, traveled or one day hope to go. It fuels conversations and connections. Adding touches of place to interior design reflects personal geographies and helps make the space uniquely yours, showing your roots, path and maybe even your projection. (This is a terrible map pun but authentic to my nerdiness.)
There can be a lot of tension between creating for fun and business. How do you stay inspired and excited while finding this balance?
In my creation process, I get to pore over old maps, exploring places throughout the world and time. That is already a fun activity, but it’s when a customer identifies with the place and shares their stories with me that my work comes alive. I get to travel the world through my customers’ experiences as they teach me about locations I may never get to see in person. It’s why I try to make map coasters of everywhere, from populated Paris to sparse Svalbard.
Anything else you want readers to understand about your designs?
All my coasters repurpose actual maps from the 1890s to present day — no copies or reproductions are used — so unless I have multiple copies of a source, the coasters are one-of-a-kind with the map origin handwritten on the back.
All Mapped Out: allmappedout.etsy.com // @all_mapped_out