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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExploring the city you live in can often lead to inspiration. That’s just what happened to David Harman after he finished his bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Dallas. David found himself walking and riding his bike around Dallas often and he continued to discover new places, neighborhoods, and people.

One afternoon, David and a friend decided to map out a small neighborhood. After six months of research, he then had a map highlighting all of the neighborhoods in Dallas. David and his wife, Rebecca Harman, decided to expand their collection to include maps of Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Manhattan.

nativemaps2Each map is hand-pulled on 100-pound archival paper made with renewable energy from the hydroelectric mill at the French Paper Company, a small independent mill in Niles, Michigan. The maps are printed in small batches with acrylic ink.

The couple moved to Knoxville when David began working on his Master of Fine Arts in painting at UT in fall 2012. Rebecca began working on her master’s in environmental and soil science this fall semester. They continue to produce the maps in their home studio.

The two want to grow their business and add ten cities—including Knoxville—to their map offerings within the next year. To help grow their business, David and Rebecca submitted their maps to the West Elm LOCAL grant competition. Native Maps was chosen as a finalist and is now competing to win a $25,000 grant offered to help grow one local designer’s business.

To vote for Native Maps in the West Elm LOCAL grant competition, visit West Elm. Voting is open until Tuesday, October 14.

For more information on Native Maps, visit their website.