When I first learned how to drive, my dad insisted that I also learn how to read a map. I’m revealing my age here, because of course, who uses a map anymore, when we all have GPS systems? I haven’t touched one in years. But I recently fell in love with maps all over again thanks to Natasha Holland, a Lemoore resident who is part artist and part cartographer. Through her Etsy shop, Natasha Holland Studio, she has literally turned making maps into an artform.
If you’ve gone shopping or been to an event in Old Town Clovis lately, you have probably seen Natasha’s work. Several businesses there came together and commissioned maps from her. You can pick up a copy at stores like The Foundry Collective. Detailed landmarks and shops cover the watercolor maps. I am particularly fond of the tiny rodeo happening off the corner of Clovis Ave.
Natasha comes from a background that gives her a unique style and talent. She studied architecture and design at Ball State University in Indiana, where she discovered that she most loved the design aspect of her classes. But she also has a love for buildings. When she married her husband in Chicago several years ago, she designed hand-drawn maps that showed guests where the venue and other locations were. This was the first project in what eventually became a successful business.
Natasha’s husband is in the military, and the couple spent several years in Guam, where she designed wedding invitations and taught art classes. When they found out they would be stationed in Lemoore last fall, she decided it was time to really concentrate on her Etsy business – and learn about her new state at the same time.
“It almost makes it more fun because when we do move places, it’s like you want figure out everything that makes that location special,” Natasha said. “The different landmarks and the different areas. And there’s so much around here, with the mountains and the coast and all that.”
Natasha’s process is to use ink and watercolors to draw each building and landmark in a bigger size, and then scan it into a computer, shrink it and digitally place it on a copy of the hand-drawn map. If she can, she will visit each location in person and take photographs to work from. If she can’t – like when she creates custom wedding maps for clients in faraway places – she will do extensive research, down to making sure her maps have vegetation that is native to the area.
She also specializes in custom acrylic and watercolor paintings. One of her most popular requests is to recreate the place where a couple first met. One of my favorites is her drawing of Superior Dairy in Hanford. The popular ice cream shop was one of the first things she learned about the Valley.
“When we got our orders to come here from Guam … we were just googling ‘Central Valley,’ ” Natasha said. “We both had never lived on the West Coast, and that was the first thing that came up everywhere, not even just Hanford, but if you googled anything with the Valley.”
Natasha is so busy that she currently doesn’t have any availability for custom work until February. But you can buy prints of her work on the Natasha Holland Studio Etsy page. I think the Central Valley maps (available in both North and South) make great Christmas presents! As a special to us, you can use the code “FresYes” through 12/7 for a 20 percent discount off orders more than $10.
Greeting cards featuring her work can also be purchased at The Foundry, and she maaaay have a few beautiful, hand-painted ornaments left at The Urban Umbrella in Clovis and Enjoy in Visalia. You can keep up with Natasha Holland Studio on Instagram and Facebook. It’s another great way to #ShopLocal this holiday season!
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