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Forged by Fire: Bronze Maps Bring Mountains to Life

Terra Mano Lake Tahoe Bronze Casting
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Tired of looking at a peeling poster map on your wall? This map is as lasting as the mountains themselves.

Greg Kamradt founded Terra Mano because he wanted to make art that could reflect the details of the mountains. But it’s more than art. Terra Mano’s bronze-cast maps also reflect technical details like elevation and topography lines.

This week, Terra Mano launched a new collection of landscapes, starting with a Lake Tahoe Bronze map. Terra Mano will unveil nine more mountain locations in bronze form this year, all of classic American landscapes and mountains.

“We started down this path to bring together the community of outdoor athletes, activists, and artists,” reads the brand’s site.

How It Works

Terra Mano makes each map from a combination of elevation survey data, 3D-printing design, and a bronze-casting process in a traditional foundry.

terra mano bronze casting
Bronze-casting process for Terra Mano topography maps

Even though it’s art, each map is extremely accurate. The maps use data from the U.S. Geological Survey, but sometimes that’s not enough. Kamradt works with local hikers and climbers to get the highest level of detail for each mountain or landscape.

Terra Mano maps cover landscapes as small as 9 square miles or as large as 30 square miles. And Kamradt makes the altitude to scale.

His art is influenced by traditional artists like Xaver Imfeld, who made metalwork mountain sculptures, and James Niehues, who hand-paints maps of ski mountains across the world.

“I wanted to build a mountain-focused product that was as tough as the people and tools who climbed them,” Kamradt said.

The upcoming collection of maps will include Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. Whitney, Vail, Denali, and more. The 3D map art will be available online throughout 2020.

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