Besides anagrams and pizza, I also have a keen interest in digital fabrication and maps. "Below the Boat" is a new company that combines the latter two: besides lakes, the site also offers laser-cut visualizations of bodies of water from archipelagos and bays to shorelines and sounds.Starting with a bathymetric chart (the underwater equivalent of a topographic map), the contours are laser-cut into sheets of Baltic birch and glued together to create a powerful visual depth. Select layers are hand-colored blue so it's easy to discern land from water, major byways are etched into the land, the whole thing's framed in a custom, solid-wood frame and protected seamlessly with a sheet of durable, ultra-transparent Plexiglas.
The result is stunning. It lifts the surface of the water back like a veil, exposing the often-overlooked, under-explored, awe-inspiring world that lies below. To those familiar with the floor of the ocean or the bed of a lake, it's a beautiful reminder of the deep channels, sharp drop-offs, and mountainous landscapes that are hidden from normal view. To the uninitiated, it's wonderfully eye-opening; as though the world suddenly took on a fourth dimension.
Below the Boat is the brainchild of Robbie and Kara Johnson, a husband-wife duo from Bellingham, WA, who came across one of the charts while traveling in Michigan and set out to bring the digitally-fabricated artwork to the masses via webshop.
As you can see, the results are absolutely amazing—etched in memory, as it were—and I daresay that even the most hydrophobic landlubber can appreciate the beauty of bathymetry in burned in baltic birch by laserbeam.
Current offerings include charts of a few major coastal conurbations, as well as nostalgic Northern lakes and island destinations.
Water you waiting for, check out belowtheboat.com to order one today.
via This Is Colossal ('slash sh*t is cool,' to continue with the anagrams)
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Great work! We at WE LASERS often have commissions like that.
Thank you for your comment. For the record, I was aware that Below the Boat merely distributes an existing product and I didn't mean to imply that they actually came up with the idea, only that they sell them online (which I euphemistically phrased as "offers" and "bring... to the masses").
However, for all my love of language, I misstated that the company "combines" digital fabrication and maps. This is not the case. To be perfectly clear: The maps are originally from Woodchart.com, and Below the Boat is simply an online storefront for those products. (Founders Robbie and Kara Johnson note that they are "humble shopkeepers who're pleased-as-punch to be able to bring these charts to you.")
As for the due diligence that was sorely lacking in the original post, Woodchart.com / Michael Enterprises, Inc., is a family-owned company based in Traverse City, MI. Although it is a for-profit business, they donate a portion of each sale to a local environmental group from the region depicted in the map.
The company also regulates retail prices so that pricing is consistent between all resellers of the products, including Below the Boat.
(Also for the record: I'm aware that the "laser cut in" is a grammatically unsound anagram for "lacustrine," and that the latter is an adjective, which makes the whole linguistic endeavor somewhat moot. "Cut in laser" might be a passable alterative, though it absurdly implies the laser itself has been cut. Suffice it to say that I devoted at least as much time thinking about this title as I did on my lazy journalism.)