Map Picture Frames and Art Customized by You

Illinois, United States · 6790 Sales


Map Picture Frames and Art Customized by You

Illinois, United States 6790 Sales On Etsy since 2005

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Announcement   Customized Map Art and Picture Frames Designed by You

I'm on Facebook! Join me by searching "Emily Kircher Recycling Artist"

Last updated on Aug 8, 2016

Customized Map Art and Picture Frames Designed by You

I'm on Facebook! Join me by searching "Emily Kircher Recycling Artist"

Emily Kircher

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Emily Kircher

Map Heart in Two Places Custom Map Card
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I thought this map heart turned out especially pretty.
Another collection of cities make up this personalized map frame.

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Great gift for the couple who loves to travel!
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Scientist to Maker

I'm Emily of EKRA (Emily Kircher Recycling Artist). I've always been a maker, but it wasn't always my full time job like it is now. I used to be a scientist!

Let's start from the beginning...

I was always interested in biology and concerned about the environment. I took as many science classes as possible in high school, went to college and got a degree in biology. In college, I was also president of the environmental club. My concern for the environment and love of science and learning led me to an environmental toxicology (ie. the study of poisons) PhD program. I had dreams of working for the EPA, or the DNR, and figuring out how to save the world. Little did I know when I started graduate school that what I would really be trained for was to work for a pharmaceutical company. Yikes! That's not what I wanted at all. In fact, working in a lab turned out to be pretty lonely. I was working on a project that so few people in the world new about, I didn't have much to talk about with normal people. It wasn't that this project was top secret, just that there are A LOT of things to study and projects tend to get quite specialized.

Fast forward 4 years (yes, 4 years in graduate school). I had always been a maker, crafty, whatever you want to call it. I had been crocheting rugs as a hobby and giving them away as stress relief while in grad school. As it was getting harder and harder to get up in the morning and go to my lonely lab, my boyfriend (now husband) said to me, "Do you know you don't have to do this?" What!!!???!? I had no idea! I could change my course! It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me and I immediately started actions to leave grad school with a MS and not continue on to complete my PhD. My science friends were shocked! "But Emily, you only have a few more years left until you get your PhD!" Ugh. I couldn't bear a few more days much less years! Everyone wanted to know what I would do. I didn't know, so I told people that I would go and get my teaching certificate and teach science. People believed that was a viable option, but I didn't. I'm not a patient person when it comes to teaching. So, I pretended this was my plan as a finished up the work for my MS, but had a secret plan in my head. I would try to turn my hobby into a business! I loved crocheting rugs and I had also taken a class in mosaics. I called myself a Recycling Artist because I didn't really know what I wanted to focus on except that I would use recycled materials.

Well, that was 2004 and now it is now and I'm a full-time maker. My secret plan was a success! I love making things and I love using recycled materials. I know that I am taking a tiny portion of waste out of the waste stream and turning it into useful items. More than that, I'm educating people with my work! People ask me all the time where I get my materials, and what am I recycling. Over my career as an artist I've used salvaged fabric that I cut into yarn - collected from thrift stores, yard sales, and textile factories, beer and wine bottles and old plates for mosaic tiles, and old atlases. This lets people know that items still have value after they are finished with them and can be remade into new and useful things. I also tell people that if they are finished using something, to donate it and not just throw it away. Being hands on and in person feels like I'm helping the environment more than I ever could have if I had stayed on for my PhD and taken the track where that would have led me.

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Shop members
  • Emily Kircher


    HI! I'm Emily of EKRA (Emily Kircher Recycling Artist). I started this store in 2005 and have run it by myself until 2014 when my husband, joined me. I run the day to day operations of the store and make everything but the papercut art.

  • Aaron Veenstra


    Aaron is the designer and creator of all the paper cut items in the shop. He combines his loves of graphic design and geography to create paper artwork and cards that can be personalized.

  • Leann


    Leann works on all sorts of things including shipping, cutting maps for map packs, folding and stamping cards, and framing finished artwork. She is also a full-time artist and owner of Miranda's Loom: https://www.etsy.com/shop/MirandasLoom

Shop policies

Last updated on March 31, 2016
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All items are shipped via United States Postal Service.

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There are no returns or refunds given on custom orders except in the case that there has been damage during shipping or I made a mistake on your order.

All other items may be returned for within 7 days of receipt. Please message me that you will be returning the item and provide me with the delivery confirmation number of the package. Upon receiving the item, I will inspect it for damage and if it has not been damaged, a refund of of the purchase price will be given.

Please contact me with any questions.
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You may be required to pay customs fee at your local post office to receive your order if you are purchasing from outside the US. That fee is not covered by the shipping costs and is the responsibility of the buyer to pay.