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Eye of the Artist: The Deep Blue

Jun 4, 2010

by Heather Burkman

Heather_author_pic.jpgHave you ever studied a piece of art and pondered “how” or “why”? Here’s an opportunity to learn straight from the horse’s — ahem, artist’s — mouth, about their inspiration, unique technique and creative background.

At home we have two pets: Barty, a purple fire fish, and Poppy, a yellow clown goby. They swim and play in our small salt water tank amidst a colorful garden of corals, which too are alive. I can endlessly observe the subtle yet active ocean life: the mushroom coral clams up as a clumsy hermit crab waddles by, the leather coral’s polyps pulse and sway in the current, a tube worm peaks its peppermint-colored duster out of its home. Today’s Eye of the Artist is an ode to the quieter, yet equally vibrant, segment of sea life.

Artist: amieplante

EOA_amieplant_bio.jpgI’m very fortunate to be a full-time working artist — creating my own collection and one-of-a-kind work, teaching jewelry classes and designing for other companies. I have a BA and Master’s in Jewelry and Metalsmithing from RISD and University of Massachusetts. I’ve spent most of my life in Rhode Island — the Ocean State — and a few years near Cape Cod, and I now live only a few blocks away from a cove. I have a never-ending fascination with sculptural forms, fluid lines, lacy structures and rippled surfaces that I find in nature, and particularly in the ocean and sea life. I interpret my inspiration into jewelry forms that are part nature, part sculpture.

My Ruffle Ring was inspired by the undulating, swirling forms of coral and jellyfish, as well as ruffles found in flowers and textiles. I was living at the time near a whaling and maritime history museum, which had an incredible collection of carvings made in wood and bone, which inspired me. I choose various tools to drill into and drag across my surfaces — removing material to create swirls, ridges and ruffles in all directions. Some looked like waves, flowers or jagged rocks — each carving took on a personality of its own.

My Seafan Pendant combines the skeletal quality of sea fans with the more uniform curves and edges of scallop sea shells. Since sea life is often fluid and ephemeral, I approached this abstractly, combining and capturing the curves and textures into a permanent, lacy form.


Inspiration photo by Thespis377, Seafan Pendant by amieplante


Artist: elinart

Elinart_bio.jpgI am a visual artist from the UK and have a BA and MA in Fine Art. I specialise in painting but also love to make textile based jewellery and objects under my designer-maker name, “ELINtm.” I consider myself to have a wonderful life — I love spending every day creating, trying out new ideas and playing with beautiful materials.

When I saw the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at the Hayward Gallery in London, it completely seized my imagination. I then took up practicing crochet seriously and have drawn inspiration from the many amazing works made by other artists exploring this specific genre of crochet. The coral reef has developed into an extremely potent symbol for me, representing the abundance of nature and creativity, how its infinite beauty and diversity can only be marvelled at. It also reminds me how vital it is to view nature holistically and help to ensure that its treasures are valued and protected.

As an artist, it is important to me to remain connected with the wonder of nature through the childhood pleasures of close observation and making collections. Researching and creating coral inspired work offers endless visual delight and numerous technical challenges — I have learned an enormous amount from attempting to imitate nature.


Inspiration photos by mattk1979 and richard ling, Coral bracelet and Coral soft sculpture by elinart


Artist: karingrow

EAO_karingrow_bio.jpgI am a full-time artist living in a small little beach town in southern California.  Aside from painting for myself, I teach drawing and painting to an amazing group of kids and adults on the weekends. I feel so lucky that I’m able to make a living doing what I love.

Being so close to the ocean, you can’t help but be inspired by all the creatures and plant life that live in our tidepools or wash up from the deep blue sea. These two paintings are part of my “Tidepool” series that I painted on birch wood panels with acrylic paint. The background was achieved by washing on a watery layer of paint and allowing the natural grain of the wood to come through. Then, I drew the image freehand with pencil and lastly, painted it in. I wanted to create simple monochromatic illustrations of kelp, coral, urchins and sea horses that could be hung together or individually. The hardest part is deciding which ones I get to keep!


Inspiration photos, Orange Coral and Green Kelp by karingrow


Artist: blueroompottery

EOA_BlueRmPot_bio.jpgI am an eighth generation Greek potter, now living and working between Greece, Minneapolis and New York. My family back in Greece is known for producing some of the Greek master potters whose work can now be found in many museums. The only difference about me is that I am the first woman in my family to become a potter, which I really love for my own reasons — not because I happened to be born into it. I quit my office job many years ago when I discovered that all I could think about was following my family’s heritage. I never regretted it!

I have always loved the sea, and growing up in Greece I spent every summer enjoying it. It has been a major inspiration for my work, and my passion for collecting every little natural treasure I could find led to my sea-themed work starting in 1993. My sea urchins were originally merely decorative, but a few years later I convertedEOA_BlueRmPot_hist.jpg them into bud-vases and/or oil lamps, so that they could be functional as well as pretty. I am still inspired by the color of the Greek sea and glaze them in all the shades of blue one would see there — from dark cobalt to light turquoise to white. I also leave many of them unglazed to reveal the beauty of the vitrified porcelain in its purest form. I love to see people’s reaction to my work, and feel blessed to please them with my creations.

                               Marietta at her father’s studio


Inspiration photo and Turquoise Porcelain Sea Urchin by blueroompottery


Thanks amieplante, elinart, karingrow and blueroompottery for sharing their artistic perspectives.

Do you take inspiration from the sea? Share in the comments below!

Ocean Related Articles | More Interviews
Artistic Endeavors Series

Ruffle Ring- black patina
Ruffle Ring- black patina
$140.00 USD
RESERVED - Coral inspired soft sculpture
RESERVED - Coral inspired soft sculpture
Seafan Pendant
Seafan Pendant
Exquiste coral bracelet
Exquiste coral bracelet
ACEO Original Girl Squidwhale by Rebecca Salcedo EBSQ
ACEO Original Girl Squidwhale by Rebecca Salcedo EBSQ
Barnacle -  Large Textured Wall Tile - Ceramic Wall Art, Ceramic Wall Hanging, Porcelain Wall Art
Barnacle - Large Textured Wall Tile - Ceramic Wall Art, Ceramic Wall Hanging, Porcelain Wall Art
$595.00 USD
Cotton Scarf Lace Summer Lightweight Scarf Mesh Beach Scarf Handmade Cotton Scarf Lightweight Mint Green or CHOOSE Your Color
Cotton Scarf Lace Summer Lightweight Scarf Mesh Beach Scarf Handmade Cotton Scarf Lightweight Mint Green or CHOOSE Your Color
$39.00 USD
Winter abstract art, sea storm, blue, abstract landscape, storm photograph, ocean wall art print, rustic decor, moody landscape, beach art
Winter abstract art, sea storm, blue, abstract landscape, storm photograph, ocean wall art print, rustic decor, moody landscape, beach art
$67.25 USD
Crab Claws, silver necklace - Together Forever -marine inspiration, for nature lovers, marine inspiration
Crab Claws, silver necklace - Together Forever -marine inspiration, for nature lovers, marine inspiration


  • candacejean

    candacejean said 7 years ago

    I love seeing the artist’s connection to their source of inspiration. I am fascinated by life in the ocean and too take inspiration from the sea.. I just need to hurry it up over here and get to all those “ocean life” paintings I’ve been meaning to create for so long now. Beautiful finds and lovely creations!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 7 years ago

    Gorgeous items!!! Such talent!

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 7 years ago


  • Evajune

    Evajune said 7 years ago

    These ocean pieces are amazing. I am in love with the coral reef bracelet

  • abacusbeadcreations

    abacusbeadcreations said 7 years ago

    Great article, beautiful items! How much for the pretty purple and yellow fish? lol

  • verityunmondoaparte

    verityunmondoaparte said 7 years ago

    I love the sea and I love seeing items that take inspiration from this ^_^

  • blueroompottery

    blueroompottery said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for the feature! It is a beautiful article, I am honored to have been picked! love, Marietta

  • loopinloop

    loopinloop said 7 years ago

    Great article, thanks once more...

  • Emmamaha

    Emmamaha said 7 years ago

    Love the coral soft sculpture by elinart. Amazingly intricate. Beautiful pieces all round from all the featured artists.

  • BlueDonya

    BlueDonya said 7 years ago

    I love that our beautiful blue ocean world is inspiring to so many talented artists. As an avid diver and underwater photographer, the deep blue inspires me everyday! Thanks for the great article...

  • catchalljewelry

    catchalljewelry said 7 years ago

    i love to see where the inspiration for art comes from. all the art is so beautiful!

  • whphotography

    whphotography said 7 years ago

    Lovely article. I've long loved, and for months now owned, a piece from FrancesPhotography. It looks like liquid and matches perfectly the set of water-inspired creations on this page :)

  • Ayca

    Ayca said 7 years ago

    Great article! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Mostlyeclectic

    Mostlyeclectic said 7 years ago

    I love the whole sea theme, it's an "ocean" of inspiration

  • ParadiseBodyShop

    ParadiseBodyShop said 7 years ago

    Wow, such incredible work!

  • paperpyro

    paperpyro said 7 years ago

    (nice article) makes me want to skinny dip, hehe...

  • concentric

    concentric said 7 years ago

    Oooh, thank you for adding my Sand Dollar holder to your article!

  • FizzBrushHetty

    FizzBrushHetty said 7 years ago

    So beautiful! thanks, Fizzbrushhetty

  • EderaJewelry

    EderaJewelry said 7 years ago

    Wow, what a wonderful article! So interesting to see the inspiration behind these talented artists :)

  • LiseWinne

    LiseWinne said 7 years ago

    Nice article! Artists do have their favorite inspirations & this article spells it out wonderfully.

  • swanmountainsoaps

    swanmountainsoaps said 7 years ago

    Absolutely incredible! I am just dumbfounded. Well, done. Well done!

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 said 7 years ago

    This is a fantastic article! I think many Artists have an amazing connection to Nature...we see the beauty in a grain of sand, the potential in a single seed. Thank you for sharing your inspiration! (LOVING the family connections Marietta...congratulations on pursuing your dream and continuing the legacy!)

  • TallyLocke

    TallyLocke said 7 years ago

    LOVE THESE! So amazing!

  • akcopperraven

    akcopperraven said 7 years ago

    what an inspiration can come form the water...i absolutely love it all !!

  • heatherozee

    heatherozee said 7 years ago

    All I can say is WOW! oh and I want that first ring at the top of this post.

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 7 years ago

    Yay Amie!! Great to see you here!! Great article!

  • amieplante

    amieplante said 7 years ago

    Absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for letting me share my work. It's fascinating to see how different artists interpret this inspiration through such diverse media and styles. Etsy has an incredible wealth of talent.

  • LulaMatilda

    LulaMatilda said 7 years ago

    Thanks for the stories of 4 very inspiring women. Beautiful work, all, inspired by their passions!

  • lv2cr8

    lv2cr8 said 7 years ago

    Wow, such lovely items.

  • jamauerer

    jamauerer said 7 years ago

    gorgeous! the ocean is so inspiring.

  • undermyfeet

    undermyfeet said 7 years ago

    These are some really interesting products. Great ideas!

  • carlossantiago

    carlossantiago said 7 years ago

    i love this! excellent story. I hope the ocean does not get so affected by the oil mess. I know, a downer. I have that coral fabric in seafoam color. happy friday!

  • craftpile

    craftpile said 7 years ago


  • cutiepiecompany

    cutiepiecompany said 7 years ago

    Just gorgeous! Thank you for this inspiring article!

  • FavreBijoux

    FavreBijoux said 7 years ago

    Yes, Etsy IS the place to find beautiful unique pieces made by talented artists. Nice picks!

  • ConservationClothing

    ConservationClothing said 7 years ago

    I love all of your works! Bellissima!!!!

  • PinupGlasses

    PinupGlasses said 7 years ago

    These artists are amazing! Perfect treasury! love!

  • KatyScudieri

    KatyScudieri said 7 years ago

    Yay Amie! :)

  • NicoAndMooMoo

    NicoAndMooMoo said 7 years ago

    so creative! and fantastic photos also WOW

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 7 years ago

    an excellent article with 3 inspiring and caring artists! thank you! I love the sea life - it's integral to all life on earth and so important to preserve and protect, thanks to these exceptional artists above for helping spread that ethos and love :)

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 7 years ago

    I meant to write '4 artists' (apologies :)

  • karingrow

    karingrow said 7 years ago

    I am so thrilled to be included in your "sea" blog post with all these wonderfully talented artists! Karin

  • sharonschock

    sharonschock said 7 years ago

    what great finds, thanks!

  • barbosaart

    barbosaart said 7 years ago


  • kissadesign

    kissadesign said 7 years ago


  • OceanPatch

    OceanPatch said 7 years ago

    Oh, I LOVE these beautiful items inspired by the ocean! I also love how you included the inspiration photos and the final work of art inspired by it! Great job!

  • ShannonAmidon

    ShannonAmidon said 7 years ago

    So inspiring and beautiful.

  • BodaciousBiddies

    BodaciousBiddies said 7 years ago

    Wow! What amazing pieces! Love the influence being nature!

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 7 years ago

    Love the organic form and shape. Just gorgeous!!

  • woolsolution

    woolsolution said 7 years ago


  • NoaSharonDesigns

    NoaSharonDesigns said 7 years ago

    amazing artists! trully love 'em all :) i feel that the sea atmosphere is endless place for inspiration...

  • fineartstoneware

    fineartstoneware said 7 years ago

    This was a good article, lots of interesting artists and their work.

  • SpringColors

    SpringColors said 7 years ago

    wow. wonderful items and wonderful inspiration

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 7 years ago

    Inspiring stories. Beautiful work.

  • prettydreamer

    prettydreamer said 7 years ago

    fantastic article ... thank you so much for sharing!

  • marbled

    marbled said 7 years ago

    Gorgeous items!!!

  • maggiemaevintage

    maggiemaevintage said 7 years ago

    coral bracelet...exquisite!

  • minaN

    minaN said 7 years ago

    I love your work. Its refreshing to be able to see where you all get your inspiration from. :)

  • JeansVintageCloset

    JeansVintageCloset said 7 years ago

    Aquatic life can be hypnotic, the soothing hues of the Ocean and the Care Free swimming creatures that inhabit the Sea Kingdom, Very beautiful art, sculptures

  • 1AEON

    1AEON said 7 years ago

    coral and octopus, you make my dream deeper!

  • artbooksandcanvases

    artbooksandcanvases said 7 years ago

    OMG! that crab claws necklace is ah-mazing!

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 7 years ago

    Gorgeous work...thank u for sharing!!!

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey said 7 years ago

    very cool. Great article!

  • YesterdaysMemories09

    YesterdaysMemories09 said 7 years ago

    So much talent - great article!

  • TandokunoGurl

    TandokunoGurl said 7 years ago

    It's great to see the artists inspiration revealed. This was a one of a kind look at some very beautiful objects.

  • 2treasurehunt

    2treasurehunt said 7 years ago

    Beautiful Work. Very inspiring! Thank You.

  • GoodGriefGlass

    GoodGriefGlass said 7 years ago

    Gorgeous, creative work.

  • meimfree

    meimfree said 7 years ago

    All of the pieces are amazing. Elin, I absolutely LOVE your coral art! Beautiful! I too am inspired by the ocean. I am a dressmaker, and I have, many a time, found myself creating a dress inspired entirely by the it!

  • rakshniyavintage

    rakshniyavintage said 7 years ago

    how wonderful! It's so amazing to see how an inspiration develops into a piece of art - and all the items are so stunning

  • MissHildebrandt

    MissHildebrandt said 7 years ago

    Oh this was meaningful. I'm about to move near the Pacific and I am so excited to see the inspiration. Thank you for the butterflies and the Crab Claws necklace.

  • blueskyclouds

    blueskyclouds said 7 years ago

    FANTASTIC FEATURE!!!! I just love inspiring and the work is gorgeous. I'm off to explore them in more detail. Thanks so much!!!

  • pixestreasurechest

    pixestreasurechest said 7 years ago

    The natural world, and especially the ocean, is a limitless source of inspiration! Thanks for sharing such talented artists! Elinart's coral bracelet is stunning!

  • elinart

    elinart said 7 years ago

    Wonderful feature! An honour to be in the company of such talented Etsians. Thank you for the lovely feedback :))

  • chanyeevon

    chanyeevon said 7 years ago

    so inspiring O_o !!! really creative to take something around us and present them through their eyes!

  • dragonflymystdesigns

    dragonflymystdesigns said 7 years ago

    I love the coral bracelet!! It is so stunning. Great article!!

  • elementclaystudio

    elementclaystudio said 7 years ago

    of course I LOVE this article!!!!xo

  • elementclaystudio

    elementclaystudio said 7 years ago

    Love it!!!

  • Pearlk2

    Pearlk2 said 7 years ago


  • redyellowandblueink

    redyellowandblueink said 7 years ago

    This is a wonderful post. It is difficult to read this article and not think about what is going on in our waters. My heart is breaking over the tragic events spreading throughout the seas and coastlines of the Gulf. A special etsy shop has been opened to raise funds for this. Thank you to the artists above who find inspiration from our natural world and thank you to the etsy artists who are participating in the HelpTheGulfCoast store to raise funds for this tragedy.

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 7 years ago


  • julessabjewelry

    julessabjewelry said 7 years ago

    The sea floats my heart's desires! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful sea-finds! I love 'em all.

  • MysticLily

    MysticLily said 7 years ago

    I'm inspired! What a beatiful collection and a great article! Thanks for putting the spotlight on these artists!

  • wiccked

    wiccked said 7 years ago

    these are all lovely! I think that a few of them may already be in my faves. I would have thought that I had quite a few ocean inspired items, but I only have one - The others have all sold! I might have to get inspired by the ocean again :)

  • vikotas

    vikotas said 7 years ago

    coral inspired soft sculpture is breath taking

  • saintesmariesjewelry

    saintesmariesjewelry said 7 years ago

    Incredible stuff... Its amazing, I can't believe the level of craftsmanship and creativity in this artist... I love it!

  • sannamae

    sannamae said 7 years ago

    I can relate to the inspirations used in all these pieces. I have a saltwater tank and its my way of having the ocean with me always. The coral and fish are so beautiful and amazing. Its amazing to see how well-made everything is and how realistic it looks. Just like home for me haha :)

  • davisdesignsau

    davisdesignsau said 7 years ago

    It is so refreshing to see that others also make what they live! The sign of a true artist... living the dream :-)

  • byhelenga

    byhelenga said 7 years ago

    gorgeous, talent!

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 7 years ago

    lovely sculptures,forms and textures.

  • jsgems

    jsgems said 7 years ago

    I have been making things my whole life and have always enjoyed it. I was hurt on the job over five years ago and decided to make rings to sell (in the past I had only done things for friends and family) it has turned out to be one of the most rewarding things I have ever done The chance to make things that people love and cherish to me is just wonderful and overwhelming after a long journey of over 50 years I have found my childhood dream coming true it is good to see others have to

  • MoMuertos

    MoMuertos said 7 years ago

    Gorgeous! I spent a lot of time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and anything sea-inspired always catches my eye.


    ZZsROCKnRECYCLABLES said 7 years ago

    I love BLUEROOMPOTTERY--------------WOW WOW WOW

  • poplovedesigns

    poplovedesigns said 7 years ago

    I love this "undersea" theme, makes me want to travel down to Eilat and snorkel with the fishies!! <3 Andrea

  • SewObsession

    SewObsession said 7 years ago

    beautiful love this article just amazing photos/images

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 7 years ago

    Beautiful I love that ring its fantastic! Great theme, I'm always fascinated by underwater life too and how different it is to our world.

  • Earthystyle

    Earthystyle said 7 years ago

    ooooooh I LOVE these!! wonderful *love*

  • sillylittlesheep

    sillylittlesheep said 7 years ago

    lovely! I am very envious of the people who live by the sea. I love it, I love diving and picking sea shells and digging into any rubbish that gets washed onto the beach! Marine biology is my dream (and probably will stay a dream forever), but Id love to get more of the sea into my items!! Beautiful creations, all of them!! :)

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 7 years ago

    what a great article, thanks for introducing us to these interesting artists- i love that they are inspired by the sea-!!

  • FloweryDeer

    FloweryDeer said 7 years ago

    Love it. :)

  • LibertyImages

    LibertyImages said 7 years ago

    Thanks for these profiles! I especially love the paintings and ceramics, but really enjoy reading about everyone's work process and what most inspires them, what they most want to capture and share.

  • FrancesPhotography

    FrancesPhotography said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for including my Stormy Blue. I just love the coral scuptures by Elin and Marietta's paintings. All gorgeous. Best, Frances.

  • FrancesPhotography

    FrancesPhotography said 7 years ago

    Thank you SO much for including my Stormy Blue photograph. I also love Elin's Sea sculptures and Karin's paintings on birch wood. Best, Frances

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 7 years ago

    simply >

  • artstudio

    artstudio said 7 years ago

    Beautiful items and so much talent - I'm so inspired!

  • ethyricalartist

    Donia from DoniaLillyFineArt said 4 years ago

    Really lovely pieces -- I love seeing pieces like this that are inspired directly from nature in unusual media.

  • URL said 3 years ago

    ... [Trackback] [...] Read More: [...]

  • Mixed Media Organic Crochet Artist Elin Thomas | said 2 years ago

    […] shares in an Etsy interview: “As an artist, it is important to me to remain connected with the wonder of nature through […]

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