Have 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.
I’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.
I 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.
I 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!
I 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 converted 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
Do you take inspiration from the sea? Share in the comments below!