July 10, 2018
Late last summer, hurricanes Irma and Maria swept through the U.S. Virgin Islands with a vengeance. Those hurricanes hit the very bay where Gina Feddersen of Isola Bella lives, causing a devastating amount of damage. But Gina's work is shaped in equal parts by the beauty of the island on which she resides and the hardships that the very same island endures and overcomes. The story of Isola Bella is one of resilience. And is a source of inspiration to everyone on the ACS Home & Work team. We hope to share that inspiration with you.
You have a long history with art. Everything from fine art in an art gallery in Rhode Island to more functional art such as pillows, tea towels, table linens, and bags. How did you get your start, and what ultimately led you to found Isola Bella?
Isola Bella (which means beautiful island) was born soon after the birth of my son (Over a decade ago). I had been living in Spain at the time when my husband was a designer with an America’s Cup Campaign, and I began experimenting with block-printing. I fell in love with it. I began printing stationery and textiles. When we returned full time to live in our home in the US Virgin Islands (where my husband is from originally),I began selling my functional art locally and also stateside. My background is in fine art which I majored in college.
Where do you find your inspiration for your designs? Can you share a bit about your creative process to take an idea from conception to completion?
My inspiration comes from time spent in nature, a walk, gardening or observing the sea. Pausing to be present to enjoy simple things sparks my creativity. Inspiration is all around in all I do. I express my ideas through the art and products I design for Isola Bella in watercolor, oils, block-prints and pottery.
You’ve lived in St. Thomas for almost two decades now (with a break in-between). And in that time, hurricanes have come and gone, sometimes leaving massive paths of destruction. How has Isola Bella been affected and can you share a bit on what it’s been like to bounce back and recover from these sorts of natural disasters?
Thankfully we weathered the storm and made it through. Thankful that all of my neighbors, family and friends were ok too. The island people are so resilient as is Mother Nature. Each day brings more recovery in rebuilding both emotionally and what was destroyed. The islands are looking very beautiful once again and we have resorts reopening as well as cruise ships visiting our island. We are coming back stronger.
What was it that attracted you to the tea towels with ACS Home & Work?
Your towels are like homespun goodness. So many customers come back for more. I think my art printed on them just completes the entire Isola Bella story from start to finish. Sharing a little art, a little handmade and simple beauty with others brings me joy. I also love they are made in the USA!
Photos courtesy of Gina Feddersenhttps://isolabellashop.com/
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