Throughout history, fish, shells, mermaids, sailors and sea monsters have been represented in pottery, porcelain and glass dating back to the 19th century. Dolphins in Minton Majolica and Doulton terracotta, Lladró porcelain mermaids and bizarre sea monsters from the eccentric Martin brothers are among the highlights below the waves. Royal Doulton bathing belles soaking up the sun and ‘old salts’ mending their nets complete the seaside scene.
As well as all the fantastic and naturalistic underwater creatures, ceramic artists have portrayed maritime history, including explorers who sailed the seven seas and empires seeking to rule the waves. Christopher Columbus ‘discovering’ America and buccaneers attacking Spanish galleons in the Caribbean Sea bring the story close to Florida shores. With nearly 1,200 miles of coastline around the state, Florida is renowned for its beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear waters teeming with tropical fish.
In collaboration with WMODA, the fashion students at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale have reflected this abundance of nature in their latest fashions inspired by the sea. Following the runaway success of the Flair for Fashion exhibition, the young AI designers created more fantasy costumes which are on exhibition at Splash!
Splash! also features the work of contemporary ceramic artists such as Robin Rodgers, a Florida potter inspired by the natural beauty of this state, Roger Cockram, a British marine biologist turned stoneware potter, and Victoria Ellis, who designs ceramic plaques with mermaids, sirens and water babies. Ardmore, the South African ceramic art studio, has produced unique sculptures of Zulus riding whales and dolphins. Glass artist Dale Chihuly is famous for his sensual sea forms while local artist Brenna Baker of Hollywood Hot Glass is known for her sea turtles and colorful reef fish.