Is­land Finds

A St. Thomas artist cap­tures the Caribbean spirit.

Porthole Cruise Magazine - - What’s Inside - BY SARAH GREAVES- GABBADON


St. Thomas, no doubt you’ll be tempted by all the duty-free shop­ping on of­fer. Af­ter all, this busy Caribbean cruise port is packed with bou­tiques sell­ing jewelry, watches, and fine leather goods from pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional brands.

But don’t let that de­ter you from also seek­ing out some­thing lo­cally made, a sou­venir that’s been crafted with care by ar­ti­sans such as Gina Fed­der­sen, whose Isola Bella line of art, jewelry, and life­style prod­ucts cap­tures the Caribbean spirit and the beauty of is­land life. Here, Gina tells us about her work, the chal­lenges she faces as a Caribbean-based artist, and the trans­for­ma­tive power of cre­ativ­ity.

From There to Here:

“I grew up on Long Is­land, New York, where I stud­ied vis­ual art. My pas­sion for fine art and cu­rat­ing spa­ces led me to open a small art gallery in Bris­tol, Rhode Is­land, where my hus­band’s em­ployer was based. Coin­ci­den­tally, he’s a St. Tho­mian who I met while I was liv­ing tem­po­rar­ily on the is­land, and af­ter we got to­gether we be­gan trav­el­ing the globe for his work as an Amer­ica’s Cup de­signer. In be­tween, we bought a plot of land on St. Thomas, built our first home, and had a baby. And when we re­lo­cated to St. Thomas 11 years ago, that was when my other baby, Isola Bella, was born.”

Is­land In­spi­ra­tion:

“My art is in­spired by na­ture, sea, is­land life­style, and the sim­ple plea­sures of ev­ery­day. I en­joy work­ing with clay and paint­ing in wa­ter­color and oils, trans­lat­ing my fine art into wear­able ac­ces­sories, home goods, and stationery col­lec­tions.”

Feel­ing the Love:

“The cre­ative process for me is all about how it makes my in­ner spirit feel. There are some ideas that never make it past the draw­ing board, but the con­cepts that do are the ones that ex­cite me the most at that time in my life. I have to feel that pos­i­tive en­ergy and ex­cite­ment for it to work. That’s when I know it’s wor­thy of be­com­ing a new prod­uct or col­lec­tion.”

Sil­ver Lin­ings:

“When hur­ri­canes Irma and Maria hit in Septem­ber 2017, many shops and ho­tels closed. Mail was se­verely de­layed, and with no In­ter­net and spotty cell ser­vice, main­tain­ing my on­line busi­ness, Iso­laBel­, be­came a chal­lenge. But since the storm I’ve been so hum­bled and over­whelmed by the love and sup­port I’ve re­ceived via so­cial me­dia. [I re­al­ize that] you can’t give up on what you’ve worked so hard on for so long. I stayed my course. And stay­ing cre­ative healed me.”

Joy to the World:

“I feel very lucky to be able to fol­low my bliss work­ing as a full-time artist and small busi­ness owner on one of the most beau­ti­ful is­lands in the world. I get to cre­ate for oth­ers and spread a lit­tle vis­ual joy.”

Here and Now:

“I’m cur­rently work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ran­i­fly­ on a Vir­gin Is­lands col­lec­tion of tow­els, swim­suits, and yoga wear that fea­tures my wa­ter­color map art paint­ings.”

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