What’s the name of your business and why, what do you create and sell and how did you get your start?
Ploust is a made up name that bubbled to my lips one day. I take molds of real sea urchin shells and cast them in resin mixed with dyes and atomized metal for a bit of sparkle. I had been collecting sea urchin shells from the tide pools where we live and I wanted to find a way to capture their form. I started experimenting with casting them in plaster and then different resins. It took a while to figure out a process but I finally achieved the results I had in my mind, preserving the remarkable structure of something so fragile and organic.
We love your use of the sea urchin form as an inspiration for jewelry. What other natural forms or mediums do you use in your work?
I’ve been using lichen, drift wood and barnacles in some recent work. In my relief wall works, I’m exploring the topography of mountains, icebergs and glaciers.
Please share some of your artistic, culinary, and musical inspirations.
17th century Flemish still life paintings….especially those painted by Adriaen Coorte…..swoon! And the drawings of Stephanie Halpern , collections at natural history museums, Indira Matina Moore’s work, and old wooden Ukrainian churches and barns.
I’m a loon over classical Persian food. It’s so sensual, steeped in history and composed of such extraordinary ingredients—pomegranates,saffron, barberries, sumac, rose petals, mint. Also, there’s a book by Niki Segnit called The Flavour Thesaurus….it’s such an exquisite idea and so well presented, I choke on my envy. Plus, everything Nigel Slater writes, everything Silvena Rowe cooks, everything Heidi Swanson photographs and everything put on a plate at Fäviken Magasin and NOMA.
Almost everything that comes out of Iceland—Ölof Arnalds, Gus Gus, Sigur Rós, Jönsi and of course the iceberg that is Björk. Plus, The Horrors, Royksöpp, Róisín Murphy, classic singers from the 1920’s and 30’s—like Dorothy Dandrage, Annette Hanshaw, Ruth Etting—and Indian ghazals.
Do you have a mentor? If not, who would your dream mentor be?
My dream mentor would be an amalgam of three people: Marcella Hazan, so I would be cared for and well fed; Anne Truitt, so we could obsess over color and materials all day; and Björk, so we could listen to interesting music and I could borrow her clothes. A splash of Steven Colbert would be nice too.
Has the draw to nature as artistic muse always existed for you, even as a child?
I grew up in the forest of Northern Wisconsin near a lake. I used to make sculptures on the pier from the clay lake bottom, moss covered forts and snow caves 15′ deep into the snow drifts. I also dragged every cool thing I found back home and decorated my room with it…..tree branches, leaves, rocks, etc. If I could live outside in nature I would as it’s the place I find the most joy. I guess they call that camping.
Underwater or overground?
Both. Love being in or near water but my Mister flies a plane and that perspective to the ground is amazing too.
Dolphin or whale?
Dolphin. They’re just as wicked smart but they can dance.
Beach or forest?
Both. That’s the thing about Northern California. There’s the Pacific Ocean on one side and an old redwood forest on the other, both are magical places.
What are the best and the worst things about being an independent maker/creator?
The best bit is satisfying a need to conceive an idea, explore it and end up with something physical that resonates.
The worst part is being distracted by all the other demands of life that keep you from achieving that satisfaction.
What/where is the Sea Ranch and how has it been instrumental in your artistry?
The Sea Ranch, CA where we live is an ecological and architectural community in Northern California that was begun in the 1960’s. The original concept has flourished in many ways and been tainted in others. It’s still a very special place that has exposed me to exceptional elements of nature in the redwood forest, at the tide pools, on the beach and out on the water.
Tell us about your upcoming cookbook, Morsels of the Forest.
One of the gifts of the forest Pacific Northwest is the bounty of wild mushrooms. My husband and I have been foraging for many years now and with my love of cooking, cookbookery and photography it seemed a natural and exciting project to write about cooking with the wild mushrooms of the coastal range. It’s an enormous amount of work but so gratifying. I hope to find a publisher soon!