Honoring Visible and Invisible Waves
BY Marcella Echavarria | April 12, 2012
Maria Moyer’s truth
Maria Moyer’s journey is about giving voice to the less obvious. She is a multi- talented artist with an inquisitive mind and hands always discovering new uses and metaphors for different ideas and materials. For her, design does not come from designers but through designers. She sees her role as an artist as that of a messenger and translator of big ideas where sustainability is the leading voice.
Born in Southern California, Maria is a creature of the sea. Since childhood, the ocean landscapes and creatures have fascinated her; she has dissected sea creatures, analyzing every shape and form, and inquiring about their movements and changes. She is an avid surfer and a collector of beach ephemera as memories of temporary bliss.
Maria navigates two worlds: the world of consulting businesses toward sustainability and the world of art. Her interest lies at the intersection between nature and culture. After a very successful career as a pioneer in the “greening of the supply chain” for companies like Gap, Maria felt a profound need to work with her hands, to create her own vision and to be in control of the entire process. She became interested in the beauty of small, tangible handmade processes starting with wood and furniture and moving now to porcelain.
Moyer now lives between Oakland, CA and New York City where—when not in her studio—she counsels clients as president of WINK Communications an agency focused on messaging, presentation coaching and partnerships around design and sustainability. Her consulting work is about finding that wink moment that make brands stand out. She is also a presentation coach, guiding leaders who need to express crucial issues to large audiences. “When someone is speaking in public, that person is occupying a space of vulnerability and using a unique opportunity to deliver a powerful message that can only be expresses through the nuances of verbal and non-verbal communication.
Similarly, she views art as that space of vulnerability that she embodies at the studio where she takes risks and feels insecure most of the time. Porcelain is her latest obsession. “I enjoy the look and feel of porcelain in my hands when I am building and carving it. I sand it after firings to give it an ocean-worn softness. Mostly, I prefer the intrinsic quality of the material to adding any glaze or a surface treatment. Also, porcelain has this reputation for being so fragile; it's actually very strong. It seemed the perfect material to express the delicacy and incredible strength of the lace-like exoskeletons that are so miraculous in plankton.”
Her recent collaboration with Rogan, exhibited at the New York Bowery Street Store, draws on the microscopic ocean for inspiration, specially plankton—the tiny plants and animals at the foundation of the Earth’s food chain. “Most people are surprised to learn that these water-dwelling creatures remove more carbon from the atmosphere than our forests,” Moyer says, “...if my work brings a little more attention to these essential and exquisitely beautiful plants and animals, I’d be delighted.” The shapes of many of her pieces are inspired by the pillbox-like armor that protect plankton from their many predators—like nature’s architectural force, visible only under a microscope. She used an indigo and a sanded white color palette, with the presence of washes instead of glazes, to express a vulnerable ocean and to revisit her fascination with everything ephemeral. Her pieces reveal the true skin of the materials and the truth about what is happening with the oceans.
In Maria’s words:
*Luxury is…After a long swim in a not-too-warm ocean I love to lay--belly down--in warm sand and look at micro-shells.
*Sustainability is...A work in progress.
*Collaboration is…Riddled with detours and often-wonderful surprises.
*My garden is…Heaven on Earth. I have old Oak trees and lots of different kinds of succulents--aoenuim, Echivarria, sedum and more (many started as cuttings from friend's gardens all over California). Of course, my dogs are there too.
*East or west? Both please.
*Red or white? White! For its infinite possibilities and unwavering support of all other colors.
*Where I am traveling next…Garrison NY. For the third time this month, I'm headed up from NYC to look for a little country house. A year-round place (not too far from NYC) to get away from the city: Cross-country skiing in the winter and stand-up paddling in a lake, during the summer. I'll even set up a little studio.
*Things I collect…Tools. Carpenter's rulers, levels, different hammers--I have my grandfather's first hammer.
Bird's nests. I don't look for them. I just stumble upon them on both coasts. I found three this year in my backyard in Oakland. When Robin fledglings leave the nest, the parents leave too and don't come back. They make three nests per year in the same area. Their nests are magnificent layers of mud and grass. In one, I found several intricately layered strands of what is likely my hair. I was flattered.
Stones, vintage jewelry, art books and very old science and nature books with lots of images.
*North or south? I've spent most of my energy and time exploring and living in the Northern Hemisphere. I look forward to more time in the South: Chile, Peru, Brazil and Argentina--they call to me.
Her work is also exhibited at BDDW, 5 Crosby St # 1, New York, NY 10013-3155