The underwater world of design
8 October 2018
Loud fish, playing with baby seals and dreaming under water are all part of the artistic process for Benita Vincent of Benni Marine Designs.
Benni’s bright stall of gifts and wearables draws you in at first sight. Found at the silo end of the market, Benni is happy to tell you about the inspiration for her gorgeous prints. A former marine scientist, her interest in exploring the sea life of Tasmania and around the world is second nature. “Every fabric design is from one origin. I enjoy combining colour and texture to create unique pieces that are beautiful and tactile. So every piece that is hand made is unique by the nature of fabric combinations and the orientation of the print.”
And the great thing is she responds to her customers. Starting with small purses and bags, the range has expanded to men’s ties, socks and cuff links, and then a customer asked for yoga pants.
Yoga pants? Why not? And now there’s a yoga mat and towel for those who want to not just celebrate the gifts of yoga but the gifts that lurk under the sea as well. Want something unique? Tick. Practical? Tick. Beautiful? Double tick. Her expanding array of clothing and collectables is a window into the teeming, vibrant underwater life that Benni so passionately explores.
“Being underwater is, for me, like meditation. It’s usually quiet, but you know, it can also be noisy. Some fish can be really loud, particularly reef fish. If they’re biting on coral, the noise amplifies under water. And every dive is memorable in some way. This year, I saw my first giant manta ray in Indonesia, and I was so excited I forgot to take a photo!”
Benni has conversations with an octopus. “The interactions you can have with other animals is incredible. With an octopus you can see them thinking: ‘What are you doing here?’ And you can have a bit of a game. It’s another world.”
She’ll show you the original photo she took that matches the macro detail of a print, and explain just why she chose that piece, that fish, that print. Her love of the sea and its myriad creatures echoes in her products, so you can be certain that if you’re looking for something special, that will give joy with every wear or use, look no further. It’s wearable art.
What’s her favourite design?
“The print from the spotted hand fish is my favourite – it’s endemic to Tassie and unfortunately endangered, and they’re small so quite hard to find. Getting a good photo is not easy. But I love the fine detail in the fin. For me, it’s nature at its most perfect.”
Stall site number: 309
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