Tya Lewis aka “Iona Parris”
Fairgrounds St. Pete Project
Carnival Queen Seashell Crown, handpicked seashells, ostrich feathers, Acrylic paint, up-cycled jewelry, beads
Lady in Red Seashell Crown, handpicked seashells, Acrylic paint, up-cycled jewelry, gold plated metal feathers, beads
Jeweled Seashells, handpicked seashells, Acrylic paint, up-cycled jewelry
Iona Parris’ stunning found seashells creations are on view in Fairgrounds St. Pete’s Mermaid Dressing Room. Florida mermaids are known for their intricate costumes and Iona’s crowns and bejeweled shells are at the top of every mermaid’s covet list.
Seashell artist Iona Parris began her art journey in 2009 in Valdosta, Georgia, when she was in the US Air Force and just back from deployment in Kuwait. Iona was happy to be home, but struggling with PTSD. She needed an outlet to help her adjust to being home. One day, while looking seashells she collected on her desk, she got out her nail polish and started painting them different colors, discovering how relaxed it made her feel. She enjoyed how painting them gave them a different story and made them look even more beautiful than they already were. Iona shared her creations with family and friends, who encouraged her to pursue art full time, but first she needed a name. In homage to her grandmother, Princess Iona Parris, an elegant and classy woman who loved the beach and all things luxurious, Iona began using the name Iona Parris. Since then, many people have enjoyed Iona’s seashell artwork and jewelry, including movie and TV stars. As the self-proclaimed “Seashell Queen”, Iona’s mission is to continue to find and design the best seashells around world. Iona says, “seashells are my muses and adding allure and opulence to them is my passion.”