Thank you, Iona Parris, for bringing your magic and joy to Fairgrounds! We’re huge fans!
Iona’s shell art practice started as a project to help her cope with PTSD after returning home from deployment in Kuwait. She needed an outlet to help her adjust to being home. One day, while looking at 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.
Combing the shore to hand-select shells for her artwork, Iona enhances their natural beauty, adorning them with feathers and upcycled jewelry paying homage to her Caribbean heritage.
She took on the nom de guerre Iona Parris to honor her grandmother, a woman whose elegance, luxurious taste, and love for the beach inform each work of art in her seashell collection. Iona’s work balances refined artisanship with the imperfections of natural material to spark excitement and celebrate uniqueness. Where others see flaws, Iona sees sparkles, using her creations to tell stories and embolden the human spirit.
The self-proclaimed Seashell Queen sees shells as her muses, and her seashell crowns are jubilant expressions of her source of inspiration. Her positive energy is contagious and it is near impossible to not feel uplifted in the presence of Iona and her artwork. Just as no two shells are alike, by working with found objects, no two works by Iona Parris are the same.
To learn more about Iona Parris: