Have you ever dreamed of pink bananas? Blue lemons? Green mandarins? Getting inspiration from Memphis group playful aesthetic, but also from classical still life paintings, Devyn Ormsby creates beautiful objects of desire blurring the limits between fantasy and reality.
Based in Tauranga, a small beach town in New Zealand, Devyn Ormsby grew up on a dairy farm with a large family, being her mother her school teacher for a lot of her childhood: “She always made sure we had fun creative activities to do. One of my earliest memories of art is with her, printmaking a blue whale in red ink with koru waves around it. I always find a sense of freedom in art and an endless imagination you can get lost in.”
It was after graduating in Elam School of Fine Arts in 2015 when she started experimenting from liquid to solid with glass. It wasn’t, though, what you would describe as love at first sight: “I used to think of glass as chunky crafty pieces that would make me wonder: why anyone would make this? But after working with glass for the last few years and expanding my understanding, I definitely have a better appreciation for it and for people that work with it. I am intrigued by the process and how this informs the final piece. It is a mesmerizing material that even though unforgiving, after multiple fails and experimenting it can also be very rewarding.”
Drawing inspiration from the playfulness of the Memphis Group and the simplicity of subject matter in classical still life paintings, she started thinking about the vintage appeal of the chunky glass fruits she had seen in some second hand stores: how could she make her own glass fruits? After some research and work in the studio, eventually she came up with her very first fruit, a mandarin: “I carefully cut through the layers with low expectations and when I opened it I was surprised it had worked! That encouraged me to continue on with the rest of the them.”
Pink bananas, blue lemons, pink pears... They are just fascinating to the eye --the colours, the forms, the translucent quality of the solid crystal glass- although images can’t fully capture the magic of her pieces. “I often wonder what people think when they see them in person compared to an image. For me touch is a big part of them, because they are quite heavy and maybe not what people expect when going to pick one up. The smooth texture is also a nice sensation to feel.”
Like perfect eye-candies from a fantastical garden of other-worldly delights, Devyn’s fruits show at their best when interacting with light. While ROWSE shampoos’ smells and vivid colours bring us back to nature, the realistic shapes and the translucent colours of Devyn's glass fruits are meant to interact with light and inspire creativity. As a result of our collaboration, photographed in this series by Nuria Val and Coke Bartrina, a fantastical universe where to activate the senses, play with perception and reflect on all the beauty, and fun, that art and nature bring to our lives.
Portrait and process photography by Sophia Bayly
Still life photography by Coke Bartrina