For the last seven years, UK artist Michaela Raeburn has lived an amazing expatriate life on the island of Crete, funding her lifestyle by working as a professional artist and selling her artworks to the many tourists that visit the island.
“As far as I can tell my Seashell Mosaic Collages are unique,” she says, and, “I have seven years of sales history that charts their success and popularity. ” Michaela sells her seashell and sand creations 3 days a week through the 5 summer months of the year– offering her artworks from her stall at the edge of the beach at Almyrida Beach Resort. Plus she exhibits them in yearly exhibitions on the Harbour Front in Chania. She does commissioned work too and Michaela has sold her mixed media artworks to local residents and tourists from all over the world. “The majority of my customers being British, closely followed by the Americans, Scandinavians and Europeans. I also have the benefit of public opinion that spans 7 years of direct selling, which has all been very positive and encouraging. I know that my art makes people smile! I’ve had so many compliments and congratulations for my art and lots of these came from people who loved my artworks but couldn’t afford to buy one.” In once such instance, Michaela helped a local charity called Sara’s Hope Foundation by showing some of their children how to make their own seashell mosaic art.
“My seashell mosaic collages should really be viewed in reality, in order to be fully appreciated. I believe that when seen through the internet, people don’t get the 3-dimensional effect, nor can they feel the textures that make up my designs–” however, for the first time, Michaela Raeburn offers over 80 artwork designs, made primarily with natural mixed media materials, in her new Etsy shop Seashell Beauty in Art where you can purchase them from wherever you are in the world.
Michaela describes her art practice as “Working with Nature.” She has had a lifelong passion for art and nature– “I wanted to blend the two together, to create a unique way to showcase and preserve what we so easily take for granted. The natural materials I use are whole seashells, sand, moss, feathers, wood, stones and other natural elements. Apart from a foundation course in Art and Design, I’ve had no formal training,” says Michaela, “Instead I have enjoyed a rewarding career in the Advertising, Design and Marketing Industry both in London and Manchester. My career taught me the value of anything that is unique. Around 9 years ago, circumstances changed and my life started to take on a new direction. I had some ideas for a new kind of art using natural materials blended with acrylic painting to form realistic 3-dimensional images on canvas and around the sides.
To date Michaela has sold 2,261 artworks–including seascapes and beach scenes, people, animals, birds, sea life, architecture, a star sign series, and custom work.
“There is a degree of skill involved in creating the mosaics as I won’t use broken shells. This means I have had to amass a vast quantity of seashells in all sizes because I won’t break them to fit the spaces. The seashells are sourced from all over the world and some are extremely difficult to acquire. Apart from one or two exceptions, all the seashells in my artworks are their natural colours. Laying the sand is also a difficult process and I am still discovering new techniques.”
Michaela Raeburn currently writes a blog Wonderful New Life on Crete where she also displays some of her artworks.
In order to keep up with the high demand for her collages, Michaela has to put every hour she can into producing her designs and developing new ideas!
She is excited to share her new Etsy shop to broaden her marketplace beyond only the small tourist destination near Chania in Crete where tourists shop at her stall.