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A Vibrant View of the Sea

Pictured Above: Allison Bramhall

Alison Bramhall exudes energy. The Yarmouth native is a self-taught artist whose works offer vibrant views of the Maine coast and the species found there. Her company, Festive Fish, produces a variety of marine-inspired products, from cards and dish towels to pillows and custom-painted oars. Bramhall grew up sailing with her family. “We’d sail from Portland up to Mount Desert Island every summer. My dad would wash our hair on deck with the water hose. I lived in my bathing suit,” she recalled. Making art came naturally to her. “I would copy the comics page while my dad and sister watched football,” she recalled. “And then I started painting barrettes.” With support from her mother, Bramhall picked up several accounts in Portland for her hand-painted barrettes; she was just 14 at the time.

Chart of Jonesport (A. Bramhall)

Since then, Bramhall has turned her eye for color and design to just about anything. First it was hand-painted boxer shorts, then furniture, silk ties, and assorted baby items. She worked in Boston, then on the West Coast, finally returning to Maine. Along the way she developed a deep love of travel and kayaking, visiting far-flung places such as Palau, Ireland, and Alaska. She began her company, Festive Fish (www.festivefish.net) in 1997, well before the age of Internet marketing, building her business via word of mouth.

Crustacean place-mats (A. Bramhall)

Bramhall typically starts her creative process with a card and then digitizes the image for reproduction on different products. She also does custom creations, such as brightly decorated oars and interior murals. The signature element in all of her work is a striking use of strong, saturated colors reflecting her views of the marine world. “My connection to the ocean is essential. Being out there, it detoxes my body and clears my mind,” she said.

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