By Abby Haddock

Doris Roussel has called the Keys home since 1970, but is a recent addition to Shady Palm Art Gallery & Photography in Marathon. Her family came to visit from Canada when Doris was 10, and during that visit her parents decided they were going to stay in the Keys, where it’s “beach day every day.” She has been working on her ceramic art for a couple years. Each ceramic piece in the Orchid House, her brand, is unique, and shows a keen attention to detail, which keeps each piece looking very natural and organic.

Roussel started creating ceramic pieces as something fun and therapeutic. Now, her art includes bowls, wind chimes, bird feeders, jewelry, jewelry holders, and wall and table decorations. Many could be displayed both indoors and outdoors.

Some of the most eye-catching pieces are the delicate flowers Roussel recreates in her pieces. The beautiful passion flowers are surrounded by colorful butterflies, which she explained is one of the important roles of these tiny wild flowers.

“People don’t notice what wildflowers grow here, you have to look closely for passion flowers and orchids,” she said, and explained that not only are they lovely, but also important as a butterfly flower.

The orchids in particular are deeply meaningful to Roussel, as they were something that she and her daughter both loved. Following the passing of Roussel’s son and daughter, these orchids are “a good memory,” she said. The delicate detail of each individual flower really shows the thought and love that go into this craft.

Roussel said one of her greatest inspirations is Georgina Hosek, a fellow artist displayed at Shady Palm, who also creates art expressing the bright colors and unique nature of the Keys.

Before each piece is started, Roussel said she sees something in the clay and just makes it from there. “Making pieces is fun,” she said. “I don’t plan when I make a piece, I let the clay make the piece.”

This lets the organic and natural details of her pieces shine, from small nicks in the edge of a banana leaf to the indentation marks of a local fern. One piece combines the broad leaf of a sea grape with the fine detail of a sea grape flower, which illustrates beautifully her concept of “take nature, and play with it.” Roussel knows her local plants, and has been helping people in the plant section of Home Depot in Marathon.

For her next work she plans to make pots for plants. Roussel and her work can be found at the Shady Palm. “Every artist has their own take on art and life,” says Roussel about Shady Palm. “Everyone can come in and enjoy.” Shady Palm is located at 2888 Overseas Hwy. Marathon. The phone number is 305-998-4165.

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