Maggi first visited Koh Phangan for 4 days in 2003 during the time she was living on Koh Phayam,
“We made a trip here and to Samui and when I was here I said to myself that if I ever live on an island again I will live on Koh Phangan and here I am 11 years later”.
You have lived in Chang Mai before also?
Yes for 7 years…
Is that where you started your art?
I started to work with shells. On my dog walks I saw the shells laying around and thought they were so beautiful and I collected them for 3 months and then had a huge mountain and no idea what to do with them.
I built a guest house and covered a whole wall with them, using soft cement and sticking them in and since then I just never stopped collecting shells. I then started to paint them and that was the beginning of the whole thing.
What is it about shells that attracts you?
The form, it’s the form of the universe, it’s an absolutely perfect form. My other symbol is a sphere and they are just perfect.
What’s the inspiration for the paintings on the shells?
I don’t think, I just start and then something happens. I have been painting about 10,000 shells now and no shell is ever the same.
It’s amazing how many designs can come up, you have the form of the shell which is always the same, it’s really interesting.
What made you attach them together and make them decorative?
One came after the other, that was the idea in the beginning was to make garlands, they are not just for hanging you can lay them on the table. They are very beautiful with a background or on a curtain.
Is there a difference with shells in Chang Mai and shells on Phangan?
Oh yes of course because of the ocean, in Chang Mai you have sweet water snail shells or houses and then here everything is almost from the ocean. I also collect land snails and have really big examples.
Has it made you more interested in the creatures that used inhabit them?
Well I don’t need them so no not really, I just work with the leftovers.
What do you enjoy about koh phangan?
I have only free time, my work really, I just need to do my work. It’s my meditation, my grounding and keeps me in the nature which is fantastic.
And leave us with your life philosophy?
Simpleness, this is coming to my head, live a simple lifestyle and see what is around you.
You can find Maggi's art at Phanganist Hostel, come have a look!