By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
ST CROIX — Considering her surname, you’d expect Crucian textile artist’s Debbie Sun’s work to be bright and colorful and her disposition to be unfailingly positive. And you’d be right.
Just one look at her work, the most recent of which can be seen at Christiansted’s Hotel Caravelle, (where her fabrics are featured on the beds, adding a pop of color to the newly renovated neutral-hued rooms; in the casino and; in a striking ceiling installation in the lobby) and you can immediately sense the vibrant spirit not only of the Caribbean, but of the optimistic artist herself.
Raised on St Croix, where her 8th-grade art teacher encouraged her talents, Sun is a trained architect who has also worked as a real estate agent and tour guide, and lived in California and Barcelona. But it’s art, she says, that ultimately makes her happy, and her USVI home that constantly inspires her.
Seeing everything through the eyes of a photographer, Sun is inspired by St. Croix’s Danish colonial architecture and by the patterns in nature.
“I see details in everything. A leaf, for example, is so much more than it’s shape,” she says. “I see its intricate patterns on a microscopic level, and I love to layer those patterns and to play with the idea of transparency in my work.”
Sun first paints her patterns, many of which originate from digitally manipulated photographs that she takes, on small pieces of material (usually silk).
And then, through the process of digital sublimation, they’re printed on large bolts of fabric that she fashions into wearable pieces such as scarves and sarongs; home accessories such as throw pillows; or as individual artistic fabric installations.
“I see details in everything.”
Sun currently sells stationery, table linens and a collection of pillows on her eponymous website, each printed with her custom designs. Colorful and unique, they’re a made-in-the-tropics marriage of form and function that adds a welcome dose of art to any home.