About The Artist
Each piece of art is created using seaweed specifically chosen from the ocean by the artist. Corinna then creates the unique compositions that you see here. The colors are naturally occurring and illustrate the timeless beauty of nature.
Corinna Kaufman discovered the magnificent seaweed she uses in her art while spearfishing with her parents as a young child on Martha’s Vineyard. When she was a preteen, Corinna came upon a green seaweed bookmark which was being sold at a bookstore. She was immediately inspired, and began making Seaweed Art Cards. A few years later, on a visit to Gay Head, the renowned Life and Time magazine photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, bought all of her cards and asked to “meet the artist.” Even though she never met him, Corinna had a telephone call with him many years later and was happily surprised that he not only remembered buying all of her cards, but that he was so enthusiastic about how beautiful they were. His letter to her can be seen on her website’s Testimonials page.
Fiber, Mixed Media, Photography, Prints and Printmaking
Exhibitions & Press
How to Quit Whatever You Want to Quit:
Ten Steps to Overcoming Lifelong Addictions
Novato Artist’s Seaweed Art Celebrates Marine Plants’ Beauty
Courtesy of Corinna Kaufman
Novato’s Corinna Kaufman creates seaweed art.
By COLLEEN BIDWILL | firstname.lastname@example.org | Marin Independent Journal
It was just happenstance that Corinna Kaufman stumbled upon a green seaweed bookmark one day while browsing in a bookstore in Massachusetts as a child. But, it was the inspiration that propelled her into collecting seaweed she found nearby her home on Martha’s Vineyard and transforming it into art.
The self-taught artist began making seaweed art cards at a young age, which caught the attention of renowned photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, when he came across them and bought all that were available.
After various jobs over the years, the Novato resident threw herself back into seaweed art later in life, returning to her roots with seaweed art cards, as well as creating larger-scale compositions and prints of handpicked seaweed on paper and canvas she makes in her home studio. Her creations, which don’t alter the seaweed in any way, are meant to showcase the marine plants’ natural beauty. They can found at Copperfield’s Books in Novato and the Bay Model in Sausalito, as well as on her website at seaweedartist.com.
In addition to her art, Kaufman wrote a book, “How to Quit Whatever You Want to Quit: Ten Steps to Overcoming Lifelong Addictions,” after overcoming a 20-year eating disorder and addictive tendencies. The 2004 book is a personal look at her healing journey in which she offers advice and a step-by-step process for people suffering from addiction.
Corinna Kaufman’s seaweed creations showcase its natural beauty.
Q What is it about seaweed that’s captured your heart since childhood?
A My parents were spear fishermen from Europe. I was 5 weeks old the first time I was on the beach. The first time I looked in the water, I was in awe with how beautiful it was, and then as soon as I was swimming with my parents, I noticed the beautiful pink and purple seaweeds that were in the water. And when my parents would shoot fish, it was my job to gather a handful of seaweed. After killing the fish, I would cover them with seaweed. I started playing with seaweed even before I saw the green bookmark.
Q What inspired your seaweed art later in life?
A I was in living in Fairfax. I had just gotten over a 20-year eating disorder. I was 36 years old, and my life was ahead of me. Imagine having like a ball and chain on each foot and each wrist and being unable to live as a normal person, and all of a sudden, life was possible. I thought to myself, what do I like to do? What am I good at? I am good at seaweed art and I remembered Alfred and I called him to see if he remembered me and, lo and behold, he did. He got all excited and we had a lovely chat.
Q What do you want people to get from your work?
A I want them to help me help save nature by seeing its beauty. I want to share the excitement that I have about the ocean with kids. I want to take them to the beach and show them the beautiful things in the sand and the seaweed and get them excited about it, because if they are excited about it, they’ll want to save it.
Time Life Building
New York, New York 10020
June 29, 1989
Ms. Corinne Majno 780 Center Blvd. #1 Fairfax, CA 94930
Dear Ms. Majno:
Thank you for your letter of June 21st and the lovely seaweed card.
My work is exhibited this year again at The Granary Gallery, West Tisbury, Massachusetts 02575, telephone 800-343-0471. If you call them, ask for Bruce or Brandy and tell them that I referred them to you because I found your work outstanding.
Article from http://www.mvtimes.com
Colorful seaweed turns into abstract art at historic home in Aquinnah
If you’ve made a trip up to Aquinnah recently, you may have noticed an unusual sign: “Fine Seaweed Art Show.” If you follow the road to the home of Corinna Majno-Kaufman, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the unique natural artwork to be found adorning the walls of the historic home’s dining room.
Ms. Kaufman uses a variety of colorful seaweed to create abstract works of art. Each piece features either a single sample or a small cluster of various plant types, with all of the intricate branches skillfully laid out to mimic the appearance of the seaweed floating in the ocean.
Anyone who’s tried to scoop up one of these lovely blooms from the water, only to find it morphing into an amorphous blob of slime once removed from its natural element, will be impressed with Ms. Kaufman’s work. Through years of trial and error she has found methods for maintaining the beauty, intricacy, and color of the plants in a dried three-dimensional form.
It’s wonderful to see something with such delicate, ephemeral beauty preserved for posterity. All of the tendrils, fronds, and branches are spread out in perfect imitation of their appearance in their natural element. Perusing Ms. Kaufman’s collection, one is struck by the variety of vegetation found in the ocean. The colors tend toward the pinks, but with a wide range of hues, from vivid rose to a sort of brownish-pink mauve. The pieces have almost the look of dried flower arrangements, but with a more abstract quality.
The friendly Ms. Kaufman is always eager to talk about her work, although she does maintain a few trade secrets. Her methods and materials for mounting the plants have been developed through almost obsessive experimentation beginning when she was 11 years old. She was initially inspired by the work of beloved seaweed artist Rose Treat, who died in 2011. Ms. Treat’s work differs from Ms. Kaufman’s in that she used seaweed more as a medium to create figurative and abstract “drawings.”
Ms. Kaufman, who grew up partly on the Vineyard, had her first big break as an artist at 15 when her work was praised by no less than legendary photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt. The Life magazine staff photographer, who had a home in Menemsha, discovered Ms. Kaufman’s seaweed cards during a visit to the Gay Head Cliffs. He bought the entire stock, and told the store’s proprietor, Lucille Vanderhoop, that he wanted to meet the artist.
“She told me that some guy from Time-Life bought all of my cards,” recalls Ms. Kaufman. “I didn’t know who he was, but my mother did.”
Although she never did get a chance to meet Eisenstaedt, she made a connection with the National Medal of Arts recipient years later. “Life happens,” says Ms. Kaufman. “Nineteen years later I was living in California, and was thinking that I needed to do something that makes me feel good. I remembered how much I loved doing seaweed art on the Vineyard. I decided that I needed a reference, so I called up Time-Life and asked for Mr. Eisenstadt. I said, ‘This is going to sound strange, but do you remember 19 years ago in Gay Head buying all of my seaweed cards?’ He said, ‘Oh yes. They are beautiful.’ We had a nice chat about my seaweed cards, and I asked if he would write me a referral. I sent him one of my cards, and he replied: ‘Thank you for your letter of June 21, and your lovely seaweed card. My work is exhibited this year again at the Granary Gallery. If you call them, ask for Bruce or Bandy, and tell them that I referred them to you because I found your work outstanding.’”
Ms. Kaufman eventually returned to the Vineyard and kept up with her artwork. In the meantime, she developed her own program of recovery based on steps she used to battle a longtime eating disorder. She went on to become a practicing alchemical hypnotherapist, as well as a guided imagery practitioner, and has now published an ebook titled “How to Quit Whatever You Want to Quit, Ten Steps to Overcoming Lifelong Addictions.”
Ms. Kaufman is a long-term resident of Aquinnah. She lives with her husband in an 1800s building that once housed the Gay Head Inn, and she considers the Vineyard her only true home. “I took my first step here on the beach,” she says. “I stayed in Uncle Charlie Vanderhoop’s chicken coop as a child.”
“Since I was here very early on, I want to give back to the community,” says Ms. Kaufman. “I feel that I can do that in two ways. One is in showing people the beauty that is all around us in the ocean — things that you may not even see — and the other is through emotional healing. I have spent 40 years doing that.”
Seaweed Fine Art is located at 2 Mariner’s View Lane, Aquinnah (off Lighthouse Road), and can be viewed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 10am to 7 pm, May 10 – July 27, 2019. Or call 415-887-8456 for a special viewing time. Information about her teachings and book can be found at corinnakaufman.com.
Self taught Seaweed Artist beginning at age 11.