Artist brings whimsy, ecological consciousness to Sawgrass Village


Pineapple Post opened its doors for another premium artist Nov. 17, welcoming Mariposa Founder and Creative Director Livia Cowan to the Sawgrass Village storefront for a personalized gift event.

Known for her use of earth conscious techniques, recycled materials and elegant design, Cowan joined Pineapple Post owner Susan Hamilton as they ushered in guests for an afternoon of wine, appetizers and free engravings. Cowan first fell in love with the craft during a trip to Mexico 30 years ago. After returning to her home in Massachusetts, car stuffed with recycled glassware, Cowan took to her parent’s garage-turned-design-studio to get to work.

Today, her collections of crafted dinnerware, serving platters, picture frames and gifts line shelves all over the country, counting Pineapple Post alongside the likes of Bloomingdales -- and the appeal, Cowan says, is wide-reaching.

“I think the reason Mariposa is able to resonate with customers everywhere is because of the imagery,” she said. “We use a lot of cute, relatable iconography with our products that are reflective their own interests and lives … things that will mean something to them personally, no matter where they are.”

Cowan also noted the ambiguity of the line, whose neutral colors, unpretentious metals and hammered appearance often straddles the line between classic and contemporary, simple and elegant. The collection of soft polished aluminum and marble serving platters, utensils cleverly crafted into nautical shapes and sculpted pearl pieces that adorn the gift store’s shelves are particularly popular amongst young brides and millennials.

According to Hamilton, that versatility made Pineapple Post the perfect home for the founder’s collection. The line of aluminum and recycled glass pieces sculpted into the likeness of seashells, palm trees and starfish was particularly appealing to Ponte Vedra-based Mariposa admirers.

“There’s a lot of reasons I think (Cowan’s line) appeals to people,” Hamilton said. “But I think one of the biggest draws is the materials and the designs; we don’t have many artists who use this nautical iconography anymore, and people here really care about being earth-friendly. That’s extremely important to Livia and it’s important to our customers.”

Cowan herself cites those ecologically-conscious methods she’s known for as inspiration. Beginning with the first batch of items handcrafted from Coke bottles towed from her first trip to Mexico to the lightweight, specially colored clay she and Mariposa sculptor Michael Updyke are considering for an upcoming collection, that eco-friendly tag is one she carries with pride.

“I think the reason it’s so important to me is because … for me, using environmentally friendly materials is a way we can make the day today beautiful,” she said. “The first materials I used (at Mariposa’s inception) were recycled glass, it’s how I got my start. And it’s something I believed in very deeply.”

That belief is one Cowan hopes she’s able to pass on to her customers through the design and functionality that make each piece.

“I do try to create things that people can see themselves in, and things that won’t negatively impact the environment that they’re made in,” she said. “And I feel so fortunate that … I’m able to work with and for people with those same ideas.”