Liz Marsh for Moda Operandi (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
Liz Marsh Designs hand-formed scalloped dinner plate, $300 (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
Liz Marsh Designs hand-made porcelain flora vase, $220 (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
Liz Marsh Designs hand-made faux bois cachepots (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
Liz Marsh Designs hand-formed vase. (Photo by Pär Bengtsson)
Liz Marsh has a bug problem. “When I lived in France, I bought all of the boxes of antique entomology specimens I could get my hands on,” she says. “And, seeing all of the wonderful natural history museums throughout Europe, with their bug and beetle collections — all that natural world spoke so deeply to me.” The Houston-based artist is also obsessed with dishes — she has a collection of antique French Moustiers pottery plates — so the idea to design her own tabletop collection featuring charming little insects has been percolating for a long time.
Last year, she began sculpting her first tabletop pieces by hand, including a faux-bois pottery cachepot studded with tiny handmade bees, beetles, caterpillars, and other insects. Marsh posted a photo of it on Instagram, and within minutes, she had a FaceTime request from Lauren Santo Domingo, co-founder of Moda Operandi, the stylish website that cultivates fashion and home decor from designers around the world. “Lauren fell in love with the little bugs,” Marsh says. “She also really likes the perfect imperfection of the handmade quality of my pottery.”
Santo Domingo quickly placed an initial order for Marsh’s garden-inspired collection, which has launched on Moda Operandi in time for the holidays, with a larger collection to debut Spring 2022. Faux-bois cachepots, vases, cake stands, plates, platters, teacups, and saucers all teem with charming ants, dragonflies, ladybugs, beetles, crickets, and other insects, along with an occasional sprig of tarragon or flowering muguet. Marsh builds each piece by hand in earthenware, porcelain, or stoneware, and designs and sculpts the tiny insects, some of which are glazed in 22K gold or mother-of-pearl iridescence. Like everything in the natural world, “each is a unique work of art; nothing is exactly the same,” Marsh says.