Text, photography and art courtesy of Erik Speer.
“I started off making basic macrame pieces about 5 years ago. I never started off with the intention of making pieces that resemble the underwater world. It just came about naturally. My first couple pieces were conglomerations of different materials and textures that I found interesting and people’s responses were always that it reminded them of coral reefs. I took that feedback and figured that I had found a way to really transfer my love of the underwater world to a medium that allowed me to share my scuba diving experiences with other people.”
“When I was in college I decided to drop out and move to Honduras to become a scuba instructor. For the next 2 years I traveled the globe teaching diving and seeing coral reefs that were both thriving and dying. I had to stop diving so much because I burst both my eardrums and risked losing my hearing for good if I kept diving daily. Those days of scuba diving are some of my most cherished memories and I love to think back on them and try to recreate the reefs and feelings I got from diving. My work is less about recreating the corals exactly as they are, but more about recreating the intrigue and wonder that diving on the reefs brought me. I want to make people curious about the underwater world and actively want to learn more and explore it on their own.”
“Yarns and fabrics were literally given to me when I was working in the fashion industry in NYC. There is such an excess of material in that industry that they are often thrown out or just left on shelves to collect dust. It was the material that I had access to so I decided to see what I could possibly do with it. It’s a great material that allows me to create unlimited amounts of textures and shapes.”
“One square foot of a piece might contain 100 little knit “corals” where each piece took me 30 minutes to make. I usually give myself about 2 months to work on a piece. I really pride myself on making every little thing on a piece. I have been told I should outsource making sections of a piece that way I can produce more work within a year. However I don’t think the work would be the same. Anytime I feel rushed or questioned why I don’t take shortcuts to finish a piece quicker I just think about how long and coral reef takes to grow and thrive.”
“I definitely do not get to dive as much I would like. Usually just when I am on holiday. It is always a joy to get back underwater but it never lives up to when I was diving the same reef sometimes twice a day for months on end. Diving once at a site is amazing, but seeing a site day after day opens your eyes to the underwater world and how a reef is really a community that exists together.”
“I am really inspired by the feeling and experience that SCUBA gave me and I hope my work brings a little bit of that to the viewer.”
Born and raised in New Mexico, Erik Speer, moved to South Carolina at 15 and graduated from College of Charleston with a degree in marine biology. Went on a two year world tour teaching scuba diving. Suffered a diving accident and returned to the States and enrolled at Parsons. Graduated in December 2015 with an associate science degree in fashion design and began working in the industry. Was unfulfilled by the hands off design aspect of most fashion design so started experimenting with macrame and fiber arts. Currently focusing more on the fiber arts and experimenting with what is possible with it. Currently living in Georgia working as a full time artist.
Sea Lions of Los Islotes
The Jewel of Espiritu Santo Island
by Luke Inman. Foreword Steve Backshall
Visitors cannot help but be enchanted by the sea lions of Los Islotes. They emanate finesse and charm without a hint of illusion or wizardry. There is no incantation or voodoo, just an abounding sense of play that inspires every visitor.
When it comes to wild animal encounters, Los Islotes is almost nirvana. Few places so close to a city can truly offer such a convenient and accessible opportunity to interact with Mother Nature in her untamed state. California sea lions are the main residents, strangely thriving in a place so accessible to tourists.
Initial introductions begin at the surface; encounters are then formalized below the water as Poseidon’s ocean ambassadors exuberantly whiz towards and around diver and snorkeler alike.
With vivid underwater photography throughout by a uniquely positioned author, The Sea Lions of Los Islotes takes readers straight into the world of these most charismatic marine mammals. The book contents include: A Foreword by Steve Backshall; how to tell different sea lions apart; what their lifestyle is like; their lifecycle; how to have safe interactions; the challenges sea lions face; other visitors to the area; and how to photograph sea lions.
About the author
Luke Inman is an award-winning Instructor Trainer, natural history filmmaker, photographer, writer and explorer. His work includes the BBC’s Planet Earth 3, Netflix’s Our Planet and advertising campaigns. Luke is the Owner and Operator of The Dive Gurus — the only PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Learn about Inman’s story here: Confessions of a Lifestyle Image Maker
Release date 25 October 2022 | RRP £25 | Paperback | ISBN 978-1-909455-49-8 | 136 pages | 246 x 189 mm.
Available now from Divedup.com, online and from retailers
Review copies on request – please contact Alex Gibson: email@example.com
Thank You to Our Sponsors
The Top Stories of 2022
We kick off the New Year with 10 hand-curated stories from our growing sea of content. They represent some of...