South African-born artist Jennifer Maestre debuted on the art scene with her sea urchin-inspired sculptures made from colored pencils. Striking and textural with sharpened points to mimic an urchin's spines, Maestre began developing her own method for crafting creatures by cutting hundreds of pencils into 1-inch sections, drilling holes into each, and sewing them together using a peyote stitch technique.
She tried her hand at jewelry, initially crafting pendants as take-home tokens from her sculpture exhibitions. As they grew in popularity, Maestre expanded her collection to include pendants, pins and other wearable pieces representative of her work with colored pencils.
Inspired by wildlife, Ernst Haeckel, Odilon Redon and mythology, Maestre began her foray into prickly sculpture in the last year of her B.F.A. at Massachusetts College of Art, graduating in 1997. She earned her B.A. in Fine Arts and Economics at Wellesley College in 1981.