Next on my list of thoroughly interesting people is Ulrike Stancil-Martinez, better known to most of us as Ully, or on Flickr as Ullybby.
Born and raised in Germany, Ully went to Dental School and received her Bachelor of Science degree before moving permanently to the US. She first moved out to Georgia in 1969, choosing to live in Atlanta and Savannah, where her daughter – who seems to have not only inherited her good looks, but also her creative abilities – was born. Nowadays she can be found residing in Palm Springs CA, where she has been living for the past 18 years. Previous to this, though, she lived in Avalon on Catalina Island for 4 years – which I must say is a curiosity as I have ties to the island aswell! She claims that her time spent on Catalina were some of the best years of her life.
Ully dabbled in fashion design even sewing the clothes themselves, modeling, painting murals, some interior design and also has a license in manicure and desktop-publishing.
Ully discovered mosaics quite by accident about two years ago (this is becoming a theme with us all!). Her husband brought home large marble tiles that were left over from some houses he was building. “I just did not have the heart to throw them away and then it hit me! I went on the internet and looked at mosaics but had no idea how to make them…”. Ully was so anxious to start that she just jumped right in. Her first mosaic was a seahorse that she installed in the shower of her bathroom.
She found that her experience as a dental technician came in handy with her mosaics as both take a huge amount of attention to detail. In 1999, Ully suffered extensive injuries to both her arms, preventing her from continuing her dental career. She was well known as a great dentist and her clients, still to this day, tell her she’s the best! 🙂 “I was a mess until the magic marble appeared and mosaic came into my Life”.
Ully is entirely self-taught. Can you imagine that?! When I asked her if she’d taken any courses, her response almost seemed self conscious that she had in fact not and has solely learned from books and “lots of bloody fingers from the hammer and hardie”… Conversely, I would have to say that it makes me that much more in awe of her work!
Inspiration for her comes from things that are around her. Not necessarily directly either, some things around her will evoke a memory – her time spent when she used to walk in the woods, the certain colour of a stone, the layout of a magazine, even a TV show! They can all inspire her in some way where she must immediately put pencil to paper and sketch the image in her mind.
When I asked her what her advice (if any) would be, she replied , “If I could give advice to somebody about anything and I can with 61 years – I have lived a little – follow your heart, but do not forget to use your mind also. These two go hand in hand. If you follow your brain only, you end up unhappy and same goes with only following your heart. If you use both heart and mind, happiness is guaranteed.”
You can find more of her mosaics on her website and I’ve included some of my favourites below.
And some pieces that have not (yet?) been finished, but that I just adore!
Finally, meet Ully: