Wind & Water: Antilles

Images courtesy of Shayna Leib

In her "Wind and Water" series, glass artist Shayna Leib channels the movements and lighting found in oceans, storms and aquatic life.

Using a glassblowing technique known as caneworking, Leib creates her wild, sea anemone-like sculptures with tens of thousands of individually hand-pulled glass canes. It's this painstaking process that allows her to incorporate intricate patterns and custom colors into her work.

It's surprising for someone who is so passionate about the oceans and the fascinating aquatic creatures that live there, but Leib struggled with a phobia of deep water for most of her life. It was only recently that this imaginative glassblower overcame her fear and took up diving as a hobby.

Today, she continues to churn out her magnificent work out of her studio in Madison, Wisconsin, while also honing her skills as a diver — she even got her certification for deep-sea diving and night diving. As her relationship with diving has deepened, her work has changed along with it.

The work above, titled "Antilles," is inspired by the creatures that live in the warm water current that flows between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Continue below to see and learn more about some of Leib's sculptures or check out her website to see her entire portfolio.

Wind & Water: Stiniva

"Stiniva I"

Leib became captivated with the flow of water while on a trip to Croatia, and did her best to recreate this feeling in her Stiniva series. She explains:

"During a sailing trip, I came upon one of the most beautiful and remote coves on our planet, Stiniva on the island of Vis in Croatia. I dove off our sailboat, swam through the narrow opening to the cove, and stood upon a beach renowned for its high cliffs and crystal clear waters. The color of the water was unlike anything I’ve seen before, part blue, part green, part white."
Wind & Water: Six Species

"Six Species"

Created on commission with proceeds given to animal rescue charities, this piece portrays six striking aquatic species: Polyp anemones, hard coral, sea fans, soft coral, nudibranch and seagrass.

Wind & Water: The Nor'easters

"The Nor'easters"

The power and violent beauty of seasonal storms on the East Coast sparked this frosty series.

Wind & Water: Azores

"Azores"

The Azores Current off the coast of Portugal is known for its "high eddy kinetic energy," and Leib brings that to life in this piece.

Wind & Water:

"Two Seas"

This piece is inspired by the country of Bahrain, which is famous for its world-class diving and thriving marine life, including soft coral, scroll coral, seagrasses and goniopora polyps. The title "Two Seas" is taken from the literal translation of the country's name.

Wind & Water: Crevice

"Crevice" — Maquette (left) and final (right)

The final incarnation of this piece, which is 6 feet tall, represents Leib's shift towards larger, freestanding sculptures.

Wind & Water: Sunset Over the Tundra

"Sunset Over The Tundra"

Wind & Water: Converge

"Converge"

Wind & Water: Flux

"Flux"

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.