We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa Bixby and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Melissa, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve been creating art for a while. I’ve received my Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture but late 2019, around Christmas, I had this idea to put some of my batik images on a journal, mostly because I was about to buy a journal for the New Year and I figured why not make one with my own art on it. I really liked how they turned out so I posted about them on Instagram and they sold out within a couple days. . .that’s when I remember thinking “Huh, I think I could really do this!” Since then it’s been a HUGE learning process. Lots of trial and error but man it’s fun!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m endlessly inspired by the ocean. I grew up in Alaska and I believe my ocean obsession began there and I’m so grateful to my parents for introducing me to all that the ocean has to offer; beach combing, tide pooling, fishing, you name it we did it. I don’t have anything else in my life that I can do with such abandon. I don’t think twice about driving two hours at 5am to hit an epic low tide. I spend hours photographing tide pools only leaving when the incoming tide chases me off the rocks. When you can lose yourself so completely in something I believe you should pay attention to it. I’m continuously excited to explore MORE. I want to learn all about our intertidal zones and all the incredible life that dwells there. I want to capture all of it in a way that no one has seen before and inspire a love for this ecosystem in everyone that views my work. Easy? I have to say no, though I’ve enjoyed every step of it. I’ve created things I’m embarrassed of and I’ve put up poorly thought out shows but when you have a passion for something and you’re willing to keep working at it you WILL figure it out. Things will start to fall into place and that passion will finally shine through in your work. My biggest lesson is the most boring; keep showing up. If you keep creating you aren’t going to get worse, bottom line. I can’t stress enough how different every artistic journey will look. Especially now it is VERY easy to look around and see everyone else “succeeding” when I feel like I’m always failing but if you look more closely or find someone willing to share an honest story I’ve found that everyone struggles in one way or another. Focus on what YOU love and do that over and over and over. You can’t lose. I’m so passionate about the ocean. I know that sounds broad but it’s true. I’ve recently tasked myself with touching the ocean every single day. Whether it’s a full on dunk or just up to my ankles. That connection with that incredible body of water fuels me and my artistic passion. Now, 104 days in I can say without a doubt that this self set challenge has changed my art for the better. The more connected I feel the more inspired I am and it’s my only goal to increase and deepen that connection every single day.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh that’s easy, Port Townsend is the place I would go if I were to go anywhere in this state. . .maybe just anywhere, period. First we would dunk out at Fort Worden. December or July, we are getting in the water; then it’d be off to the Marine Science Center to visit our local GPO, Sylvia, he really loves interacting with people and I often just go and talk to him for a bit. Spending time on that pier always offers up some kind of entertainment; otters munching on crabs or rolling around on the beach, Kingfishers diving for little sparkling herring, seal swimming upside down tracking their prey and of course the occasional sea lion rushing along the shoreline through the schools of fish just off the eel grass beds. At that point lunch is on the mind and Port Townsend has no lack of wonderful food; so off to Manresa Castle to enjoy their uniquely Thai fusion menu, the best. Odds are there’s a festival of some kind happening, nearly every weekend throughout the summer, so we’d have to hit that up. Cruising Water Street to see the activities and costumes that this town takes such pride in. Thursday we’d hop on a couple paddle boards and hit the water. Paddling just off the beach to catch the Concerts On the Dock, a weekly concert that is best enjoyed from the water. After a quick dip off the paddle board on a hot day we’d swing back downtown to snag a drink at the local dive bar The Anchor and watch the ferry cruise by with a load of tourists. After enjoying the bustle of downtown it’d be back out to the Fort to hike through the miles of trails that offer open ocean views and historical bunkers. Sleep, get up and do it all again because no two days are the same here in Port Townsend, there’s always something unexpected waiting. . .

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Most definitely my husband, Patrick. I know that seems obvious but this guy has been there every single step of the way. Nursing me through self doubt, encouraging me to try new, scary things, hauling my art to markets hours away, letting me take over nearly our entire home for creating, packing and shipping. There’s nothing that man hasn’t done for me and my art and NOT A CHANCE I could do it without him and his unwaivering support.

Website: www.sacralocean.com

Instagram: @sacralocean

Twitter: @sacralocean

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sacralocean

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