Julia Richey‘s unique 3D mosaics might lend themselves to fashion, but the artist has deeper issues on her mind. After winning the Best 3-D Mosaic honors from the 2011 Mosaic Arts International, Richey commented on her haunting mosaic dress, La Corrente. “La Corrente is about beauty amidst destruction. It was created during the Gulf oil spill and it alludes to the many destructive forces, both man-made and natural, that creep in with the current.”

Made from a combination of seashells, marble and glass smalti, La Corrente is both opulent and earthen, embodying both the decadence of the intricate art form and the organic nature of movement. Emerald patterns across the body seem to sway and reflect like reeds of seaweed beneath the ocean’s surface, while thousands of protruding arms beneath the skirt appear like the tentacles of delicate corals and sea urchins, both protecting and grasping at the creatures that swim and live in their vicinity.