Art aboard AMALegro: Epilogue

Towel elephant
Towel elephant

There was one additional School of Art on our cruise that we should mention: Towel Sculpture.

This type of art has been around for a number of years, though not for as long as the Impressionism of Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne. It’s especially popular on cruise ships, where it has been refined to a high art form. The sculptors who practice it create a menagerie of whimsical animals, exhibited on passengers’ beds each day in their staterooms.

A towel turtle, a la Marius Stoian, towel sculptor
A towel turtle, a la Marius Stoian, towel sculptor

The AMALegro was no exception. Every afternoon Marius Stoian, 28, a charming Romanian who served our stateroom, left behind a new towel sculpture depicting creatures at an ever higher evolutionary stage. He began with a simple snail. The next day when we came back from our art class we found a turtle. The day after that came two kissing swans. Marius was stepping up his game.

The following day we found an elephant with a tightly curled trunk and big floppy ears. And on the last day, to our great amusement, a giant ape with piercing black eyes was hanging in our room from a clothes hanger.Two kissing swans

Where did Marius learn this unusual art form?

“One of my colleagues taught me,” he smiled. “Before I signed onto this job, I never thought I had any art talent.”

We knew the feeling. That had been our sentiment exactly when we took our first onboard art class.

Could this school of art be something we might pursue ourselves if our fine arts careers faltered?

A terrycloth ape hangs from a skirt-pants hanger in our stateroom, courtesy of artisan Stoian
A terrycloth ape hangs from a skirt/pants hanger in our stateroom, courtesy of artisan Stoian

Curious, we asked him if he could give us a little art instruction. And — like our art teacher, Elizabeth Grebler — Marius showed us the first few steps of Sculpting by Towel.

Elizabeth had instructed us to brush in the sky first; Marius instructed us to lay the towel down on the bed first. Elizabeth showed us how to fill in the water next; Marius showed us how to make the first fold next.

From that point on, we were in over our heads with Marius, watching in awe as he rolled, folded, crimped and tucked his terrycloth medium — hands moving at lightning speed — AAinto the form of a recognizable animal.

For a gallery of his work, see photos below. We’ve decided to stick to oils.

Photos and video by Timothy Leland

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