Festive Fish Brings the Sea into Your Home

Yarmouth maker Alison Bramhall aims to capture the spirit of her salty outdoor adventures. A Down East Shop maker spotlight.

Festive Fish
By Liz Niznik

Alison Bramhall, the designer behind the colorful décor brand Festive Fish, is driven to find brightness wherever she can. Born and raised in Falmouth, she grew up sailing with her family, and these days, she nourishes her sense of adventure navigating inlets and archipelagos in her sea kayak. The joy she finds on her trips is reflected in her vibrant designs, which often incorporate island charts and sea creatures. She’s also a biker, skier, and hiker who loves the mountains, but her “first love,” she says, “is the ocean and all the things, salty and wet, who live and play in it.” That sense of play is at the heart of her brand. “We all escape to the sea,” Bramhall says. “Why not bring the sea into your home?”

Bramhall has been cultivating the Festive Fish aesthetic since she was 14 years old and selling hand-painted barrettes at school. When she couldn’t find the perfect store-bought cards or gifts for loved ones, she started making her own unique and colorful alternatives, and Festive Fish, then only selling hand-painted cards, was officially born in the same spirit in 1989. Now, more than three decades later, the one-woman shop, now based in Yarmouth, continues to create new designs inspired by Bramhall’s adventures around the state. 

Festive Fish designs still tend to begin on cards, Bramhall says, before being adapted for various other products, from pillows and placemats to tea towels and trivets. Every material she works with is produced in the USA, and all of her paper products are printed on wind-powered equipment. Bramhall is selective about mediums for her designs. “I’m always looking for new products that will work with my creations,” she says, “but finding the right partner to produce an item is key. If a company can’t/won’t take the time to get my color right, then game over.” 

See items from Festive Fish in the Down East Shop!