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Our History

In the final month of 2021, an innovative spark ignited within me as I dived into the formation and structure of this platform. The source of this artistic energy was a trio of accomplished women from South Carolina who I deeply respect: Bohumila Augustinova, Ella Marushchenko, and Kathleen Robbins. Their talents intersect the spheres of arts, science, and community service, making them influential figures to look up to. Ella's scientific illustrations have continually fueled my studio work, while Bohumila's recent receipt of the Jefferson, Multiplying Good Award further elevated my admiration. Additionally, Kathleen's photography, with its strong emphasis on familial bonds, has consistently captured my imagination. In an effort to create a platform that transcends my individuality, I was motivated to dedicate to exceptional South Carolinians and to the exploration of our state's diverse culture and nature. It felt like a meaningful mission. I further sought, my daughter, Darcy's collaboration on this project and was met with an enthusiastic affirmation.

Together, we embarked on creating a site encompassing dedicated sections such as SC People, Culture, Outdoors, Dish with Darcy™, and Studio Visit. Each segment serves as a unique "topical hub", analogous to a "topic Tumblr,"and receives monthly updates. However, the Culture segment is refreshed more frequently, with new content added on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.

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This is a black and white portrait of artist Dawn Hunter with her daughter Darcy.

Co-founded by Sasha and Ella Marushchenko, Ella Maru Studio creates some of the most innovative and compelling contemporary scientific illustration by fusing and applying their scientific (Sasha, chemist) and artistic (Ella, artist) backgrounds. Ella Maru Studio employs scientists with PhD credentials from the best universities and top talent graphic designers. The results are cutting edge, memorable images that resonate and effectively communicate with readers.


South Carolina Sunshine is delighted and honored that Sasha and Ella granted us an interview, which is one of our most visited SC People editorials. Stay tuned, check back for more upcoming interviews with leaders and creatives living in South Carolina. Follow us on Instagram to be alerted when new content is live!

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This is a portrait of Ella Marushchenko holding a cover of the Chem journal.
This is a photo of an African American child's feet on sand that has footprint marks from birds in the sand.

South Carolina, while rich in history, also holds a lot of unexpected surprises. For example, did you know that during their migration from South America that Whimbrels stop "over to feast on the bounty of our barrier islands, and up to 20,000 will congregate on the spit of sand known as Deveaux Bank?" (quote from Coastal Expeditions website.) There is much to learn, see and explore. Some of our upcoming content for our Outdoors section includes a Whimbrel Expedition, an interview with a geologist who is mapping the ocean floor off the coast of SC, and interviews with researchers from UofSC Upstate's Watershed Ecology Center.

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While aesthetically improving the forefront of a local business five years ago, Bohumila Augustinova, unwittingly launched a Cola City art installation winter staple by YarnBombers of Columbia on Main Street and beyond. The Yarnbombers of Columbia is a group that Bohumila spearheaded brings together over one hundred local artists who create unique, brightly colored, and patterned crocheted and knitted forms that they wrap around trees or parking meters during the winter months. The project evolved beyond aesthetics with the emergence of the “Giving Tree” located on the corner of Main and Taylor, downtown Columbia. As part of the tradition, artists hang hundreds of scarfs, hats, and gloves for anyone to take and use from that tree. This past December, Bohumila was recognized for her hard work and community investment with a Jefferson Service Award.

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This is a portrait of Bohumila Augustinova holding her Jefferson, Multiplying Good, Award.
This is a portrait of artist Dawn Hunter with her daughter Darcy.

Road trip selfie: Here we are teaming up for a cultural experience at this year's ArtFields arts festival, Lake City, South Carolina. The event was so epic, we had no choice but to summarize our weekend of fun in the Culture AND the Dish with Darcy™ sections. We are excited about meeting new people and the exciting adventures that await us.


Visit to view my Cajal Portfolio and to view my other artwork series. 

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