Tag Archives: art studio

A Serendipitous Studio Visit

Rainy days are studio days, and today I got to hang out in the beautiful and inspiring studio of Sarah Haskell.

A mutual friend connected us when she saw my work and exclaimed, “you have to meet Sarah!” But what none of us knew is that Sarah and I had already met…

I can remember it so clearly, the days in sixth grade when we had an artist in residence. It felt really special to have an artist from outside of school come visit and create a project with us. I can still recall the piece we made as a class. It had a background of woven fabric strips, and on top we made little figures and objects to tell a story. In fact it was the story of Martin Luther King. I had made a little speech bubble for him that said “I have a dream”…

I was thinking about all of this as Sarah went into the house to fetch me a glass of water, and a certain woven fabric piece in the corner caught my eye. When I began my weaving journey, I would sometimes stop and wonder about this visiting artist who was a weaver, and clearly inspired my own weaving journey from a young age (I have another inspiring weaving story you can read about here). And yet 20 years later, I found myself closer to solving that mystery than I have ever been before…

When Sarah came back from the kitchen, I asked her about the fabric-woven piece in the corner. She had made it with a classroom as an artist in residence. When I told her about the piece I had made and what school I went to, she exclaimed “Yes, that was me!”

She went over to one of her bookcases stuffed with all sorts of inspirational art books and show catalogs and pulled out a couple of binders. She plopped them on the work table next to her neatly organized bundles of heddles and began flipping the pages.

“I remember, your class did the Civil Rights movement,” she said as years of all of the many colorful school projects she had done flashed by. We’re talking hundreds of projects! And then we found it, photographic proof from many years ago, that Sarah Haskell was my very first weaving teacher!

As far as Sarah knows, I’m her first student to become a tapestry weaver!

We spent the rest of our afternoon sharing stories about being artists, and Sarah gave me many helpful tips about being a practicing artist and where to show my work. She encouraged me to write and speak publicly about my weavings and the inspiration behind them, and how to pursue those opportunities. I loved learning that Sarah and I create in similar ways: a complete design or image pops into our heads – from a dream or meditation – and we feel consumed by it until we bring it to life…

Sarah’s studio is also filled with her gorgeous hand-dyed indigo yarn…

I’m inspired by her series of houses, particularly because of their doorways …

“The House of Fear” This piece is behind glass, hence the glare.

This piece was woven like a brocade, and many people wrote their fears on the weft used to weave the house. I love the strong dynamic lines stitched into the fabric that give the impression of how harsh and sharp fear can often feel.

Once upon a time, Sarah was a tapestry weaver…

I left Sarah’s studio with some new catalogs to add to my art library, my mind full of inspiration, and a heart bursting with gratitude and awe…

A beautiful poem in Sarah’s teaching binder

It’s incredible how life circles back around, and one finds themselves almost being lead by an invisible force to… something, some sort of mysterious destiny that is meant for them. It’s a mystery because we don’t get to know how, or when, or why the story unfolds the way it does, we just get to experience it. And when we open our hearts and minds to this unfolding, we find many serendipitous moments of a life well-lived and well-loved.

If you’d like to see more of Sarah Haskell’s work you can visit her site at www.sarahhaskell.com

Keep creating!

~Laura

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