making waves

fishMother Nature has really perked me up; I was just thinking about painting wave patterns myself when I find a little Japanese pufferfish is way ahead of me!

He’s been busily at work making a marvellous sand-wave mandala to attract a bride. Can you believe these lacy labyrinths are sitting about on the ocean floor as love-lures – a week’s work of fin-fluttering! Have a look here



The Papuan bowerbird too constructs his nest to tempt his mate – not just a cunning weaver, he fashions a surrounding garden magnificently decorated and strewn with objets trouvés.picture-3

The tailor bird stitches leaves together for his couture courtship.


Romance requires display it seems, however tiny you are: the minute Maratus or jumping peacock spider can put on a fine show at just 5mm, and not just the costume but the dance too.


You can tell where this is going – February 14th! And we have some newly hand-painted creatures in our shop especially for your Valentine: wearing their hearts on their plumage – merry birds of a new romantic feather and pretty perky cats too.

valentine cats and birds

bird_pink_heartNo two are the same, so if you want a special colour theme for your own sweetheart just leave a message when you order and the paintbrush elves will do their best! 

The special edition Celebration pure wool scarf has been a real hit – we have a few of the first printing still available – another great gift to make someone special look and feel both warm and beautiful. 


And just to help you remember which day Valentine’s is – we still have some of our calendars available – now at a lower price. Its special-day sticker sheet has proved very popular. 


Like the tiny spider – what we wear has meaning. At the Romanian Cultural Institute in London there’s a small display of their famous maiastra – the traditional embroidered blouse whose motifs all have special and particular meaning. Grigore Lese, the celebrated folk musician from Bucovina, wore a beautiful old white shirt embroidered with bands of magical protecting ‘wolf-teeth’ stitches when he sang sad songs to us on their National Cultural Day.


DSC00022The blouses, famously beloved of Matisse, and other traditional costumes are also currently on show at the Horniman Museum in the Dress and Identity in Romania exhibition.


This is one of my favourite old books – Folk Art in Romania – and this was one of our favourite looks for YSL from our Liberty days…



As the year turned – Happy New Year by the way – I began to review and plan work booked for the months ahead: the two-day course at Morley College at the end of February has long been oversubscribed (thank you) and I’ve been invited to run another in September, and there may be a silk painting day there in the summer term too – so keep an eye out for them. If you’re interested in knitting you may like to investigate the new course being offered there by Katie Jones in February.

Also, due to popular demand as they say, the Textile Society has asked for a third studio visit day here in May for their members – so if you are one, book a place and come along.

I’m really looking forward too to teaching the course at Bradness Gallery in September – a studio set in a beautiful garden, great food and two days of painting together on textiles – what could be better?

hand painting

Very excitingly I’ve been invited to teach a short workshop-based course at an art school in Mexico; I hope to coincide with Hilary Simon’s lovely Rebozo exhibition at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City – it’s travelling from the FTM and will be opened there by Zandra on May 14th

mexico piece

And here the teaching year continues with my regular visits to The Norwood School art department, as well as new talks and lectures at other art colleges and institutions. I’m pleased to say that Surface View Edits/Texprint14 collection has gone live – you can visit it here and see what that inspired marriage has produced.

img79o Aspects of my recent work is also now available to hang on your walls – WestElm have produced a series of abstract pieces shown here online; it’s interesting to see the paintings as, well, paintings in their own right – I’m rather pleased, and especially like Path and this black and white Scraffito. What do you think?




Every weekday afternoon BBCRadio3’s In Tune is host to whoever’s in town, and all sorts of great performers pop in to chat and ….. perform; it’s a sort of daily ‘In Town Tonight’, which used to be broadcast on Saturday nights for many years.I am particularly interested in siblings who work together and a few days ago those Spanish guitarists the Katona twins blew my socks off with their playing – bold, delicate, jangling, sonorous – listen here. And they were followed by the phenomenal Ukrainian-born pianist Valentina Lisitsa – what an afternoon! 

tous-charlie-autorouteI sometimes think that the person that helped me most through my tricky teenage years (and beyond) was the poet William Blake; I still turn to him, almost every day, for a swig of his wisdom. My 1958 Penguin Poets paperback edition sits by the bed, stained, raggedy, underscored and loved. Very often, in these last few alarming weeks, I’ve found myself saying ‘Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the Human breast’.


Thanks to Molly, Steve, and Lucy.


13 thoughts on “making waves

  1. What an interesting variety of work opportunites you are involved in Sarah. I recently spent almost a month visiting my eldest daughter who has moved to San Francisco with her husband. She was conveniently born in Boston, so has dual nationality!! We drove out to the mountains around Lake Tahoe for the skiing and passed a huge West Elm, which made me think of you. I also took part in a little workshop in Berkeley learning Transylvanian embroidery which was rather repetitive and required great concentration. I had been meaning to get to Horniman Museum to see the exhibition and that has given me new impetus. I love the little heart boxes with scenes painted on the inside. x

  2. Hi Sarah, inspiring as always, looks like you have had a busy start to the year.

    I’m frequently staggered by the intricacies of natural world and how natural selection creates such unequivocally beauty.

    Just to let you know, the campsite build is going well (fingers crossed for an April launch) and that my brother and I are doing it together.

    Catch up soon.


  3. Sarah, truly wonderful and such joy! it’s so lovely just looking at all your work. You really are so very clever as ever!
    Hope to see you on the 19th of Feb if you can make it.

  4. Hi. Have put my calendar up on the wall and love it – hope to see you in London sometime soon.

    Please be very careful in Mexico – it is a very dangerous place indeed – Dave x

  5. Your art looks amazingly fabulous in that room setting Sarah! And I am most jealous of your teaching engagement in Mexico – what an fantastic experience that promises to be!

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