Sarah has spent 30 years working with stitching, painting, and line in textiles. She is now working conceptually on canvas. In these pieces, the focus is no longer depictions to suit a client and their space, but expressions of Sarah's thoughts and feelings. Each painting is an impression of a being or event she has either lived as/with or witnessed. She is fascinated with the unspoken emotion behind the surface presentation. She works to find ways to evoke it in line, color, texture, and symbolic imagery, often drawn from her surroundings and Scottish heritage. Representations of textiles and textile techniques figure prominently in Sarah's work as they do in her life. She farms a flock of Shetland sheep whose wool she spins, dyes, and knits. Her childhood was spent making all sorts with yarn, tips, and processes passed on from her mother and grandmother. Sarah uses batik extensively. Hand and machine embroidery add emphasis and texture to the painted surface. Knits and knitting patterns, often in Fair Isle or Shetland colorwork style, appear in her paintings evocative of her female Scottish lineage and knotted ancestral connection with nature.
Until such a time as it is bought, these paintings hover over the hub of our house, the kitchen/diner. I hope it captures something of the energy, introspection, and interactions in conversation that color every mealtime and coffee break around our kitchen table. We (more or less) finished building this house 4 years ago with the help of nearly 100 international volunteers and continue to welcome their help in the garden, polytunnel, and croft beyond. Every weekday those here splay out to their tasks and sweep in for fuel three times a day. We fill our bodies with food, our minds with ideas and new perspectives, and our hearts with connections around the table carved from a hefty chunk of local ash. No topic is out of bounds. In fact, the more controversial the more we lean in... curious for understanding and for a fresh perspective that can fracture the claggy walls of an echo chamber. What a gift to have a flow of traveling bards offer their thoughts into this mealtime pot of perspectives. What is the shape of a thundering laugh, or the color of an eyed pause after a dip into edgy controversy? How scrawled is a line of confusion? All questions are considered in a painting that attempts to express a moment of all this.