Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Sarah Helen More was raised in Portland, Oregon and Houston, Texas. She grew up surrounded by her mother’s handmade quilts and her father’s large collection of rocks and minerals, both facets of her upbringing that have greatly influenced her work. She holds an MFA from the Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA in textile design from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Sarah has worked as a studio assistant to Takashi Murakami, has taught art history at the college level, and spent many years working in manufacturing and factory production management. She recently completed a large-scale mural in conjunction with the Meta Open Arts program in Bellevue, Washington, and currently lives and works in Seattle.
My work deals with the interaction of color and pattern as well as the complex relationship between digital and handmade methods of making. Working between my sketchbook and various design programs on the computer, each piece begins as a series of ideas in the form of motifs that are then composed together to form the completed piece.
My daily walks have become a regular, meditative gathering place for my ideas, and my lifelong obsession with textile design and the practical and decorative arts drives my interest in imagery that is often associated with this work. These components range from plants and flowers, machinery, pieces of nature, geometric shapes, personal memories, crosswalk stripes, and signage shapes to name a few. After collecting these elements using photography and my sketchbook, I then return to my studio and begin drawing and refining these seemingly disparate components into motifs, which are even further refined on the computer. Utilizing my understanding of textiles and traditional handcrafts that are often associated with femininity and “women’s work,” has directed me toward the use of the grid as a basis for organizing these compositions. Despite the graphic and abstract nature of the work, familiar symbols begin to appear. The resulting work attempts to capture the essence of a feeling or place, often connected to a personal story, experience, or memory.
Rooted primarily in the practical and decorative arts, and in textiles, in particular, my work aims to elevate that which was often relegated to the sitting room, workshop, or kitchen table of hobbyists, homemakers, and working-class people. References to quilts, tole painting, and traditional home decoration abound in each piece, taken from my personal history and daily observations. I learned to crotchet, embroider and sew long before I ever learned to work in acrylic on panel, thanks to my paternal grandmother, whose hands were always busy making something in her tiny turquoise kitchen.
I worked in factories and production facilities for many years, and the routine, mechanics, and repetition of this work have served as another touchstone for my studio work. This interest has recently emerged in some of the imagery I use; gear-like flowers abound, churning and swirling within assembly-line-like conveyer belts, and mechanical, geometric shapes. The conversation between hand and machine appears again, reminding me that they are inextricably linked.