SARA POLY \\\ Portland, OR
Welcome to the inaugural post of our new blog and website. In the first installment of our ongoing feature, we present to you our first Maker Profile: Sara Poly.
Sara is a weaver specializing in handwoven wool rugs, sculptural wall hangings and textile design. Recently we asked Sara a few questions about her craft and what inspires her to create. We hope you enjoy this snapshot into the workings of an accomplished artisan!
What inspires you to create?
Color and pattern; boucheroite rugs; and texture, primarily.
How do you take a creative idea from inspiration through to a finished piece? Can you describe your process for us?
I start by drawing a design and then calculating how many sections it will take to complete the finished rug, as the weaving width on the loom is only 36 inches. I measure each section where the next should line up, and double check the calculations as each section is completed. Then I sew them up and wine the fringe, which is really fun!
My favorite textile patterns to write are ombres. The colors fade and bleed in and out of each other. I think that traditional pattern writing knowledge is taken for granted now because of CAD software. Doing the math to calculate the ends and picks to fit a repeat size is fun and satisfying for me. Writing a plaid so that the weave structure (like a herringbone or basket weave or waffle weave) compliments it takes skill and requires training. Plaid design is not graphic design!
How did you get started in your craft?
I studied Art History and Textile Arts at Kent State University where I learned how to weave. My first job after graduating from was at Pendleton Woolen Mills. At Pendleton, I was a handweaver and also wrote menswear plaids and designed jacquards for private customers, a few inline blankets and some men’s outerwear.
Describe for us your studio/space where you design and make.
My studio is an 8x8 aluminum shed in my backyard. When the weather is nice (and even when it isn’t), I like to keep the doors open for fresh air and to watch the neighborhood blue jays patrol their territory. I just have a stereo, my yarn and weaving equipment out there. It’s really not very fancy!!!
What are you most proud of about what you do and why?
I feel most proud when my kids think my projects are cool. When my teenage son hangs out a little longer to watch me weave….
How can clients work with you? Do you do custom design? Are your rugs and wall hangings available for sale?
I’m available on a consulting basis for pattern design and to provide other guidance on how to produce woven goods in a manufacturing setting.
Also, I’m starting a wholesale line for sale to retail shops such as boutiques and craft galleries. I can either provide unique, one of a kind designs, create a special collection for a retailer, or they can choose from pre-made designs. I like taking a collaborative approach, so anyone reading this who might be interested in carrying my line in their shop, please contact me!
Sara can be reached at sarampoly(at)gmail.com