Artist Profile: Denise Sawyer

Farmer, gardener, and fiber artist Denise Sawyer has some pretty adorable friends; she makes cunning clothes for some of them, too. She and her friend Sally Savage will help us to make and dress our own adorable papier mache figures (Friday afternoon 2-5) at Fiber College. For those of us who want the ‘fast track,’ they’ll offer a two-hour class on Saturday evening when they’ll bring the figures pre-made but we can personalize them and dress them. Wouldn’t you love to take a new fibery friend home with you from Fiber College? Let’s meet Denise (and then go sign up for one or both of her classes!).

Farmer and fiber artist Denise Sawyer

Farmer and fiber artist Denise Sawyer

I am Denise Sawyer from Montville, Maine. I run a native and woodland plant nursery along with my husband Rick. I have been a sheep farmer for over twenty years, and have been playing with all things textile since childhood.

A dapper fox!

A dapper fox!

As a child I spent much of my time with a grandmother who could turn anything into art and was happy to provide me with oodles of paper, wool, cloth, and scissors whenever I had the urge to make something.  I have been an avid knitter, spinner, and felter, and love to craft sculptural things out of cloth….often using recycled or upcycled material. I consider it a good day when I am able to sew, knit, spin, felt, or grow plants.

What’s integral to your work as an artist?
I think what is most integral to my work is having a space to create, free of interruptions or the daily distractions that may lure me away from focusing and creating…..like vacuuming.

Sawyer's Santa

Sawyer’s Santa

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given a student?
My best advice to anyone who  is interested in art or crafting is “Don’t worry, jump in, and don’t think too much.” I think we often don’t see ourselves as creative when we actually are.

Denise will teach how to make and dress papier mache figures at Fiber College with Sally Savage.

Denise will teach how to make and dress papier mache figures at Fiber College with Sally Savage.

What would your Fiber College students be surprised to know about you?
People would be surprised to know (maybe) that I can hardly stay up beyond 8:00 o’clock at night. And that I avoid projects that require a lot of measuring.

Recycled and upcycled clothing bring Denise's figures to life.

Recycled and upcycled clothing bring Denise’s figures to life.

How do you manage/balance your work self and your creative self?
I think balancing work and a creative self can be challenging. I feel fortunate that I live a life that allows for art almost daily…..whether it is wet felting a new pair of wool slippers or baking sourdough bread, I find most of what I do creatively inspiring.

In addition to raising sheep and creating with all kinds of fiber, Denise runs a nursery with her husband.

In addition to raising sheep and creating with all kinds of fiber, Denise runs a nursery with her husband.

What inspired you to become a fiber artist? 
The two things that have most inspired me to become a fiber artist are my grandmother and my love of wool  and sheep.

You still have time to sign up for Denise and Sally class(es). Just go to www.fibercollege.org to register.

 

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