Spotlight On: Sara Schneidman Inc.

Culpeper, Virginia

As the child of a U.S. Foreign Service officer in Southeast Asia and Italy, Sara Schneidman had no picket-fence childhood. She attributes much of her artistic vision to spending her early years abroad. "I love color and indigenous crafts, and my aesthetic sense was influenced by my life in the Philippines, Indonesia and Italy and early travels in Japan," she says. A childhood in Jakarta and Manila also heightened her sense of social justice. "I've seen children begging and people suffering, and since I was a child I wanted to contribute to culture in a positive way," says Sara. Her membership in the GoodWeave® certification program is one of the ways she has found to make that contribution.

Sara, whose Culpepper, Virginia, gallery displays her works in clay, watercolor and textiles, also designs a line of greeting cards. For nearly a decade she had licensed her designs to other GoodWeave members but eventually decided to start making her own Tibetan rugs in Nepal. The move was natural given her interest in indigenous crafts, which she studied while traveling in South and Central America and Morocco. She also respects the long tradition behind rug making and believes that hand-woven rugs add another layer of meaning to her paintings. "I make the paintings and then the rug weavers have their say," she explains. "The process is totally collaborative."

Reflecting on the fact that rug making used to be one of the few ways women could express themselves artistically, Sara notes that her work enables her to“reinterpret the ancient symbols and revalue the old tradition."

Sara values hand crafts and the dignity of "the beautiful people who make them." Her lighthearted and whimsical designs "come from a place of joy." Though the world is full of problems, she is inspired by a saying she first heard two decades ago: "When times are really dark, all you can do is light a candle."

See Schneidman’s greeting cards, pottery, paintings and hand-knotted and hand-tufted rugs at www.saraschneidman.com


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