Our weaving marathon continues with an interview!
When I started weaving, I think I had little appreciation for what was possible to achieve with just a loom: Wall hanging, rugs, maybe a little cross-body bag using 2 woven panels… But now, I see endless potential in weaving!
While documenting myself, looking at DIYs, and other weavers’ work, I came across not only wall decors, but also true art pieces. The work of one person especially captivated me by its beauty, technique and originality: East Parlor weavings.
Behind East Parlor is owner/artist/maker Sarah Parys who loves all things modern and creates original items for today’s home.
I really wanted to interview her, but thought she might be very busy, as in addition to be a talented artist, she is also a mum of 5 (and ½…). Though, I thought I would give it a go, and ask her! I was very honoured when she said yes, and she replied to me with plenty of enthusiasm and kind words. Ok, I won’t hold you back any longer, let’s ask her some questions!
Leni: Hi Sarah, I am very pleased you accepted to answer some questions for Something BoHo and the blog readers. Could you tell us a bit about yourself as a designer?
Sarah: I have been creating as far back as I can remember. Whether it was drawing cartoons, making friendship bracelets or even sewing my prom dress. Art in general has always been an outlet for me to explore new ideas. This led to a Bachelor of Art degree in Studio Art as well as a degree in Interior Design a few years after.
Leni: How did you start weaving? You had a particular motivation to do so?
Sarah: Although I have had my Etsy shop for almost 3 years now, I didn’t really start to take things seriously until about a year ago when I started weaving. I noticed the fiber art genre a little over a year ago and loved how colors, fibers, and textures came together to create beautiful art pieces for your wall and home. So, I purchased a loom and some yarn and started weaving, and that has brought us here to today. Pretty simple. I have always felt a connection to work with my hands and tactile materials, and this has been the perfect outlet to do that.
Leni: I cannot believe you have only been weaving for about a year! Especially as your weavings are very technical, such as integrating metal rings in your weaving. How do you overcome the difficulties of certain technicalities?
Sarah: I think the whole technical aspect goes back to my art school days. Just learning from mistakes, practicing, working and reworking until you feel where it is at a level that you feel proud of. The added rings in my weavings were/are not easy to add in, but looking forward to the outcome always keeps me going. In a word…. patience!
Leni: Patience… I m not patient. I mainly do mini weavings for that reason, I am a slow weaver. How about you? How much time do you spend on different pieces?
Sarah: Time spent varies greatly depending on the size and design of the piece. Some small simple ones, I can start and finish in about an hour; while other larger ones (24”x24”) could take up to 5 hours. Just a lot of factors come into play.
Leni: Talking about time again, what does a typical day look like for you?
Sarah: Typical day? Haha! Being a mom, typical days don’t really exist for me. I have a schedule, but we all know how those can go out the window when you have kids. Aside from the fact that I have 5 boys with another on the way, I like to joke that naptime and bedtime are my time to get things done and I’m sure most moms can relate to that! I try to do things in stages and keep up with photos, listings, and social media. Some things I have come to work on quickly while others just take some patience and planning.
Leni: I can imagine there is no typical day with a family of 5 1/2 ! I really like the heterogeneity of your woven pieces, from very geometrical and neutral, to highly colourful and wavy. Where do you find your inspiration?
Sarah: Inspiration, I feel, comes and goes in waves. Some days I feel in a groove and everything goes well, and other days it’s just not clicking. Sometimes just looking through Instagram, Etsy or Pinterest and finding new techniques and working those into my weavings and pushing the boundaries of something that I haven’t seen yet keeps me motivated. This can lead into new designs and ideas for upcoming weavings. Sometimes, it’s color choices that inspire me to work on something and other times it’s just some simple sketches that I have to work out on the loom to actually see and feel.
Leni: Following this question on inspiration and your creative process; you work with lots of different materials, combining textures of yarn, using metal hoops to weave. How and why you started to use different kinds of materials?
Sarah: When I first started weaving, I was just getting used to the material (yarn) and experimenting. Now I am branching out and using more natural fibers to bring in new textures, techniques, and colors. Combining different materials and fibers just adds a whole new dimension to my work. When I started incorporating the hoops, I wanted to add that element of negative space and break up the weaving just to push myself and see if I could do it. It takes some planning, but I feel they really add some personality to my weavings.
Leni: I agree that it adds personality to your weavings, and right the way, when I discover your work, I could see something very unique. If someone wanted to start weaving, and also create something unique, what advice would you give them ?
Sarah: Try not to compare your work to others. Exploring and experimenting are the best things you can do when starting out. Just have fun with it!
Leni: As I mentioned to you, I just started to run my crafty business. I expected, and realised that it takes work, but also involves a great variety of tasks, from creation, to stocking materials, book keeping, etc… Which aspect do like the most? And the least?
Sarah: Running a business does take some work, and I for one, to tell you the truth, fly by the seat of my pants. Planning, designing and creating is definitely my favourite part. I don’t really have a least favourite right now. Maybe that’s because I just love that I am able to do this and help support my family!
Leni: Ok, I have a selfish question! If you had something BoHo to create, what would it look like?
Sarah: Believe it or not- I would love to make a large dip dyed macrame wall hanging. I think they are beautiful!
Leni: I agree with you, they are beautiful! Can I steal the idea and make it my next project? And actually, can you give us a hint about your next big project?
Sarah: I just purchased a table loom, so I’m anxious to get started on table linens like placemats and table runners. As for wall weavings, I want to add more texture and get away from the flat, square look. I want to add a little more dimension and openness to my pieces.
Oh! Sounds very interesting and intriguing! I can’t wait to see what your next design will be… Also, I saw a few pictures in your Facebook page (link) about table weaving, and I am very looking forward to see how your experimentation goes on, and where it will take you.
Thanks very much Sarah for answering all these questions, your work, approach to creativity and crafty business while having a busy personal life is really inspiring for me, and I am sure will be for the readers as well!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t post pictures of all of Sarah’s work, but you can see more of it on the links below. Go have a look, you won’t be disappointed! And if you liked it or have questions, please leave a comment in the “Don’t be shy, leave a comment!” box.
Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/EastParlor
The next post will be a DIY on how to make your own loom with bearly anything, so stay tuned!
Talk to you all very soon,