FEATURED ARTIST - SEPTEMBER - SARAH HUGHES OF FEMME SECRET
I found Sarah on Etsy, then Instagram and fell. in. love. with her art. I love her zodiac embroidered clothes and slip dresses! And she does so much more. Check out this magic mamas wise words and amazing art!
1) Please tell me a little bit about yourself, including your full name and pronouns.
My name is Sarah Hughes and you can use "she" as my pronoun. I'm a West Coast transplant - originally from Washington state but have been on the East Coast for almost 20 years now! I live in Brooklyn and just hit my 10 year NYC anniversary. I previously worked as a data analyst for startups but for the last couple of years I've started up my own small business! I'd consider myself a "maker" - I love to work in lots of mediums but right now I mostly do ceramic sculptures and embroider vintage clothing.
2) What inspires your work and creative process // What moves you the most? // What does creating do for you?
I have a really whimsical, playful aesthetic - inside I'm still a kid and that kind of nostalgic, naive imagery is still what inspires me the most. I love children's books, old illustrations, antique dolls and toys, etc. I like to take "cute" things and give them a humorous and/or creepy spin. Also color is so important to me - I need to be surrounded by all the colors in my environment and also to play with them in my work.
I find it's very moving to make something that didn't previously exist out of raw materials, especially coming from a job where I sat in front of a computer all day and produced spreadsheets that only exist there. It's a meditative process, especially ceramics - I can go into the studio in a completely frazzled state and re-emerge 100% focused and happy. There's something about creating a physical object which is completely satisfying.
Creating keeps me sane. I stopped doing my old work because I was literally going crazy with frustration and had to find some way to overcome my huge artistic block. I was really good at my old job but I killed off about 75% of my true personality doing it. Creating is therapy for me (and we never lack for vases). I have a hard time talking about/expressing my emotions so sometimes making something is the only way that can come out.
3) Do you ever feel vulnerable putting your work out there? How do you overcome it?
Ha, constantly! I have the hardest time not comparing my work to others, and I really haven't been doing this kind of work for very long so I feel uncomfortable calling myself a "designer" or an "artist." I overcome these negative thoughts by making myself share my process and my pieces, including the work I'm less proud of, to remind myself that everyone started somewhere. I also have an extremely supportive partner and several good friends from all walks of life who have provided a lot of advice and actual labor, I would be nowhere without them!
4) Do have any advice or words of wisdom for other creatives?
My first advice is to just start making things, regardless of whether you feel "ready"/"inspired" or if you think you have innate "talent". Try a new medium if you are frustrated with your current one. Share your work and process with others and realize you will fail sometimes! Also, if you make a mistake, incorporate it into your piece. My latest sculpture was supposed to be a giant vase, but I made an extra lump on one side and decided that it should become a head. It's a much cooler sculpture now than if I had stuck with my original idea.
5) What do you want your art to unlock in people?
I mostly just want people to smile or laugh. If something I made makes them happy that's enough for me.
6) Feel free to include here anything you would want people to know
I definitely didn't come from a family background that encouraged creativity or an artistic career, which is partially why I spent so long in a job that wasn't right for me. Obviously not everyone is lucky enough to be able to do exactly what they want as a career, but I would encourage everyone who feels frustrated to find some outlet to express their authentic self, whether it's a class or a craft party with friends or Youtube tutorials - don't wait as long as I did, you don't need permission!