A chat with the artist //
Scientist and artist Sarah Tremaine creates delicate, natural patterns at Sunset Farm Studio. Silks, cottons and blonde locks illuminate in an evening spent at the artist’s studio home in Crozet, Virginia.
photography by Dorothy Wang // creative direction by Sophie Bergquist, Christine Macey // modeled by Merel Summerhill
Sophie: Let’s start with the basics... what is it that you create?
Sarah Tremaine: I design and create handmade dresses, tunics and tops from natural ma- terials using silk and wool roving. I also print scarves, wraps and other accessories using local plant material.
S: Could you explain the process that you use in your designs and prints?
ST: The dresses and tops are made using a process called nuno felting, where wool roving is wet felted into silk to make a new combined, beautifully textured fabric. The ‘eco printed’ scarves and wraps are made on silk and silk-wool blend fabrics; local plant material transfers its natural pigments onto the silk using a steaming process.
S: How has your background in science influenced your creations?
ST: In college, I studied both horticulture and environmental sciences, culminating in my PhD in Environmental Science at UVA. I worked in environmental consulting - cleaning up toxins using bio-remediation. I have always had a passion for the natural world and that is definitely expressed in my fiber art and paintings.
S: Where do you find most of your inspiration?
ST: I am inspired by several things... The staggering beauty outside my door - the Blue Ridge Mountains and small petals; the materials I work with - the texture, drape and feel of these natural materials are so wonderful; and my paintings also inspire me - it is as if they are in conversation with the fiber art creations.
S: How does your studio influence the work that you do, or vice-versa?
ST: I feel so incredibly fortunate to have a beautiful space to work in. It supports my work and gives me freedom to create new things all the time. I wake up each morning so excited to get out there and see where my imagination, the materials, and my heart will lead me.