We’re thrilled to introduce our latest featured designer, Atlanta-based Sarah Marks, also known as Thirdhalfstudios. She has a way of creating playful art with unexpected items and a large dose of imagination. Read our interview with her and find out what keeps her inspired!
My day starts with…feeding my menagerie of animals and then I go out into the front yard in my bare feet for a few minutes. My old boss always said, let the ground touch your feet every single day. He also said you can allegedly live off the condiments they give out for free at fast food places, so his advice wasn’t always 100%.
I fell in love with design… about six years old (although my mother says I started drawing when I was 2) and I used to pull empty appliance boxes from neighbors trash and drag it into the woods. Then I would cut out windows and doors and make cardboard furniture and draw wallpaper on the inside. Eventually a hard rain would destroy my “house” and then I would go get a new one and start all over again. When I was eleven, I started my first cash business selling soft sculpture animals I sewed and had my first official business selling my handmade jewelry to stores when I was fifteen. I made art and photos and designed things all the way through high school. Eventually I went to art school for 2 semesters and I got chucked right out! Which means I can officially say “they laughed at me at the academy.”
What’s in your toolbox?Absolutely everything: paint chips, markers, vintage toys, glass, clay, fingernail polish, stones I bring in from outside, dead insects. Seriously, I have an entire bin of dead insects. My husband is completely creeped out by that–he doesn’t even want to know where the box is.
When I’m in my studio…I feel like something amazing is going to happen!
Who or what influences or inspires your work and why?So many things, nature and music and sculpture, vintage design and movies, especially terrible movies and wonderful crazy art that you see in thrift stores. When I see some piece of art in a thrift store and I think someone was SO moved that they painted that matador on black velvet, the LEAST I can do is wake up everyday and is listen to my own voice and try to put something amazing out into the world.
If I could live in a painting…I would live in any Maxfield Parrish painting, the colors are saturated and wonderful and it seems that would be pretty relaxing, no?
If I could only wear one fabric… it would have a psychedelic pattern on it.
My favorite Spoonflower fabric to work with is…Silky Faille – I really enjoy swingy dresses. Also, I’d love to see one of my designs turned into a sofa!
The secret to a strong collection is… to have a single great idea and then start taking that idea apart into elements and then mix them up differently. Weirdly, I learned how to do repeats while working for a sculptor and making architectural elements for fancy houses. You have to know how to do the repeat when you make ceiling molding, so I learned how to do that in 3D first and when I first started designing fabric, there was this great moment where I got to say “Hey! I already know how to do this!”
My mantra is…“just keep going,” it doesn’t matter if you fail, or people don’t get what you are doing or you have suffered unbelievable heartbreak–just keep going. Make sacred art!
You can visit Sarah’s Spoonflower shop and view her entire collection of whimsical designs. Connect with her on the social media buffet: