Meet the Designer: Sarah Marks of Thirdhalfstudios

SEP 8, 2016

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!

Thirdhalfstudios

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%.

Thirdhalfstudios
The studio of Third Half Studios!
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.”
South of the Mason by Thirdhalfstudios
South of the Mason by Thirdhalfstudios

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.
Insect collection
Sarah’s insect collection

When I’m in my studio…I feel like something amazing is going to happen!
Our Lady of the Holy Rollers by Thirdhalfstudios
Our Lady of the Holy Rollers by Thirdhalfstudios
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.
Reap What You Sew by Third Half Studios

My favorite small business shops include: methanestudios.com, jellykoe.com, hcwarner.com, urbnpop.com, and wonderful mcfee.com
Giant Flying Squirrel Attack by Thirdhalfstudios
Giant Flying Squirrel Attack by Thirdhalfstudios
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?
Maxfield Parrish
Maxfield Parrish via Tutt’Art

If I could only wear one fabric… it would have a psychedelic pattern on it.
Comic books by Thirdhalfstudios
Comic books by Thirdhalfstudios

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!
Sky Sharks by Thirdhalfstudios
Sky Sharks by Thirdhalfstudios

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!”
Sarah's cat, Tractor
Sarah’s cat, Tractor

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!

Sarah Marks of Thirdhalfstudios
Sarah Marks of Thirdhalfstudios

You can visit Sarah’s Spoonflower shop and view her entire collection of whimsical designs. Connect with her on the social media buffet:

Thanks Sarah!

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  • Hi Sarah, I love you and your artwork! You are so full of live and imagination your motivation
    is catching. Thank you for sharing your story and your wonderful artwork.

  • I’ve always loved your work, Sarah! It’s so great to get to know you better! Also, for all the readers out there: I wanted to mention the link to Archie McPhee is incorrect–it’s http://www.mcphee.com … The brick-and-mortar store is in my old neighborhood, and I find myself there about once a month! 😉

    • The admiration is definitely mutual, I LOVE your old camera and mix tape prints! Thanks for being so nice and I appreciate the correction on the McFee thing. I envy you being near the brick and mortar store. I would really like to go there sometime.

  • Sarah, you had me at ArchieMcPhee, Maxfield Parrish, and dead bugs….it’s like we’re twins separated at birth! ;0)

    Love your designs….