December 2019: Sara Israel

Atelier: December's artist of the month is Sara Israel! Sara, please introduce yourself and tell us about what you make.

Sara: I’m the program coordinator at Atelier, as well as one of the teachers here. I’m an artist and crafter who likes to work in a lot of different media, particularly sewing, knitting, block printing and watercolors. I have a background in illustration and I’m fond of funny and bizarre details and chubby animals. I’m on Instagram @sarabmisrael, and you can find some of my printed goodies at The Paper Mouse shop!

Self portrait in vest knitted and designed by Sara - wool

What kinds of materials and media do you like to use?

Sara: I work with all kinds of materials! Playing with a new material always excites and inspires me, so I like to jump between media a lot, from watercolor painting to collage to fibers. I am also a bit of a hoarder, so I try to justify my pack-rat tendencies by using a variety of materials in my artwork. I especially like working in 3 dimensions, carving rubber stamps and working with fabrics and fibers. I’ve been knitting and sewing for many years and am particularly interested in learning more sewing, dyeing and mending techniques.

Precious - Watercolor and acrylic in recycled matchbox

Atelier: Who is an artist you’re really into right now?

Sara: There are so many artists I admire! Lately I have been inspired by printmakers Jen Hewett and Arounna Khounnoraj for their color and design sensibilities, fiber artist Mimi Kirchner for her whimsical and delightful dolls, and quilter Heidi Parkes and dyer/mender Katrina Rodabaugh for their beautiful creations and their passion for mending and reusing fabrics.

Badger - fabric and paper

What’s a creative goal you have for the year?

Sara: I’m really interested in our relationship with clothing and fashion. As we become more aware of the human and environmental impacts of the fabric and clothing supply chain, there’s an opportunity to think about our relationship with clothes and the way we use (and reuse!) them, and to reconnect with old traditions of mending and recycling fabrics. A goal I have for the year is to improve my sewing skills with more techniques for mending and recycling old clothing.


pocket mouse
Pocket Mouse - Block print on t-shirt

Ornaments - block print on cotton 

Atelier: What piece of advice would you give to a beginning artist?
Sara: I’ve often hesitated to use beautiful materials or attempt to realize a creative idea because I thought I wasn’t skilled enough to do justice to the idea or the materials I wanted to use. But I’ve discovered over the years that there’s no way to gain those skills without messing around a lot, and there’s no better way to stay engaged and inspired in learning than to use good materials and ideas that inspire you. I’d remind any beginning artist that we can miss out on a lot of joy and fun by worrying too much about perfection.

Good Dog - acrylic on collage


Monster Club - Watercolor, pencil and collage

Get in Touch

Sara's work can be viewed on Instagram at @sarabmisrael.

Some of her block printed designs can be found at The Paper Mouse's shop, including occasion cards, enclosure cards, ornaments and mini gift bags.

Sara also teaches classes at Atelier. Check our calendar to sign up!

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