Sara Hotchkiss

Even as a five year old I loved fabrics. I loved the feel, the colors, I loved combining different swatches to make patterns. Thanks to my mother’s patient teaching, I began knitting and sewing clothes for my dolls. From there I moved on to my own clothes and furnishings for my room. Grandmother Mimi, an artist and also a patient teacher, let me tag along when she gardened, and together we studied nature’s heady palette. She taught me to observe keenly, to recognize the integral link between color, shape and texture, how each enhanced the others everywhere around me.

Crepe paper orbs of pink poppies, ruffled spears of blue delphinium, a spiky carpet of lavender.

Every July, my family and I piled in the family flivver and drove to Maine to visit Aunt Betty. Feverishly, for two weeks, on a porch overlooking Mousam Lake, Aunt Betty, my mother and I knit. Nothing tempted us away from our needles. Sweaters, scarves, hats, all from a thin strand of yarn. Magic.

I remember Aunt Val taking me to visit a weaver, an ancient (to me anyway, I was ten) woman known for her rag rugs. I stood in her studio, awestruck. Such immense wooden looms, so many yarns and colors! Here was a place that actually created fabrics, then wove them to create yet more fabrics. How I yearned to work in such a room!

At Skidmore college and then University Without Walls I studied painting, drawing, design, color theory and finally in my junior year, weaving. Under the tutelage of Eunice Pardon, a textile artist, my passion for fabrics, design and color, coalesced on the looms in her studio. That was in 1971. I’ve been a weaver ever since.

Here in my sunny studio on the site of an old Maine farm in coastal Waldoboro, I spend my days weaving, designing and sneaking out to the garden when time allows. My studio is cluttered with fabrics–solids, prints, snippets of different colors and textures that remind me of my grandmother’s flowers. 10’ and 12’ Swedish looms preside over the room, as well as many American rug looms. Add to this the antics of a curious kitty and my nook is complete.

My colorful, durable rugs leave this small corner of Maine as treasured pieces of art, ready to bring new life to a new room.