Silk Shaman was conjured into being Spring of 2013. After years of experimenting with dying processes, Sarah started selling one of a kind pieces using vintage shirts as her canvases. A year later is focusing on creating handmade garments in her Chicago studio.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I’m Sarah, currently living in Chicago and rounding out my return of Saturn. I freelance in the photo industry — mostly retouching which is a more logical sense of creativity. Silk Shaman started as a project to fill my days off from freelancing but has proven to be a more whimsical outlet and I’ve come to find my gemini heart needs both projects pretty equally.
How long have you lived in Chicago and what brought you there? I’ve lived in Chicago for almost eight years now. I’m from the east coast originally but found that Chicago has just the right combination of pull yourself up by your bootstrap toughness and friendly, helpful community for me.
How has living in Chicago affected your work? This tough winter has inspired me to start experimenting with ice dying. I figured with all the ice and snow I’d better find a way to enjoy it!
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I just worked on a collaboration with my buddy at Skim Milk that I’m really excited about. I’m starting to produce the headdresses I made for my lookbook and a few other objects that will match the shaman vibe outside the realm of dying. And I’m also trying to make bathing suits happen this year.
What past trends in fashion should never come back? Never say never — a few years ago I might have answered tie-dye! I can’t say I’m crazy about seeing Rihanna in those jnco-esque jeans but maybe by next year I’ll be sold on them.
What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? Pretty much anywhere on my motorcycle! Also shout-out to Oslo; it’s a gorgeous city that is home to several of my favorite people.
What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? Something special — I’m very attracted to one-of-a-kind pieces.
What were you like in high school? I was a punk chick with a pink and green mohawk and straightedge. I didn’t fit in in my small town so I chose the loudest look possible to give them a big fuck you, but I also loved surprising people by actually being more well-behaved than most of my class.
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? My least favorite reaction is “I love your work but I could never wear it” — I know not everyone is into prints but I try to make my pieces and fun and accessible so thats always a bummer to hear. My favorite reactions are when I describe that the shibori technique was traditionally created to mimic shapes in nature and I think that’s why a lot of my pieces take on organic shapes — people start telling me what they see — it’s very much like a Rorschach test!