Artist Celebrates Life
Northwest Women in Business, March/April 1987
Lovers in an eternal embrace. Dancers kicking up their heels in their traditional ethnic
costumes. Jewish men dancing with their torahs. These are the images of Portland artist, Sara Harwin, who is creating a national reputation with her serigraphic and lithographic prints.
Sara is the only Oregon artist to be repeatedly invited to display her work at the
prestigious Art Expo in New York and in 1985 she was one of only 300 artists out of a field of several thousand to be chosen by UNICEF to have her work reprinted on
greeting cards which will be sold around the world.
"So many artists explore the negative aspects of life," Sara said. "I don't know why anyone would surround themselves with negativity when they can see joy." Sara
celebrates life with her recurrent themes of ethnic dance and holiday subjects. But there's no time for play when it comes to Sara's art studio, which is managed as a business.
"In order to make money from my work," said Sara, "I need to be a marketing-oriented artist. I don't create on a whim. I want to create art that will appeal to people. In order to maintain quality, but to reach a wide audience, I reproduce my work by serigraphic printing in additions of 150. I chose serigraphs, or fine art printing. I feel that when I get my work out to the public that I'm
really accomplishing something. I also believe it will lead me to other, larger projects, commissioned by companies or organizations such as tapestries, stained glass windows and ceramics. "
For instance, Sara created a stained-glass design for her window of a wedding couple whose arms form an unbroken circle. The Hebrew words, "I Am My Beloved's . . ." encircle the couple, Rabbi Joshua Stampfer saw the window and thought the design would be ideal for a chuppah--or wedding canopy--for the synagogue. Sara modified the design for needlepoint, chose the stitches and the wools and supervised execution of the canvass. The six-foot square chuppah is stretched between four metal stakes and is at once a modern and ethnic canopy under which the synagogue's nuptial services are performed.
"In order to be a success as an artist," Sara advised, "you must have unique ideas and the confidence to pursue those ideas. You must be an expert craftsman and your own judgment must be the highest criteria as to when a piece is done. I'm always looking to create perfection but never find it because there is always something new I want to do-and the excitement of creating new ideas."
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