Sarah K. Benning is an American fiber artist with a nomadic studio practice (primarily splitting her time between the U.S. and Spain). Originally from Baltimore, she attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received her BFA in Fiber and Material Studies.
Shortly after graduating in 2013, Sarah discovered her love for embroidery almost by accident and the hobby quickly turned into her full-time career. Sarah currently works out of a quiet studio in New Hampshire.
Though Sarah's formal training and background are in the fine arts, she is self-taught in the craft of embroidery. She approaches each piece primarily as an illustration, often abandoning traditional stitches and techniques in favor of bold shapes, playful patterns, and contemporary subject matter. Her emphasis on drawing, composition, and color choice keeps her work fresh and vibrant.
Sarah’s work is inspired by interior design trends, a love for Midcentury design, antique textiles, and her own potted plant collection. Each piece begins as a drawing before being meticulously hand-stitched. In this way, the thread become more like ink or paint than traditional embroidery, which accentuates the bold shapes, patterns, and color in the compositions.
Over the course of several years and lots of trial and error, Sarah has developed a very distinct embroidery style and aesthetic. In addition to exhibiting and selling finished pieces, Sarah shares her love of embroidery through a monthlyPattern Program and occasionally teaches workshops and master classes.
During her time at VAR, Sarah gathered inspiration from the boat, the surrounding environment in Sausalito, and the resources of the Bay Area. Through daily drawing, planning, and stitching her surroundings Sarah will collected images and resources that will continue to influence her work for the coming months even beyond her residency term.