Sarah Desmarais

As a textile designer-maker, Sarah produces fine hand-printed silks and hand-sewn garments using traditional means: drawing, resist printing, hand dyeing and stitching.  She has always been interested in the distinctive characteristics of slow, skilled, labour-intensive, manual craft practice, and its potential to contribute to a more sustainable and emotionally durable relationship with the things that we own.  Slow making has become the subject of a variety of ethnographic and practice-based research projects, including AHRC-funded doctoral research (2012 - 2015) into the relationship between crafts creativity and mental health. The distinctive characteristics of manual creativity are also central to her work with diverse community-based arts-for-health projects, art schools and museums. Recent projects include a post-doctoral research post with the National Alliance for Museums, Health and Wellbeing at University College London; a residency using practice-based research to explore the pedagogic potential of a collection of Japanese katagami (paper stencils) held by the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture at Middlesex University; and a residency with Bow Arts, Raw Materials: Textiles, culminating in an exhibition that explores the textile history of the Lea River Valley.  She currently supervises doctoral research at the Royal College of Art, London.