A Web Native Goes From the Screen to the Loom

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By Alex Ronan / Photos by George Underwood
Designer Sara Berks gets tactile with textiles.

Sara Berks studied graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She then pursued a career in web design, but digital work left her craving something more tactile. Drawn to the idea of hand making something from start to finish, she picked up a small loom and taught herself how to weave. Soon after, she left her job to start a line of tapestries named Minna for a beloved (and slightly rebellious) grandmother.


A Web Native Goes From the Screen to the Loom - Photo 1 of 5 - Named after a poem by American writer Mary Oliver, the Wild Geese rug is available in two colorways: peach (shown) and gray.

Named after a poem by American writer Mary Oliver, the Wild Geese rug is available in two colorways: peach (shown) and gray.


A Web Native Goes From the Screen to the Loom - Photo 2 of 5 - The Ilse Throw and the Elaine Throw paired side by side. 

The Ilse Throw and the Elaine Throw paired side by side. 


A Web Native Goes From the Screen to the Loom - Photo 3 of 5 - A detail of the Elaine Throw, handwoven in Oaxaca, Mexico. 

A detail of the Elaine Throw, handwoven in Oaxaca, Mexico. 

From the beginning, Berks has pushed against the strict grid of the loom, employing geometric shapes in wonky patterns on her wildly textural, often shaggy works. Color palettes drawn from natural landscapes offset the experimental aspect of the weavings. Explaining the brand’s recent expansion into rugs, pillows, and blankets, she says, "I had this desire to make functional objects, probably because I went to design school, not art school."

Berks traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, last year with a hope of tapping into the region’s rich textile history to ethically produce her home goods. "Almost immediately, I found myself in women’s homes, sketching designs and practicing my Spanish," she says. Within a month, Berks received a flurry of text messages containing photos of her rugs. "It was the most incredible thing to see my sketches come to life," she says. Berks has also partnered with Guatemalan artisans and is currently developing rugs with the textural depth of her early tapestries.


A Web Native Goes From the Screen to the Loom - Photo 4 of 5 - Berks created the Georgia wall hanging, made with natural fibers, by freeform weaving a collage of varying textures and visual motifs.

Berks created the Georgia wall hanging, made with natural fibers, by freeform weaving a collage of varying textures and visual motifs.

A Web Native Goes From the Screen to the Loom - Photo 5 of 5 - Inspired by landscapes, the Cartographer pillow features organic patterns and shapes handwoven by artisans in Totonicapan, Guatemala.  

Inspired by landscapes, the Cartographer pillow features organic patterns and shapes handwoven by artisans in Totonicapan, Guatemala.  

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