A Web Native Goes From the Screen to the Loom
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.
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.