I am a fiber artist and fashion designer exploring healing-based, holistic forms of art making based in Detroit, Michigan.
Sarah Mark is a fiber artist and fashion designer who grew up in the mountains of Northern California. She spent the first half of her career as the head designer for manufacturers in the fashion industry and has spent the second half of her creative life as a fiber artist based in Detroit. Her dedication to ethical fashion has allowed her to work with artisans in India, Ethiopia, Burundi, and Los Angeles. Her fiber art has been exhibited in Los Angeles, Austria, and Detroit galleries, festivals, and in the community spaces she facilitates such as the Neighborhood Art School and the Selah House.
I use garments to explore the capacity that clothing has to be agents of spiritual and social transformation.I am inspired by how sewing can act as a catalyst for personal and social change. On the deepest level, I create as a way to connect to the Divine, and am interested in making art as a spiritual practice on my journey of inner, communal, and land-based healing.
Making within a spiritual community context has had a profound impact on my work.I live in an intentional faith-based community called the Selah House, where we share spiritual & communal rhythms.For the last two years, I’ve been taking art retreats at a monastery to explore ways I could merge my love for fashion design with my fiber art practice.As I have explored merging my spiritual and art practice, I’ve asked questions such as, “How does a garment embedded with hours of prayer affect the wearer as well as the environment?”
I'm currently working on developing a collection of clothing created from a holistic set of ideals and it is called the Unity Collection. I will embody slow & sustainable fashion, by creating a collection of forty outfits, using all repurposed materials.My theme for the collection is the hood. I explore the theme in a variety of silhouettes such as robes, kaftans, kimonos, and more for both men and women. Every piece is handcrafted with an extreme attention to detail in the machine and hand sewing, hand painted fabrics and other embellishments.
Merging my spiritual and art practice has been teaching me the importance of listening, continuing to show up, and to act when prompted by the Spirit, even if it feels risky or scary.After spending months working on this collection, without having identified a clear purpose or person the garments were for, I had a few powerful connections with members of my community who wore the robes.Each experience produced a powerful connection to the Divine and could be characterized as a process filled with wonder and restoration in regard to the healing of land and relationships. I am dedicated to this continued exploration of how clothing can act as agents of social and spiritual transformation.
Emma Hope, 36" x 28' x .5", fabric, vinyl, thread, 2015
El Roi, 36" x 5' x .16", fabric, embroidery thread, 2018
The Throne Room, 6.4' x 19' x .25",fabric, vinyl, thread, 2019
Merging fiber at and clothing design, this kimono was made from all repurposed materials & hand-painted
gold plastic bags.
clothing as agents of social & spiritual transformation
For the last two years, I’ve been taking art retreats at a monastery to explore ways I could merge my love for fashion design with my fiber art practice.
Also, as I have been exploring merging my spiritual and art practice, I’ve been asking questions such as,
“How does a garment embedded with hours of prayer affect the wearer as well as the environment?”
Fast Fashion Lake of FYRE
KAHTARA TRANSCENDING ROBE ENCOUNTER
This hoodie robe was birthed from a place of prayer and connection with the Creator as I made this at a monastery art retreat, without knowing why or for whom. Months later, I spent time with Kahtara at an impactful juncture in her life. As she spoke of a desire for rebirth, I got an image of her standing under this sculpture at Hart Plaza, in the coral robe.
I extended an invitation for her to meet me there, and it just so happened to be on Good Friday. When we learned the remarkable significance of this location we were blown away as it is not only a commemoration to the Underground Railroad, but it is also the place Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his speech the “Great Walk to Freedom” in June of 1963.
We spent hours walking, praying and the climactic moment was when we held hands facing each other, tears streaming, and we prayer generational healing within our families.Kahtara said she summarized the experience as: “Restorative, Abundant, Free."
Abbey Anathoth Robe Encounter
Months after making this robe, I was listening to my friend Abbey Waterman talk about her methodology in how she goes about her work as a community conscious developer in Detroit.She is a Detroit native and she uses her faith to guide her decisions in all aspects of her life.
She told me the story of how she bought this burned out property because she was praying and felt led to read a scripture in the book of Jeremiah and the prophet gave instructions to buy a property that was burned and “is a desolate waste”.
Her story sat with me and soon after I had an image of her wearing the black Vigils robe on this property.I wasn’t sure what it meant, but I shared the vision and extended an invitation to meet her there.I also felt like she and I were supposed to read the Jeremiah scripture there, take communion, and if she felt led to pour out the communion wine on the property.
Abbey characterized the experience as “Restoration, Consecration, Wonder, Surprise & Vision."
FAST FASHION LAKE OF FYRE
This piece was made entirely out of garments that were destined for landfills, most likely in a developing nation, where the quantity of fast fashion rejects is so great that people are having to bury or burn the no longer desired items.The intensity of the reds and oranges speaks to the lure that we as consumers feel towards fast fashion, yet at the same time, reveals its devastating nature.
This is one of two looks I created for a collaborative runway show called Fetish, dedicated to themes centered around fashion activism.This dress was the show opener and its 30’ train set a dramatic opening presence for the flash-mob style runway performances which were a part of Detroit’s Month of Design in 2022.
I plan to use this piece as a part of the Neighborhood Art School’s fashion education program to talk about sustainability and ethical design practices.
Summer Solstice Gathering, Wahnabezee Island, Detroit
There is a line in one of the monastic prayers, “O God Creation’s Secret Force”.This line is powerful to me as a maker who is interested in the mysterious processes of creation.I’m contemplating how the energy of my creative process affects the final product I make? As a clothing designer, how does this energy affect the wearer?
I’m exploring transforming my fiber art pieces into wearable clothing.These robes are a part of that exploration.I’m listening to the Spirit and inviting others into contemplative embodied experiences for them to have their own spiritual connection with the Divine, whatever that means for them.
My husband and I are founders of two non-profit organizations in Detroit.
Here's more informationif you'd like to check those out.
neighborhood art school
We provide a space for artists to go deeper into their connection to God, art, and community.
Selah is a Hebrew word which means
"to stop, pause, and reflect."
We bring together neighbors, artists, and art educators.
We host in-person and online classes, workshops, and events
so that we can help each other develop our creative potential
Would you consider supporting my practice at $5 or $10 a month?My goal for 2023 is to get to 100 supporters!You can cancel at any time.