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Let us introduce you to Sara Berks, the designer and creator behind MINNA. The unique textiles and art objects she creates in her Brooklyn based studio convey two of the things we love and admire the most: contemporary aesthetic with nostalgic practices and craftsmanship. As the textile artist herself states, her work is incredibly driven by color, texture and pattern. We talked to her in order to get to know more about her upbringing and her conception of the kind of craft she engenders.

Sara left her home in Connecticut to study graphic design in New York. The move from a small town with little stimulation was definitely enlightening for a creative girl eager to find her own way into artistic expression – and New York couldn’t have been a better choice. “Moving to NY was a dream since I was kid. I was attracted to the diversity, the arts, the people. There’s always art and music to see. Everyone here is here for a different reason.”

After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in New York, she worked as an interactive web designer and art director, but soon noticed that wasn’t made for her and decided to go freelance and start over. “I realized that weaving and textiles made me so much happier than graphic design. I was finally able to create tangible things, interesting things. Weaving made sense to me. It's a repetitive, meditative process. My previous artwork was always very repetitive, almost to an obsessive degree. Weaving felt like a natural progression.” So Sara’s case constitutes another example that training is not always strictly necessary in order to be successful in the field you are genuinely good at.

She finds inspiration in almost everything that catches her eye. Vintage textiles, photographs, landscapes, colors and architecture – but also words and stories. She recalls the Bauhaus period as one of her main references – with artists like Anni Albers –, both for textiles and graphic design, and also the weavers of the 70’s, such as Sheila Hicks. You can tell she’s extremely sensitive to colors, patterns and of course textures. Weaving, as a patterned process itself, allows her to start with tiny patterns to finally build larger ones that result into wall hanging art objects. And stylistically? “My work ranges. Sometimes it's much more organic, sometimes it's very geometric. Lately, my work is very map-like, which was a common theme in my drawing and painting work from college. It feels nice to return to those ideas in a different medium.”

MINNA’s unique handmade pieces – made of simple frame looms, a navajo comb and various types of fibers – can be understood as a celebration of the return to the crafts. Definitely committed to the handmade movement, the artist chooses to work with small artisan groups to foster a continuation of traditional craft.

She is currently developing a collection of textiles for the home – such as pillows, rugs and blankets – to be launched in late 2015 or early 2016. We cannot wait to see the new MINNA’s weaving wonders.

WORDS
TERESA CRESPÍ
PORTRAIT
DARA MAGAGNOLI
PHOTOS
GEORGE UNDERWOOD AND JOSEPH CANOZA

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