It is a pleasure to be able to introduce a variety of artists, designers and makers to you on this blog. Introducing this week’s maker, Sarah Booth, is a particular joy. When we were children, our homes were next-door-but-one to each other and our gardens joined at the back of the houses. We have been friends as long as I can remember.
Sarah has always been creative. She trained as a graphic designer at Central St Martin’s in London and has worked both in industry and as a teacher in Further Education. She is also an entrepreneur. Under the imprint slb1 publishing, Sarah collated, edited and self-published an illustrated book of her mother’s diaries (1946-50). The book is entitled ‘2am Rolling Home’ and you can see images of the pages here. She also published stationery items featuring black and white photographs taken by her father John E. A. Bolton (look at the images here). You can also see some of his work hanging in Sarah’s studio (photographs below).
For the last eight years, however, Sarah has been concentrating on working with cane and rush, working from her studio next to her house in Bucks. She is in demand for her skilled work in replacing both cane and rush seats in chairs and also for using these materials to make seats and backs for contemporary furniture. She also produces lovely homewares, such as baskets and place-mats. These beautiful table-mats with plaited edges are made of rushes. I am the proud owner of a set of six.
I visited Sarah’s studio to see her work in progress. The natural rushes are kept in the studio, ready for use.
The tools Sarah uses are kept close at hand.
This antique chair has a new rush seat, which is almost finished.
I had the chance to look underneath the seat of a chair Sarah was working on. You can see the ends of the rushes held in place until they are finally woven in. This is patient, skilled, painstaking work.
And here is the chair – one of a pair – with their finished seats.
There is a basket under construction beneath a display of Sarah’s father’s photographs.
Recently, Sarah’s work has included making wastepaper baskets for an important historic building (Mottisfont Abbey).
She has also completed seats and backs for two very contemporary chairs.
You can see more on the website and her Instagram feed (links below).
The link to Sarah’s website is here: https://sportsmanscorner.co.uk/
Sarah’s Instagram is here: https://www.instagram.com/sportsmanscorner/