We are delighted to announce The Sower by West Seattle artist Sarah Mottaghinejad has been selected as the winner of our annual art competition. The artwork will be featured on the 2017 West Seattle Garden Tour’s marketing materials, including the official poster and ticket book. Sarah will also receive a $500 cash prize.
The Sower features cherry veneer, acrylic, watercolor, mica, and hollyhock seeds on a clay panel measuring 18” x 24”. The art selection committee was entranced by the arms in the artwork, and how the woodgrain looked like ripples of hair, or muscles. We asked about her inspiration for the use of cherry. She replied, "I love woodworking. I like to make furniture and wooden books and wood engravings, and as I saw the arms reaching down in my head, they were made of wood."
Sarah says she is a storyteller before anything else. As a letterpress printer and bookbinder, she mostly works with paper, but will use any medium that best tells the story. What drives her life is how small steps, consistently taken, small seeds, consistently nurtured, can change the world.
We asked about the inspiration behind The Sower, which she said took her two attempts to tell the exact story she wanted to convey. While she declined to reveal her personal story behind the art ("...that story will be different for everyone..."), we did learn a little about her connection to gardening and the flowers in the painting.
"I'm a lifelong gardener and lover of plants," Sarah says. "It was hard to grow things in southern Utah [where I grew up] because of drought conditions, but I worked for a woman from church who had her own well and the most beautiful garden. As an adult, I've rarely lived in a place where I could have a garden, but I do now and I love walking out my front door to be greeted by calla lilies. Hollyhocks were the only flowers that really thrived at my childhood home."
We were stunned to learn that, while she has a master’s degree in Linguistics, Sarah has very little formal art training. "I've been in love with the idea of making art my whole life, but I didn't start to understand the work involved until about seven years ago," Sarah says. "I took a painting class my junior year of high school, and I have a friend who used to give me feedback until I started feeling confident enough to create without affirmation." She currently works as an instructional designer, practicing her art and craft on the weekends.
Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your artwork with your fellow garden lovers. We are thrilled to be able to include The Sower in our 2017 tour campaign.
West Seattle Garden Tour will auction the artwork on the day of the tour, Sunday, June 25, 2017. Bids will be taken in one of the gardens from 9 AM to 5 PM. Proceeds will benefit the year’s designated beneficiaries, which will be announced next week.