Meet Sarah Woods, the artist who can bring to life anything from bespoke shoes to glittered glasses.
Skool Girl just had to let you know all about the process behind this quirky crafter from Kent…She’s AMAZINGright?
Describe the general process you go through to conceptualise and customise your art and designs.
My designs come from the heart. The real beauty in what I do is its 100% specific to the customer’s requirements: What makes them smile? What do they love? What style are they most comfortable with? It’s all about understanding my customer’s needs and creating something that will get that “WOW!” response (which always makes my day!) The whole point of ‘customised items’ is that they are designed for one specific person and in this way all of my items carry a little bit of my heart with them too.
When did you realise your desire to become involved in art and design?
I first picked up a paintbrush when I was two-years-old and I am sure my mother would say it seems like I have never put it down! I have always been creative and ‘arty’ and from a young age, I have always seen a certain beauty in taking something and adapting or re-vamping it to make it beautiful. I studied art at A level but went on to do a completely unrelated Bachelors and Masters at university. It was about two years ago when I decided to really throw myself at customising shoes and learn everything there is to know about how to do it successfully.
What elements do you believe make your designs unique?
Every item I customise is unique in the sense that the whole design is created for that specific customer. By that I don’t just mean I can add someone’s name to the design; it incorporates their favourite colours characters, memories all those things that you can’t just grab off a shelf in a shop. I believe individuality is one of our most beautiful aspects and should be celebrated every single day. Who wants to blend in when you can stand out with shoes that makes everyone’s jaws drop?!
“I believe individuality is one of our most beautiful aspects and should be celebrated every single day.”
How would you define the Sarah Woods style?
I believe my specific style is unique and quirky and best of all personal! I love the fact that the things I make are not only unique to the customer but there will not be another pair of shoes out there in the whole world that is just like them. That always gives me such a buzz and sense of accomplishment and why I think my customers come back again and again!
Who are some of your favourite artists / designers and why?
In terms of artists I would have to say that Salvador Dali is my all-time favourite. I remember seeing his paintings as a child and thinking a mixture of “What on earth is THAT all about?” coupled with “That is utterly AMAZING!”There’s something really beautiful about the confusion and inexplicable nature to his work. I remember thinking “Well, I’m sure HE knows what he’s going on about here but I’m pretty sure no one else does!”Not everything can be explained and I think that was something I felt drawn to and could relate to. As far as shoes go, I can clearly remember the first time I ever saw a pair of Iron Fist heels and was completely blown away. The idea that shoes can be made beautiful in a completely unconventional way really sparked my interest and got my creative cogs turning and I have never looked back.
From personal experience, where are the best places to gain art / design skill, knowledge and understanding?
I am completely self-taught at what I do. There is a lot to be said for trial and error and learning as you go – trust me it’s hard, it’s frustrating, it’s tough but it makes the successful positive moments even better because of it. I turned to a lot of creative advice groups on Facebook for a better understanding of the best products to use: adhesives, sealants, which paints work best, what shoes/styles/materials work best etc. It’s all about sparking ideas, seeing what’s out there, what isn’t, how can you stand out? Networking is also a great way to meet likeminded people and share in the joy of what you do as well as pick up some hints and tips along the way. I’ve made some amazing friends for life along my journey and wouldn’t change it for the world.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
My advice for aspiring artists would be NEVER GIVE UP! I know that will sound like something your teachers and parents keep saying but trust me its true! Success doesn’t come over night, its takes a lot of time, effort and most of all you have to love what you do otherwise what’s the point? Learn at every opportunity and don’t be afraid to take risks. Be passionate. If you never fail at anything you will never fully appreciate how great success really feels, right?! Completely immerse yourself in doing what you love, grab every chance you get and don’t stop until you are smiling every day because you truly love what you do!