Meet the designer | Sarah Watson

Sarah WatsonPen to Thread is the new book from Sarah Watson. She is a designer, illustrator and author who lives on a farm in a mountainous region of Southern Brazil. Very nice! We caught up with her recently to find out more about her new book.




Textile design has always been a true love for sarah Watson. We wanted to find out whether mixing her illustrations with a love of embroidery was a natural progression.

“Looking back, maybe there was a ta-dah moment, but as the process was happening it seemed very fluid and natural, so I might have missed it. I’ve embroidered for a long time, and also drawn for a long time, and have always embroidered my own designs. So let’s say that the two parts of this book, the cute and quirky designs, and the embroidery technique, they’ve slowly been growing together for the last 10 years.” Sarah explained

“I live in Brazil, and I’ve seen these trees that literally grow out of the crooks and crannies of other trees. It feels like that. They’re two separate trees, but are mutually beneficial, growing off each other.”

Sarah Watson - Pen to Thread

Pen to Thread has over 750 whimsical motifs, which feature all manner of illustrations from maracas to a submarine. That is a lot of illustrations to come up with.

“[I had already drawn] about a third of the designs, maybe even more, I already had drawn, and even already embroidered some, such as the floral alphabet, before I had much of the idea of the book in my head. But the majority of the illustrations were done especially for the book, or edited from previous drawings of mine to better suit embroidery. I think the oldest drawing probably predates the book by about 5 years. It was really wonderful looking back through old sketchbooks and sheets of paper searching through designs that hadn’t gone very far, seeing if they would work for embroidery.”

Pen to Thread Lobster

A lot of the feedback we have seen about the book is that it has inspired others to create their own embroidery designs.

“That was not the intention at all, but I’m so excited that it’s become the outcome, though. I think the book is really beautiful and inspirational, so it’s great to have on hand as a reference, and if it inspires you to create your own designs, I really feel like the book is a success. I would love to see reader’s work! You can tag your embroideries with #PenToThread to share with me and the world.”

We wanted to get some fun facts about Sarah Watson. We were not quite prepared for the facts she was about to share with us!

1, I studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design, and wanted to major in Drawing, but at the time, it was not offered as a major. I also played volleyball for four years in college (they’ve recently done away with sports to focus the school on the arts), and a teammate saw a pair of vintage-y shorts that I wore to practice one day, and recommended that I check out the Fibers programs. It was in this program that I learned textile design.

2, I personally think the worst place to prick yourself with a needle is under your fingernail. I’m sure every sewer has their own worst place opinion, that is mine.

3, I live on a farm in a mountainous region of Southeast Brazil. It’s really lovely and inspiring, and has no internet connection, which I see as a pro, and a con. We have chickens, cows, a pony, mule, horses, and so many birds, toucans, parrots (that nested in our house for a few months, did you know parrots snore?). Not all the animals are ours, though, most of them are friends of ours and they graze on our land, which I’m currently trying to reforest.

4, I love composting. This is sort of a weird one, but it amazes me how you can take manure, kitchen scraps, leaves, paper and really anything that once came from the ground, and turn it in to soil food. Last month I started a giant sized compost pit and once a week I take my car, drive around the property collecting manure, leaves twigs and grass and dump it in the pit, with the help of my neighbor. Fun, right?

Sarah Watson has a clear vision for her brand. It’s to fill your life with clever and stimulating pattern and color on a range of products that are diverse, but not frivolous. “I want you to feel that you can escape to a luxurious, funny or colorful place when you see my patterns. I aim to partner sophisticated and lasting designs with quality products that can be enjoyed a lifetime, and passed on to future generations.”

Pen to Thread coverYou can see a sneak peek of Pen to Thread here and order it online today on our website or get the eBook.

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About Nadine

Nadine dabbles in a wide range crafts. If it's pretty and she wants to make it, she'll learn the technique to do so. She is also never without a cup of tea in her hands.