About Sarah Drake
The place you grow up never leaves you. It has such a hold on you; shapes who you become. Walk down the road I grew up on in Santa Barbara and you reach a eucalyptus-lined path that leads to the Pacific. The weathered sun-bleached stairs are underfoot as you descend to the sand, which is peppered with pods and leaves from the trees. This place, nestled between mountains and sea, stays with you. Its scent, its people, its way, color everything you do. It’s this place I still call home, and it influences much of what I create, and want to share with you.
My artistic process involves staying true to the values I inherited while growing up. Our new logo is a nod to the Japanese church I grew up in, and the aesthetic that I learned through our community is a large influence in my work. You’ll see a respect for the Japanese principles of simplicity, subtleness, and discipline in the illustrations and watercolors I produce.
My grandfather, more affectionately known as Pop, played a huge role in the creation of our monogram collection. Pop was an amazing painter, sculptor, carver, and for many years, he painted beautiful florals on fine china. Pop taught china painting for over 20 years to dedicated students in Northern California. As a child, I received special pieces from him: a plate only brought out at Christmas, and a delicate mug covered with pink roses and rimmed with gold. It wasn’t until I was married in 2000 that he started sending me plates; you had to be married to receive such beauties.
I knew my grandfather had a unique talent, and I wanted to learn from him. So, I wrote to him and he instructed me where to buy china. He even announced that he would be ready to teach me what to do the following summer. His guidance has been a huge part of my process. My favorite part? We actually have our china manufactured at the very place he recommended and used for his own china.
When I was 4, my parents gave me a beautiful handmade dollhouse. Each wooden shingle was split and applied by hand, my mother crafted the railing to the wrap around porch, and she painted it white. My father painted the trim of the two-story Victorian to match our home. My grandmother even created the mini linen bedding, including a canopy and dust ruffle for the four poster bed. I spent hours each week, immersed in that miniature world. I would make sure the table was set to show that a meal had been eaten, or that the bed was authentically rumpled to show that the family had just risen. I loved everything about that dollhouse, and its representation of the values my parents instilled in me: the importance of craftsmanship, connection, and authenticity.
The homes we create hold the memories that make up our lives. The meals, the moments, the everyday comings and goings are the rhythms and rituals that define our space as uniquely itself. And the things we have in our homes… A letter from your mother congratulating you on your first job. The yield from a garden you planted with your son. Your wedding china. Your grandmother's Christmas cookie recipe. These things have history attached to them, memories built into the sight and feel of them. My mission is to create items that deserve to contain your memories. Ones that are worthy of being held on to. From wedding invitations made with fine cotton stock, to the embroidered linen handkerchief receiving your father's tears of joy on the big day. These things are important to us, and serve as a connection to the people and moments that matter most in our lives.
Today, I make my home in Chicago with my husband, two sons, and our dog, Hobbes.