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Mixed Media Artist: Sabrina Ward Harrison

We recently had artist Sabrina Ward Harrison visit our school to give an artist talk and workshop with the kids.  Today I am going to introduce you to her artwork and life as an artist.  In Part Two of this post, I will share with you some of the amazingly diverse mixed media collages that the students made in response to learning about her artwork.  All of the artwork on this page was made by Sabrina.

Her message to the students overwhelmingly was “Make Your Life”

Make what YOU want to find.

Sabrina quote

Sabrina grew up in Canada, has lived in many cities from coast to coast and has lived in Madison, Wisconsin for the past couple of years.  She has always loved textures, old papers and found objects.  From an early age she liked to find things on the street or thrift stores or whatever she came upon in her life.  She does not like to start with a clean white piece of paper.  She would rather use an old roughed up piece of wood or paper with marks on it already.

In high school she discovered art and photography.  She began keeping journals about her feelings and filling them up with painting, drawing and writing.  She decided to make what she most wanted to find…  a book about truths and questions.  At the age of 23 her art journal with paintings, collages, photography and truths was published.

Her next book Brave on the Rocks was about traveling through Italy, not knowing anyone, finding herself and finding confidence on her own.
Sabrina lives an artful life.  Her home and environment becomes her art.  She has always loved making up her bedroom.  She has a painting she made when she was a child up on her wall now.  That art is just as important to keep.  She is inspired by looking at details in nature.  She recommends playing and finding inspiration in things around you.  She talked about building forts on the beach with driftwood and branches.
Sabrina art

The children asked some questions to her:  Where do you get inspiration from?

Moments in life.  Moments when I’m alive, in a new place, exploring by myself and doing things with my hands.

Why do you make collages?

I like the layering and working with my hands.

Why does your art often have the wheel shape?

Each slice of the pie (or wheel) is a way to represent a different memory.  The pinwheel shape is a way to collect a story.

sabrina art wheel shape

One final part of her artwork she didn’t talk much about was her girl faces made from ink, paint and collage.  They look kind of like self-portraits and they show up in her artwork at different times.  The collage aspect of the faces is very intriguing, almost magical to me.


To follow Sabrina and find out more about her art, check out her Instagram page.

To listen to her Room in the Trees podcast, visit their website.

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In the next post, I will share with you some of the artwork my students made in a workshop with her.

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We had a great time with lots of fun materials to use!

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Here is a picture of me, Sabrina and Jayne (our middle school art teacher).


If you are interested in her books, check them out here:

Messy Thrilling Life: The Art of Figuring Out How to Live

And the Story Is Happening

The True and the Questions: A Journal

Messy Thrilling Life: The Art of Figuring Out How to Live

Brave on the Rocks: If You Don’t Go, You Don’t See

Spilling Open: The Art of Becoming Yourself

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About Marcia Beckett

Marcia is an elementary art teacher and loves painting, drawing, sculpture, art journaling and clay. Her blog, Art is Basic, features many exciting art projects for kids.

One Response to Mixed Media Artist: Sabrina Ward Harrison

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