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Mantra is a series of botanical sculptures and cross-stitched affirmations, inspired by Sarah’s experiences with gender-based trauma and healing. Two different colors of growth represent a time in her childhood when she split herself in half in order to both stay connected with family and survive the world outside her home. Sarah’s healing journey has been one of moving toward reintegration, of embracing the idea that her two selves can coexist and even be friends.
The cross stitch hoop and embroidery thread are a nod to Sarah’s heritage. She comes from a long line of Midwestern farm women who sewed and quilted. Sarah seeks to honor parts of them that live on in her while re-contextualizing parts that no longer serve her. The affirmations came out of Sarah’s EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy. These pieces act as sacred, healing meditations while she is designing and sewing them. They are a reimagining of a tool used in the education of her foremothers: the schoolgirl sampler.

About the Workshops at Art Produce


Workshop 1

Collaborator Carolyn Klusmeier, Registered Associate MFT #100568 (supervised by E. Ruby Tovar-Morin, LMFT at The Soul Care House) presented on trauma, its effects on the body, mind and spirit and current approaches to healing in her field. Sarah Cusey gave an artist talk and led a hands-on artistic reflection. Powerful healing words generated from the experience were used as the foundation for artmaking in subsequent workshops.


Workshops 2 & 3

Sarah facilitated sewing circles, guiding participants through the basics of cross-stitch. Each person had the opportunity to stitch a healing word and sculpt with paper. Participants also collaborated on a large paper sculpture, Tea and Crinkles.

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