Wednesday, December 13, 2023

A different kind of travel photo

England Street Art Mosaic by Sara Harley
England Street Art Mosaic


I was so fortunate in 2023...I had not one, but two getaways. I has been 10 years since I've been on a plane, and over 30 years since I've been overseas. I traveled to Toronto in August to have a reunion with 3 high school friends. Although I have seen all three friends over the years, it has been over 20 years since the four of us have been together. Then in November I flew to England with my daughter-in-law (and friend). We visited London, Brighton, Oxford, and London again over ten days. It was a whirlwind! 

I put together the mosaic above as a first step in gathering my memories from my England trip. It's a compilation of mostly street art, signs, and window displays from all three cities I visited, with a few photos of flowers thrown in...72 images all blending together into one memory. 

Art in this compilation was done by, or featured in the following stores: (my apologies if I've missed someone)

@bodleianlibraries @casimiramostyn @themoominshoplondon @heavenforbirds @thegardenofoxford @lukeadamhawker @hairbyfairy
@bighugbrewing @hanningtonsbrighton @hugoandgreen @tinadavies70 @scriptumoxford @blackwellbooks @boushamgallery

 It was great fun to put together, and a good reminder of how much I love mosaics.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Commissions - are they right for you?

Sanctuary by Sara Harley

Years ago, when I was creating and selling glass art, I adopted the policy of "no commission work". I found it very stressful to create someone else's vision. I was much happier creating what felt right to me.

Earlier this year, I was approached by someone putting together an exhibit to create an image with a specific message. The project involved many different aspects of nature, soil, information and artworks. I came up with my creation Sanctuary

This was not at all what the person who approached me had in mind, and I was asked to create something totally different. This turned into quite a dilemma for me. I was asking myself... why did I say yes when I was approached with this request? Should I attempt what this person wanted? (keep in mind, this was an unpaid assignment). 

I spent a couple of days working on various ideas to accommodate this project. In the end, I decided that creating something that didn't resonate with me was not of benefit to anyone. 

However, I do have a happy ending after all. This image was published by Forget-Me-Not Press in their Bloom issue. This is also an unpaid gig, but having something published provided me with some much needed validation.

Forget-Me-Not Press Bloom Issue

Friday, April 7, 2023

Time Marches On

Time Marches On by Sara Harley
Time Marches On

The past 10 months have been challenging for me creatively. Dealing with my own health issues, as well as being a caregiver to my husband, has taken a toll.

This is not to say that I have not been creative, just that I didn't feel I had the energy to create the way I had been. I turned to a different hobby and spent months using my hands. I sewed quilts by machine, a quilt by hand, many, many small slow stitched pieces, and have started on a few larger slow stitched wall hangings. 

My mind seemed to need a slower process...I found the stitching therapeutic. I could turn my mind off and feel calmness settle in as I pushed the needle in and out of the fabric. I enjoyed the tactile sensation of the fabrics in my hands (all second hand clothing purchased for how they felt just as much as how they looked).  

I made the above image in February, and it was my first post surgery photography based creation. Using photos I took with my phone, I layered shadows on the wall with a walking crow, a still shot of a watch and various textures to come up with Time Marches On

In retrospect, I believe this image was a message to myself. It was time to resume doing what I love...creating images to express my feelings and emotions. I still haven't done that, but I now feel that I am ready to take a step back on my creative path.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

The Struggle is Real

Although I realize now that it's not uncommon among creative people, it is always a struggle for me when I go into a creative slump. I feel that I have not been productive since my cancer diagnosis in April.

However, when I look back on the year and tally up my "successes", I realize that 2022 has been my most successful year ever. A solo exhibit, my best year financially from sales, several covers, and many images published in various magazines.

But what is success? What if one's view of success shifts?

In late 2021 I decided that one of my goals was to get my work published and I set out to submit my work to various magazines. I searched online for calls for entry and selected the ones that I thought my images would work with. All but one of the submissions were sent in during the first half of the year. I answered 14 calls for submission and my work was accepted 9 times...a 64% success rate. Fantastic results, and I was thrilled each time.

After my life altering surgery in June, I spent a LOT of time thinking about my artistic life (thinking, not and wondering "where do I go from here?".  What does success mean to me now? 

As 2022 comes to a close, I still haven't come to any conclusions. I think I settle on the "answer" and then my mind drifts off on a different path. And then I chastise myself for having to come up with an answer at all. I am not trying to earn a living with my art. Why does any of this matter at all?

In order to try to capture some creative energy, I turned to quilting and have finished two quilts since October and have almost finished a third quilt. This has caused more speculation for my artistic life. 

Perhaps more thoughts to

My year wrapped up by having six of my images published in the Wander Magazine's Issue 10 - Lines. Instagram:


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Creating opportunities for yourself

Inside - Thoughts from a Pandemic published by Nevermore Press

In April 2021, I read an article in our local newspaper about a proposed book. There was an open call for authors to send stories and poetry for a "pandemic isolation anthology". The book would be published by Nevermore Press as a fund raiser for the South Shore Regional Public Libraries bookmobile.

Although there was no mention of a request for images in the open call, I prepared an email and sent some samples of my work that I thought might be appropriate for a cover. At the time, the proposed title of the book was "Isolation".

The editor responded enthusiastically and selected an image he would like to use for the cover. I was thrilled! 

Days later, I was horrified to read about his tragic death. Hearing about someone's sudden passing seems to hit close to home even when you haven't met them personally. I put all thoughts about the book aside.

Six months later, I was contacted by the new editor who had taken over. The project was going to go ahead. One year later, the book is being released!

An interesting online article about the background of the project is available to read at this link.

The book is being released on October 22nd, 2022. Inside - Thoughts from a Pandemic is available for purchase at this link. I am thrilled to be part of this project!