Hi! I'm SarahKate, welcome to my Blog!

My Speciality is honoring motherhood with Henna Tattoos, but I adorn women and their daughters for all kinds of reasons - birthday parties, rites of passage, even weddings. I love to adorn pregnant and breastfeeding women with henna then make beautiful photos for them. I live in Lafayette, CO and travel the front range from Colorado Springs, Denver and as far North as Fort Collins to find my living works or art. I am also the creative director of Artfull Mother magazine - a local magazine devoted to the interests of mothers and the art that empowers them!

  • Listening to the language of the body

    What does it mean to honor the sacred feminine in each woman I adorn for this project? It means listening, not just to her design ideas and visions, but the language of her body, the way her skin glows in the light, the design takes shape and I see it's beginning.  It don't concern myself with knowing the whole design, I trust that it will flow out of my finger tips. Line after line, leaf after leaf, feeling into the repeating patterns, the symbols, the spirals ... abundant, flowing, gently cascading across her belly & thighs, honoring her story - her truth. To see a woman's eyes sparkle as she shares her passage through the fire, to witness this telling, it is a gift.

    This first photo feels timeless, she could be her at any age in her life... This art project is not limited to young women - it is open to all ages, intended to reach women of all ancestries. Henna is an ancient practice, and holds the potential to bring us back: closer to the earth, closer to the women in our lineage, closer to our power and strength as women. From what I've learned about henna, it has been used for thousands of years by many cultures stretching from North Africa through India, and it is almost always used by women, for women, in blessing.
    During the winter we occasionally have warm days, and so we go outside to capture the natural beauty as well.  I encourage and then photograph it, her arms reaching up, embracing her place in time, her goddess within rising to the surface. I simply witness it, clicking my silver shutter button on the camera, "I see her!" and all I can do is just capture this magical moment - the resilient goddess, the sky, the clouds, the season we are in... Colorado is truly a very colorful place to live and I love the orange and yellow that is called out in this photo.
     

    Posted by SarahKate

  • Doodling through the winter

    Here we have some lovely doodles I did recently, plus a Winter Holiday drawing I forgot to post - Forest Rain. It doesn't rain much in Colorado, though this time of year it's more likely to be snowing. But it does rain, and I do remember the rain, especially the summer rain... a gentle rain, a little blessing from the sky. I love to draw, I love to create, and I am grateful that it comes so easily and just flows from my finger tips... and that women employ me to do this art. Now this drawing I did for myself when I was having my Winter Holiday art break, just drawing for me, thinking about trees and weather, and how to express that artistically. One shape and then another, moving, moving, don't stop, let it flow. What else can I say, I am an artist. I make art, it's what I do.

      I have taken it upon myself to self-educate, to naturally grow my artistic education. My art classes in school were not very satisfying, and I discovered that I learn best going at my own pace, learning through reading books, listening to podcasts, watching videos, etc. The kind of artwork I do is really unique, I am not a festival henna artist who paints the same exact design a hundred times. I end up sitting with each woman I adorn for 1 to 3 hours during her session, so I have time to create something brand new each time. This kind of art calls for a huge background of design ideas, all my files. Furthering my artistic education has meant that I've made time to really dive in where I feel called. All my life I have been struck with fun, creative ideas and I have the persistence & know-how to manifest most of them. 
     Roughly 15 years ago, I came a cross the idea of reading biographies & autobiographies of people who pursue a similar career to mine, and it has set me on a path to find all those books and read them. Specifically I was looking for women with artistic careers. There aren't many books about them! But recently, I found out about Debbie Millman.  I recognized her from an awesome skillshare.com course I'd taken last year and as I began listening to her podcast I realized that absolutely LOVED the sound of her voice. She interviews all kinds of artists, authors, designers, etc - both men and women. It is absolutely fascinating to hear about all the different trajectories an Art Career can take.
       I try to get the books recommended and read those too, and I recently came across an amazing gem of a book called "In the Company of Women." This is fascinating! It is a thick book with full color photos of 100 women in creative businesses. I love it! I am so inspired!
     
      What inspires you? 

    Posted by SarahKate

  • I met Alisa years ago when she modeled for my pregnancy art project back in 2011. She recently requested to be a model for my Sacred Feminine Art Project, and when she contacted me and said "I wondered if we could somehow commemorate the journey I've been going through the last few months with my mental health. I suffer from (what was determined late last year as) treatment-resistant depression, so treatments over the years haven't worked all too well with me. I tried a big, newer treatment this spring that didn't really work, and finally, mid-June, I started electro-convulsive therapy... where you go under anesthesia and the doctors use electrodes on your head to induce a seizure. ... I've gotten much, MUCH better since starting this treatment; unfortunately it's led to quite a bit of memory loss (as is to be expected), both from during the time I've had treatment as well as over the years I suffered from such intense depression. I'm telling you all this to hopefully get some ideas from you on what to do for the art/design. I'd love to do something big, something meaningful."

    As I read this and felt honored to incorporate this idea into the art project, but I wasn't sure what kind of design might be right. Then she wrote back and added: "I had an idea that I'm a little infatuated with at the moment and I'm linking to a video that explains the idea behind it (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1yIWXUjVxo)... What I'm thinking is like broken/cracked imagery kinda all over my body, so like this Japanese Kintsugi, but using henna instead of gold. I had trouble finding things on people online. Plus I'm kinda interested in incorporating a few other pretty designs into it somehow... would love your thoughts and ideas on this. I love this idea most especially since I'm looking to honor my mental health journey with this henna." I was blown away by this video! I loved the concept of re-creating this in henna... I quickly googled it and found these images that I used to create the henna design. The philosophy behind Kintsugi is that the breakage and repair are part of the history of this vessel, and showing this resiliency makes it more beautiful.

    Alisa arrived and sat with a cup of tea in my special tattoo chair in my home studio, and I spent almost 3 hours creating this design. I began by drawing an outline, then filling it in with one thin layer of henna (the gold) and then coming back and filling that in with henna designs. As I created this, I heard her story, I felt her pain, her challenge. The truth is, you never know what battles someone is facing ... until they tell you ... then you have *some* idea. If you are interested in reading about Alisa's journey, check out her blog: https://livingcloudcuckooland.blogspot.com/2017/09/in-my-place-in-my-place-were-lines-that.html

    I showed Alisa a book I'd made of another model for the Sacred Feminine Project and talked about how some women have special outfits that had sat in the back of a closet for years. If you have something like that Alisa, bring it. Now I know not everyone has something, or has the inspiration, but some women bring bags of goodies, special necklaces & earrings, that pretty bra, shawls they love that were precious gifts, even costumes like bat woman. It turns out Alisa did have a lot of things from her wardrobe to incorporate! We spent about an hour going though all her dress up (with a little bit of mine too), ending in some lovely rose petals showered on her.... It was warm enough outside for a brief photo shoot. I love the natural yellowish orange color of the Colorado grass in the winter... I must say, this is a lot of fun, for both of us. It makes me so happy to create this kind of art, to see, find and capture the beauty in every woman. I love photography because then that moment can be held onto forever, and bring a smile to the lips years and years from now.

    Do you see on her bracelet what it says? "You are enough" 

    Posted by SarahKate

  • Pregnancy henna from January 2018! Looking at this henna I am really pleased with my new skills that I developed over winter holiday. As I adorned this mama for her 2nd pregnancy, she relaxed and even drifted off to sleep - which is not uncommon for mothers of young children. Her request was for mountains, lake and forest creatures. A couple of deer stood out to me and I had fun placing hem in a little garden of delight on the side of her belly, beside the lake. I love how it seems like a true perspective, with the lake and mountains almost blurry in the distance.

    I adore the shapes of the bark on the tree, the imperfections in my henna which reflect the quickness with which it was created. This art took about 90 minuets, and I switched sides several times, waiting for an area to try. Painting layer after layer of mother nature in all her glory, the sunset, the deer lovingly gazing at each other, the sleepy fox, that beautiful moment when all seems perfect and right in the world.... the baby about to be born, the blessing.... I never get tired of it, I am always exited to adorn the next belly and see what happens, what art will come through! It is fun being a spontaneous artist, and there is a distinct freedom that comes with my art being temporary.

    Posted by SarahKate

  • Ocean landscapes remind me of my time in Hawaii

    My Winter Holiday Art Project involved some ocean landscapes as well. Looking at the water, I recall my time on the Big Island of Hawaii... with all the turtles, the big puffy clouds, that idyllic lifestyle...
      I am so grateful got to spent 3 years in Hawaii in my 20s, practically right by the sea, and had the chance to swim with the dolphins & turtles. The photo is from this time in my life, when I loved living in a bikini and shorts. It had all started with a crazy idea back in the cold of winter in Colorado, that it wasn't too late to pack up a suitcase (backpack) and just spend time doing a work trade on a farm.
      Hawaii mornings would start with the raucous sounds of a million birds waking up, which I loved. We'd climb out of our tree house and begin our farm day, which for me was usually watering but sometimes planting baby basil plants or other salad greens. This was the education I really needed - and I dove deep. Afternoons were often spent in the water, and pretty much every time we saw something cool. Mostly turtles, but always lots of colorful fish in the reef. Occasionally we'd see dolphins, and a couple times sharks.  There was no sandy beach, instead we stepped to the edge of the lava rocks and jumped in, swimming arm over arm, traveling, watching the ocean floor below me slowly pass by with  hill after hill of coral ... the splash of my hands, the googles fogging up, needing to be wiped. I loved the rush of diving down to the bottom of the ocean floor and taking a close look at the interesting bits of sea life.
      The opportunity to live very close to the water and swim daily was something that healed me to be sure.  The Artist within me finally rose to the surface when I discovered my Medium of Henna on the island (in a kit!). To receive so much encouragement from everyone I tattooed with my first kit was a wonderful way to embrace the art and learn as I went along with forgiving friends. It was the people in my life that made all the difference, who received my shaky beginning tattoos and praised by work. That was 14 years ago! 

    Posted by SarahKate

  • Mama & baby bear henna design

    The first pregnancy henna of 2018! Mama-to-be requested bears and mountains... not really any large trees but flowers instead - especially succulents. Ideas were explored about the shape, position and filling of the bears. I gazed at succulents on my phone (a new request). When she said mountains, I ran upstairs to my desk, and sitting in the spotlight was a lovely little blue research drawing I'd done over Winter Holiday.

    At the time, I was deep in the realm of self education, where I was drawing a whole series of landscapes as a form of spontaneous obsessive creative expression. I decided to take a break from "work", and not really turn on my computer much, not do any work for clients for the whole holiday. In the space and time that was left behind, I found myself relaxing by listening to podcasts (Design Matters by Debbie Millman is my currently favorite) and doodling. Then doodling progressed to an art idea that I've been wanting to work on, the progression from tiny flower to mountain top. I broke out lots of inspiration and began to bring it all together, trying out one new idea after another. There are so many ways to fill space. Dot after dot after dot, filling space, making stars or sand... leaf after leaf drawn, feeling the closeness of the trees, then the forest. What does it look like, when the trees get smaller? These are art problems I sat an solved with my blue sharpie with great satisfaction. I also played with layers of dirt and the mushrooms that grow under bushes. The piles of rock, the sediment ... I tried two big leaf shapes but they ended up looking like gravestones. Not so good. But perhaps as reminder of our ancestors. I am happy with the work I do, I love to be an artist. I love to make art so much that it's what I do when I'm on break, during the holidays...

    Posted by SarahKate

  • A decade of art work honoring pregnancy!

    10 years ago I started an art project, and 10 years later I have this giant file of model releases. 756 in all. My art project was never intended to go on this long, my original intention was for it to be short - an artistic exercise that would result in my first pregnancy. I really felt like it was a matter of time, inevitable, that I would have a baby too.

    10 years ago I started an art project, and I am amazed at how far it's taken me. The hundreds of women I've met, and spent 1 to 30 hours painting each one. Every woman has a story, a life she wasn't expecting. The intention behind the project was twofold, 1) to celebrate another woman's pregnancy with love and 2) to find peace with my fertility journey. At first it was a little awkward, I'll admit. What I remember the most is the warmth which these first models exuded, who embraced me and opened up about their journey. Making art on their bellies, whose residents often kicked back, began my healing. Who can be in the presence of a baby (or unborn baby) and not feel peace like this? It washed over me and filled those cracks in my being that felt the pain of not having this experience.

    For 10 years I have heard hundreds of struggles with infertility, and all manner of results. It was a journey that went on and on, and with each turn in the road, I felt ever more called to purse it, to keep on asking to hear more stories, have more models come over. I just really fell in love with this stage of life, in awe of the strength of a woman's body. It was a journey that I kept expecting to end with a baby, but that baby never came. With each woman I met, I found more and more peace from the project, and slowly came to accept that I would not get to experience pregnancy this lifetime.

    10 years ago I started an art project, and averaged 6 models every month. It has been amazing to see to blossom into an Art Career. Not just pregnant women, but postpartum women, women who were breastfeeding, and then the last few years I have incorporated all kinds of women, in all stages of life, some who have never had or will have the role of mother. To find beauty in all, to make beauty of all, to listen.

    10 years ago I started an art project and I'm so glad I did. It changed the course of my life. I especially give thanks to my amazing husband Rob, who has encouraged me to create more art since we first met, 13+ years ago. When I talked about doing this art project 10 years ago, Rob said to me, "Why don't you have each woman sign a model release? Then you can publish a book when you're done." This liberated me. Create a book! I went on to create 6.

    Posted by SarahKate

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