About Sandra Haff
I have always “made stuff” but my generation did not recognize my creations as art so I never thought of myself an "artist." As a teenager, I took my first art class which was a most unfortunate experience… my Dad thought I had painted a mouse when, indeed, it was a vase!
So much for art… back to my “stuff.”.
I loved making things. I paid for a part of my college tuition by making one-of-a-kind wedding dresses (and cleaning dorm toilets). I subsequently found myself making three dimensional sweaters, tie dying, taking photographs and much more. I tried pottery once but it was pitiful.
Fast forward several years, I began working with people who were homeless. It was clear to me that some of our social services were failing many of those who spent years on the street. It seemed logical that if the creative process centered me, it may also have some value for them. So, along with many other people, I launched I Love a Parade, an arts program to serve women who were chronically homeless Most of them had no previous art experience beyond grade school. Not surprisingly (at least to me) they flourished and soon they were exhibiting in juried art shows and winning awards.
I was with I Love a Parade as director for thirteen years. It was one of the most rewarding times of my life. I did, however, began to realize that I was so caught up in providing an artistic outlet for others that I neglected my own need to create. I began setting aside time every Monday to work on my own designs. I found myself making figures of women dancers out of fabric and other found objects. Encouraged by the women at I Love a Parade and my friend, Dave, just before my 65th birthday, I took the most unlikely step of exhibiting the results at my first ever art show. At the reception, someone suggested that I was the second Grandma Moses! Dave’s response to that was “That’s not likely after people see her unique, quirky and definitely not primitive art. And it is even less likely after they meet Sandra, who can always be relied upon to surprise, delight and outrage almost everyone who meets her.”
My mixed media sculptures generally take the form of dancers and are created from found, recycled or repurposed objects that I gather from the streets, junk yards, the woods, railroad tracks and any other place I might be. My friends also provide me with objects of challenge. This is the really fun part of what I do… a discovery turned into an idea and then a transformation!
The assemblages consist of fiber/fabric and some salvaged item such as old bed springs, rusty tin cans, zippers, tree bark, broken necklaces and rusted bicycle parts. Each design is determined by the shape and appearance of the recovered item.
I design a paper template in relationship to the found object(s). The design is then transferred to fabric, stitched, turned inside out and very firmly packed with cotton batting. A few have rods to strengthen the body.
-Best in Category at Park Point Art Festival, Duluth
-Featured artist at Loring Park Art Festival, Minneapolis
-Best in show and featured at “Under the Spreading Walnut Tree Art Festival, Two Harbors, MN
-TOSCA Magazine Award - Comprehensive magazine of arts events in the Twin Cities