At Hester & Cook, we are constantly inspired by the artists around us. It is a privilege to work alongside many of them and share their work with you. We are so excited to share an extra special Q+A with one of our most-talked about artists, Vicki Sawyer. Many of you will instantly recognize her signature “birds with hats” artwork. We chatted with Vicki to learn more about her process and what inspires her.
Be sure to check out upcoming store events in October featuring Vicki Sawyer. See more details below!
Q: What inspired you to become an artist?
A: I had a wonderful and inspiring childhood. My creative mom and her sisters encouraged me to draw, paint, make crafts and sew from a very young age.
Q: How long have you been painting as an artist?
A: I’ve been painting seriously since my college art classes. Years ago, I learned so much while painting murals. My customers would ask me to paint a myriad of subjects, which was great practice.
The Backyard Party Placemat was our first product created in collaboration with Vicki.
Q: When did you first begin collaborating with brands to have your artwork featured on products?
A: Hester & Cook was my first collaboration. It’s almost been ten years now. I’ve learned so much since we started and truly love working with them.
Q: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on?
A: Hard to say, because there were many. Here are a few…
- Helping to build a life size carousel with the School of Visual Arts in NYC.
- Creating elaborately detailed dolls of the Wise men, Shakespeare and Renaissance gnomes.
- Painting Queen Victoria on a large 4 x 6 foot canvas for my husband’s high school play.
- Painting party scenes with birds wearing hats, masks, and necklaces. I enjoy creating subtle dynamics between the birds. At the party, some may be bored, crabby, in love, having a great time, and displaying many other moods.
Q: Do you have a favorite item you created with Hester & Cook?
Q: Where do you find new inspiration for new art you are creating?
A: I love going for walks and gain much inspiration from being in nature. About twelve years ago, while on a walk, it occurred to me that if birds can build nests, then they can make hats. That thought launched a series of close to three thousand paintings over the years. The birds not only made hats for themselves, but made them for animals as well. They also made masks and necklaces.
Process photos from one of Vicki Sawyer's recent paintings.
Q: What is your creative process like? What mediums do you work with?
A: I pray for ideas and laugh in knowing that God must have a sense of humor, due to some of the ideas that come to me.
Primarily I paint with acrylics.
Q: What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
A: Painting and the desire to make someone happy, or smile by my art.
"Fall Find" Atlantic Puffin with Cinderella Pumpkin by Vicki Sawyer
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I just finished several pieces with fall themes. My favorite is a Cinderella pumpkin with a puffin sitting in it. The puffin is wearing the pumpkin stem for a hat. Although puffins are shore birds, there must be some pumpkin patches along the coast somewhere.
Q: What advice can you give to people who want to be more creative?
A: The more you do, the better you will get. If you are discouraged with the outcome of a project, keep at it until you achieve what you have visualized.
Q: Name something that excites you and why.
A: Well, several things...
- Loud cicadas chirping the onset of fall.
- The regal pose of a bird of prey.
- Learning the calls of birds.
- Painting the eyes of a bird or animal to a point of creating their personality.
- The sound of grandchildren coming up the hall steps to visit and snuggle.
Q: If you could dine with one person, past or present, who would it be and why?
A: I would love to sit down with my great grandfather. I would serve him a slice of rhubarb pie that I made from the rhubarb grown here at my home. We now live in the home that my great grandfather bought in 1886. My grandfather and mom were born in the same room in the house. It is where I grew up. I would ask him so many questions about his life here and what my grandfather was like as a child.
Explore our selection of Vicki’s art on Hester & Cook products by shopping the collection.
To learn more about Vicki Sawyer and view her expansive collection of works, visit her website at below.
IN STORE EVENTS WITH VICKI SAWYER
OCTOBER 8 | 6-8pm | FRANKLIN | TICKETS AVAILABLE
Tablescape Workshop with Special Guest Vicki Sawyer
Please join us for an extra special evening with Angie Hester Cook, co-owner and CEO of Hester & Cook and special guest, artist Vicki Sawyer! Angie will utilize her years of tabletop expertise to share her insights about the best ways to style your table with your favorite Vicki Sawyer items.
While you enjoy cocktails and light snacks, browse our wide selection of Vicki Sawyer items and meet the artist herself!
All guests will receive exclusive gifts not available for purchase!
$50 per ticket • Ticket proceeds will go towards a purchase on the night of the event AND be matched by Hester & Cook to benefit the Wonderful Life Foundation.
OCTOBER 9 | 11-5pm | FRANKLIN
Meet The Artist: Vicki Sawyer
Meet artist Vicki Sawyer at this very special event! Vicki will be greeting guests, signing art prints and more!
Guests will have a chance to be entered to win a grand prize package with purchase valued at $1,100 during the event –– including a one-of-a-kind painting from Vicki! A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the Wonderful Life Foundation.