The Queue: Sara Trail

The Queue: Sara Trail

Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.

Published on Monday, May 17, 2021.
Blog post cover graphic for The Queue featuring Sara Trail

Introducing the Nourish series of The Queue

A biweekly roundup for and by the craft community, The Queue introduces you to the artists, curators, organizers, and more featured in the current issue of American Craft. We invite these inspiring individuals to share personally about their lives and work as well as what's inspiring them right now.

Sharing a little talent, materials, and encouragement can build a vibrant community

Sara Trail is a quilter and educator and the founder of Social Justice Sewing Academy. Highlighted in the Spring 2021 issue of American Craft, this grassroots organizations facilitates workshops and projects that create community while addressing the consequences of systematic oppression. @sjsacademy

Three people working together at a table on a quilting project the middle person standing and pointing at a design

Sara Trail (center) with collaborators on a Social Justice Sewing Academy project. Photo courtesy of SJSA.

How do you describe your work or practice?
I would say my work practice with SJSA is very fulfilling for me. I've always had a dream to be able to provide sewing lessons, supplies, and teachers to young people who could not afford expensive private lessons. SJSA, through its amazing volunteer community, is accomplishing this by providing free-of-charge workshops whenever and wherever we can.

During this time of COVID-19 isolation and social unrest/calls for change, how are you finding beauty and staying grounded?
I find the SJSA Instagram and Facebook community is filled with people, just like me, who have a heart for humanity. By staying connected on social media, I am able to stay energized and inspired from the talented and kind people who share similar passions.

Two people working on a sewing project

Learn more about SJSA's work in the Spring 2021 issue of American Craft magazine. Photos courtesy of SJSA.

Can you reflect on the current issue of American Craft's theme of "nourish" as it relates to your work and practice?
The definition of "nourish" is to provide with food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. SJSA is blessed to have so many volunteers and donors that freely give fabric, supplies, monetary donations and, most importantly, their time. I think of SJSA being like the old fairy tale of the man who comes to town and makes "stone soup." The hungry old man has nothing but a pot and stone, and he convinces the people of a town to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys. It doesn't take much for humans to show love and care for one another by giving a bit of what they may have for the collective good. SJSA's entire practice is literally a form of the community nourishing one another and particularly those who have been systemically disenfranchised by sharing talent, materials, encouragement, and more.

Two people working on an art project at a table
Two people picking out fabric samples
Person at a sewing machine holding up quilt project

Photos courtesy of SJSA.

What podcast should we be listening to right now, and why?
I think everyone should listen to the 1619 Podcast, as they do an amazing job pointing out truth and injustice. So much has been left un-taught in most American schools that I see the 1619 Prodcast as foundational.

1619 Podcast Logo
Cover of Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

What book should we be reading or paying attention to right now?
Ahh, I would love to come out with a 2021 SJSA Book Club because there are so many books that would be amazing to discuss together. One that I would recommend that everyone reads is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, as it is not only beautifully written but also a terrifyingly forever-relevant piece that gives such honest insight into the African American experience.

SJSA's entire practice is literally a form of the community nourishing one another and particularly those who have been systemically disenfranchised by sharing talent, materials, encouragement, and more.
Safety Patrol quilt by Bisa Butler

Bisa Butler: Portraits is currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago. ABOVE: Bisa Butler. The Safety Patrol, 2018. Cavigga Family Trust Fund. © Bisa Butler.

If you could purchase any artist's work for your home or studio, whose would it be and why?
Oh, that is easy! I would purchase an art quilt made by Bisa Butler. The energy, colors, and design that Bisa creates in her art quilts are second to none. Depicting African American culture in such a vibrant and uplifting way is what I love most about her creativity. I hope one day my mom surprises me with a piece—hint, hint :) !

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