Modern wood artist, Sarai Schubert’s practice is a relatively new journey, one that was initially based around creating and selling modern wood art has rapidly transformed into a commission-based practice. With each piece being meticulously designed to suit the buyers home.
Today’s journey led me to a quiet pocket of a southern suburb of Perth. As I exited the car and approached the door, Sarai popped her head out the door to welcome me in with a big warm smile. As I entered, it was hard not to notice the beautiful modern wood art hanging on the walls in a home that was filled with warmth and comfort and styled to perfection. Then it happened, the sound you all know I love, the coffee machine firing up as the aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the airwaves.
As it was a rare sunny day in a week filled with rain, we decided to make the most of it and sit out under the patio. As we ventured out, I could see an array of upcycled furniture and some more of Sarai’s art hanging proudly on the wall. It was the perfect place to sit and discuss how Studio Sarai came about and a little background on Sarai and how she ended up playing with power tools in her spare time.
Originally from Berlin, Sarai’s first taste of the Australian lifestyle was on a backpacking trip back in 2009/10. It was during this trip she developed a love for Australia. Upon returning home, she recalls an experience at a grocery store. She asked a simple question, which was met with a snappy response with a dash of attitude. This was the catalysis for her return. Some years later, in 2016, she made the move back to Australia. After finding a sponsor and almost getting deported due to an admin error, she was here to stay. In 2019 she met Paul, her now-husband (a chef with an incredible blondie recipe, I might add), and bought their first house last year. It was here things really started coming together.
“I like making things. Not just taking a brush and making a picture, it needs more essence.”Sarai Schubert
When asked where the creativity comes from, Sarai responded with, “my mum always said I could be entertained for hours with just a piece of paper and a pen.” Sarai’s dad is also quite creative in building furniture and revitalising old cutlery with new hand-crafted wood handles. Whilst working as an IT operations manager, art took a back seat. She experimented with making dreamcatchers and selling them to local surf shops, but she felt she needed to be challenged.
It was over her morning coffee she stumbled across a picture of some wood art on Pinterest. She thought, “oh my god, that’s beautiful, I could do that” from that thought, it was straight to the car and down to bunnings with Paul. He suggested she should buy a mitre saw, and this was the start of something beautiful. Whilst Sarai has upgraded the mitre saw, her first one sits proudly in the workshop corner, marking the humble beginning.
After a while, the artwork was piled up in every corner of the house. Again it was Paul who suggested she should start selling them. After uploading them all to Facebook Market Place, she did not sell a single piece. However, her inbox was flooded with requests for custom pieces, certain shapes, specific colour palettes and photos of peoples bedrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, all asking for something to suit their space. This was the launch platform that formed what is now Studio Sarai. Sarai admits that she never expected it, but it has put a whole new spin on her business. The personal connection with her customers is next level. With many photos and stories exchanged, she can create a unique piece of art that matches the customers vision whilst maintaining her style. “I love to get up in the morning. I make my bed, put the coffee machine on, and I just can’t wait to get into the workshop and start work. It’s an excellent feeling.” When asked if Sarai has had any formal training in woodworking, I discover that she is highly qualified… with a bachelor of arts in culture and technology, focusing on language and communication. She can speak English, French, German and Spanish. However, when it comes to her art, she is entirely self-taught, with the occasional aid from the great educator, YouTube.
“I put a post up on a women’s entrepreneur Facebook group to find a graphic designer to work with to create a logo. She put the tagline “Modern Wood Art”, which I thought sums my work up perfectly. When you think of wooden sculptures and wood art, you typically think dark and moody and things like grandma’s mantlepiece etc. Modern puts a spin to it that it’s not that old fashioned stuff anymore. It’s all geometrical art… modern geometrical wood art.”
Sarai is currently working through about 20 commissions plus working on some pieces to show at an upcoming exhibition and the Perth Upmarket event. Sarai is one to watch.
Her brand new website is now live! Go check it out.
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