We have been long time fans of Sara Barner’s work her clean and minimal aesthetic is unlike anything else. She graciously had us into her studio post her holiday rush, we were pleasantly greeted into a stunning studio space that felt peaceful and calm. It was our first time meeting Sara, a prime example of a successful fan girl email that worked (our favorite kind). Barner’s attention to detail and quality are uncanny, she uses veg-tanned English Bridle leather and hand sews and finishes each piece. The silhouettes of her bags are immaculate pieces of art that still fill the void of an everyday bag. What we didn’t know about Sara is that she began as a metalsmith major at Parsons and still continues to work with metal. She showed us some of her stunning early pieces and current jewelry, so perfectly minimal while still creating such a statement. I should probably mention the beautiful build out that her boyfriend Brendon Farrell did to her studio… lined with work benches, desk space, work benches, storage oh and just the most amazing build in chaise lounge (we are in love). Have fun sneaking a peek of the slideshow below of Sara Barner's studio!
1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
My boyfriend and I moved to Portland from Brooklyn in 2007. He grew up and went to college in Oregon and had friends living here. We visited a few times and I immediately fell in love with this place. We had both been living in New York for a long time and were ready to leave. Portland was really the only choice in our minds. It really is a wonderful place to have a small business and live a creative life. The landscape was also a huge draw for me. The proximity to the ocean, mountains, forest and desert is pretty incredible.
2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?
The food. We're pretty spoiled here.
3. How did your brand start?
I initially started with a jewelry line in 2006 that I sold to a few stores in NY. A few years earlier I had worked at a leather shop and I started playing with the idea of adding leather bags to the collection. When we moved to Portland in 2007, I was doing both jewelry and bags. Eventually the bag line just took up most of my time. I still love making jewelry and would like to eventually get back to it.
4. What has been your biggest obstacle?
Always time and money.
5. What or who inspires your design?
I usually feel most inspired when I am learning/doing something new, but I find inspiration everywhere. Being in nature, looking at architecture, folk art, flea markets
6.What are your favorite things about Portland?
I love Portland houses, backyard BBQs, estate sales, all of the amazing gardens, living next to a volcano.
7. What is your favorite part of your studio?
My south facing wall of windows and all of the natural light it provides.
8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?
My giant work tables. I have twice as much work space in this studio and it feels like such a luxury.
9. Tell us two truths and a lie!
I love doritos.
I am an excellent skier.
I am passionate about tap dance.
10. 5 things you can’t live without.
Brendon, my cats, time for spacing out, making things and a sense of humor.