Heading into Midtown Grill for a burger, you may have noticed the new window art. Trees and flowers adorn the display commissioned by the owners of the Grill. This is the second Clarkesville window for artist, Sarah Samsel, 20. When Laura Bolton of Harvest Habersham called Samsel asking her to paint their windows, the young artist was not sure. “I did not know if I was capable of it, but I always want to try.” Confident now of her skills, she loves window painting “so many people see it,” “I love the big looseness of it,” she remarks, ” it is very different from my pressed flower work.”
Samsel doesn’t remember a time with out art in her life. Construction paper and glitter were her early materials. As her mother began to introduce her to the natural world, the environment around her became her palatte and her muse. Her Mother taught her how to press flowers in a phone book and Samsel was hooked. She began working with Charle’ Statler, head of Gardens and Grounds for the City of Clarkesville, as an intern 10 years ago. Her blonde head can be seen bending over the beautiful swaths of flowers at the Mauldin House garden weeding and watering. Charle’ began to educate her on the horticultural terminology and lore of the plants and flowers. Samsel says that the work as an intern has “made her more disciplined.” Pressed flowers became a passion and her dream medium. “It brings creation together with creating,” notes Samsel.
Local artist, Nancy Garrett, taught Samsel the art of making cornhusk dolls at the tender age of 8. Taking the natural corn husks and other materials and forming “dolls” added another medium to her palatte. Again, the natural world was her inspiration. Today, her cornhusk creations range from the Nativity to chickens, Santa to lovely ladies.
Another renowned local artist, John Kollock, has been a huge influence as well as a mentor. Setting aside space at their home, Nancy and John Kollock helped Samsel launch “Sarah’s Lavender Cottage,” and included her in their annual holiday art show. Samsel says the Kollocks became her “grandparents.” Kollock would not only work with Sarah on her art, but also on the business side of the art world. Recently, Samsel learned that she was an award winner in the Soque River Watershed Association’s Soque River Days contest, which was dedicated to Kollock.
The Soque River Award is another achievement for Samsel. She recieved her first award from the Artful Barn at the tender age of 12. Her pressed flower art earned her a 3rd place at the prestigious Philadelphia Flower Show in 2011. Her portrait of a trough was chosen for the Northeast Georgian’s Hello Habersham cover. She found out about the award on the anniversary of Kollock’s passing.
Samsel’s work can be found at Sarah’s Lavender Cottage as well as on Facebook at the same name. For information on having your windows painted, contact Samsel through Facebook or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org For information on purchasing her artwork, visit the cottage, the Facebook site or via her Etsy shop.