Let's Chat With: Sarah Duyer

It takes a lot to get me to want to wear a T-shirt. Rather, it takes Sarah Duyer to get me to want to wear a T-shirt. It's never been my clothing item of choice, but I couldn't help but excited over Sarah's animal/feminism line of shirts. Cute and empowering, I jumped at the chance to style one and chat with Sarah, who as you'll read, is incredibly inspiring. Enjoy our chat, and be sure to check out Sarah's shop when you're done.

Q: How and when did you start your shop?
A: I started my Etsy shop when I was in college, I think around 2008. When I first started I was selling hand-sewn bags and some prints. I took up ceramics while I was in school and started selling some of my work online too. It’s interesting to look back through some of my older orders, my store has gone through a lot of changes over the years but it’s nice to see how my work has evolved. 

Did you always intend for your clothing items to have a feminism focus?
The idea for the design came before I really decided to turn it into a clothing item. Street harassment is something all women have to deal with, especially living in a city, and the angry feminist animals were born out of my own frustration with it. I wanted the designs to comment on real issues that women face, but in a funny way. Printing my designs on shirts also allows the wearer to respond to street harassment without engaging the harasser and kind of pushes back against the myth that a woman’s clothing choices mean she was “asking of it.”


Your ceramics are so unique. Do you create in any other mediums of art as well?
Thanks! Ceramics was really my primary medium in school but I also took a lot of classes in painting, printmaking, sculpture, and photo. After I graduated I was working for a shoe store and making money on the side painting custom shoes for people for a little while. I have been working on a series of paintings of animals wearing sweaters since I was in school, too. I don’t have nearly as much time to paint as I used to but I still like to experiment with other media when I can. Also, since I have been more focused on building a small business with my ceramic work, having projects in other media make for a nice change of creative outlet.

How would you describe the Sarah Duyer customer?
I think my customers are people who are as frustrated as I am with the inequalities in our patriarchal society, but that is a pretty broad and diverse set of people. I love showing at craft shows because I really enjoy meeting the people who buy my shirts. Lots of people come up to me to tell me how excited they were to see something that addressed their same frustrations, and I really like that these simple designs resonate with so many different types of people. Different customers are drawn to my work by different things, be it my ceramics or my shirts, but I like having variety in what I make. Also, I think that a lot of people who are drawn in by my shirts aren’t necessarily looking for ceramics but are excited to see the different faces of my work, and vice versa.

T-Shirt: c/o Sarah Duyer, Skirt: Kling, Shoes: UO, headband: borrowed from Whitney

How does living in San Francisco inspire what you create?
I moved to San Francisco because I wanted to live in a place with a strong and supportive arts community. SF is a really beautiful city that has a lot of great public art and murals and neat stores that support local artists. I’m thankful to have found a great community of artists here who inspire me and push me to continue making art. A lot of what drew me to San Francisco unfortunately doesn’t exist here anymore because of high rents and the growth of the tech industry, but there are still a lot of things I love about it. I even designed my “In Fog We Trust” patches as a tribute to SF and its infamous fog, Karl. 

Do you have any favorite pieces in particular in your shop?
It’s a tough choice but I think if I had to choose it would probably be the cactus mugs. Each one is hand decorated and unique and I love the way the texture of the clay works looks against the glossy glaze. 

Be sure to keep up with Sarah's shirts, ceramics, art, and more by visiting her shop, website, and blog!



4 comments

  1. Oh my gosh, angry feminist animal print T-shirts! Ahhh. How wonderful are these?! Yeah, I rarely wear T-shirts, either, but I can definitely see why this would change your mind! I love it paired with that wonderful ballerina print skirt. Cute cute, and I love the idea behind her clothes.

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  2. Omg that T-shirt! Looove it. :)

    amy
    artoftheheartblog.blogspot.com

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  3. I'm obsessed with you in a casual outfit. Pretty sure my friend has a shirt from this company. So great.

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  4. Love the shirt ( I like that you paired iwth the skirt. Casual yet pretty!) and the interview. So great to feature people like this!

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