About Sandy

Photo by Barbara Tyroler

Photo by Barbara Tyroler

Sandy Milroy, an artist living in Chapel Hill, NC, works in the mediums of collage and painting, using handmade papers and acrylic paint to achieve intricate, abstract compositions.

The inspirational reference points for her work include ancient textiles (especially Pre-Columbian, African, and Scandanavian), aerial photos of the earth that reveal its patchwork of fields and urban densities, and the structures termed “vernacular architecture” with their handmade qualities and strong understanding of local, natural materials.

Her working process is to focus first on creating a broad range of “enhanced” papers, which in themselves suggest certain directions and possibilities. Starting with papers either patterned or plain, she adds layers by stamping, printing, tearing, marbling, and recombining to achieve different colors, textures, and finishes. She enjoys the open ended, no rules aspect of creating collages and the challenge of bringing order and meaning to her individual pieces.

Sandy was born and raised in Emporia, Kansas and received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Wellesley College. She then trained in art conservation at the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. After moving to North Carolina, she began weaving and studied at the Penland, Arrowmont, and Haystack craft schools.

In 1974 she began a journey which took her to Zambia, where she helped establish markets for craftspeople in Luapula Province. Subsequently, she lived for two years in Aberdeen, Scotland, followed by three years in the English Lake District where she maintained a weaving studio. She was awarded a grant from the British Crafts Council for a retrospective exhibition of her work at the Carlisle Art Museum in 1980.

After returning to Chapel Hill in 1981, she completed graduate studies in the textile design program at NC State University in Raleigh and for the next several years produced fine scale tapestry pins for a national market. In 1990 she established a private art program for children which she taught until 2005.

In 2004 she visited the town of Lindsborg, Kansas, near the farm lands  where her great grandparents were settlers from Sweden in the 1860s. While there she rediscovered the Red Barn Studio which had been the home and studio of the accomplished artist, Lester Raymer. Since October of that year she has been returning annually as a participant in their artist-in-residence program. The unique studio, the surrounding prairie, and the community of artists living there are a continuing inspiration. Read more about that here.

Copyright © Sandy Milroy