Growing up in the country, my siblings and I spent summers playing in the woods surrounding our property. We were always outside, always digging in the dirt, running through the trees, and playing in the pond. This instilled in me a great connection to the land, plants and animals we came across. I will never forget the summers in the horse pasture, watching the butterflies dance from flower to flower and the turtles sliding back into the pond as we approached.
As an adult, I still dream about that piece of land. I have always been drawn to the delicate patterns, textures, and colors inherent in nature; qualities that give movement to the bark on a tree or a shoreline strewn with rock. I equally adore traditional Ojibwe beadwork with these same characteristics and love combining the two into one cohesive design. While much of my work appears to only be about water and land, most of the inspirations behind the work are about the people in my life. My parents, siblings, friends, and my birth family all make appearances in my artwork. They, and the stories I carry with me, are my inspiration. They may appear as birds, bears, turtles or butterflies, but they are ever present. I create art to lift up the spirit, to gain strength, to bring peace and balance of mind.
A member of the Red Lake Band of Ojibwe, Sarah McRae was born in 1968 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and adopted by Tony and Michele McRae. She graduated from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, in 1991 with a BA in Art Education. In 1996, McRae received her MFA in graphics at UW–Madison. Sarah currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where she has been an art teacher at Velma Hamilton Middle School since 1996.