Sarah Roberts, a native of Mayfield who now lives in Johnstown, is a Jill of many trades: She paints, designs furniture, teaches yoga and art classes and writes about sex and dating for the entertainment website "That's Why You're My Ex."
The Leader-Herald recently asked Roberts a few questions about her many creative pursuits:
The Leader-Herald: You're an artist, fashion designer, yoga instructor and sex-and-relationships advice columnist. Did we leave anything out? How do you prioritize all these occupations? Are they equally important to you? Equally rewarding?
Sarah Roberts reads a meditation as she teaches a yoga class on the morning of Oct. 20 at Core Fit in Mayfield. Roberts says for her, yoga, art and writing are all interconnected.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Ackerbauer
Sarah Roberts:?Writer, furniture designer, dreamer, believer, maker of magic ... First and foremost, I am an artist, and the priority is to shake the world in a gentle way - be it through painting, healing through yoga or advice in my column.
Everything I do is important to me, or I wouldn't do it. However, painting is what sustains me from the inside when all else falls away.
Teaching yoga and art is the biggest honor bestowed upon me. My students are the greatest gift in my life. They truly make my life a better and brighter place.
LH:?This spring, you and your friend and co-designer Kristin Marshall showed some of your designs in the Electric City Couture Fashion Show at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady. Do you have any new design projects in the works?
SR:?Kristin and I are presently really busy working on not one but two branch-offs of the Marshall-Roberts label. At this year's Electric City Show, we did a fall wedding-themed line. This gave us a push toward starting a line called "Falling In Love," which is a bridal line. We are also working on a children's line called "Feather Land." Both lines will feature our vintage rock vibe with pop colors, immaculate details and feminine touches. We are currently in the final design stages and gathering materials. We are sponsored by [Dianna Marshall's] Gloversville Sewing Center, whom we couldn't do this without. (Dianna, you rock!)
I think what is most rewarding is the feeling I get when I have inspired someone. There is a picture of [local photographer] Sara Baldwin's daughter, Amelia, after the fashion show. She is sitting and she is designing clothes because she wants to be a fashion designer like me. She came to the fashion show, and she was so thrilled by the whole thing. She thinks I'm such a star, which is so silly to me, but the picture is the most beautiful thing in the world to me because seeing that I have inspired someone ... Well, there is no money, no award, no title that could be more reward than that.
LH:?When it comes to visual art, are you primarily a painter, or do you work in other media as well?
SR:?I actually stated out as a painter, then I went to work as an apprentice to furniture designer Jonathan Sweet for about 10 years. Furniture design and building is a huge love of mine and the workshop is a second home to me. Jonathan will never be able to get rid of me, try as he might, he will have me hanging around the shop forever!
But about five years ago, I returned to painting full time. Primarily, I paint in oil, cold wax and graphite. Recently, I have been incorporating walnut into my paintings. I custom-make all of my frames, and I often make furniture that incorporates my art:?tables with paintings inlaid as tops under glass, etc. I'm designing a bed with a 5-foot painting as a head board at the moment.
LH:?How long has yoga been part of your life? How did you make the transition from being a yoga student to an instructor?
SR:?Yoga has been a part of my life for quite a few years, but until about three years ago I wasn't into it very seriously. It was more of a few-times-a-week, here-and-there-type thing. Long story: I got sick; yoga healed me.
The more I got into yoga and the more I talked to people about yoga, the more I heard the same thing - people were always talking about how intimidated they were as a beginner, how uncomfortable they were made to feel in a class room setting.
This upset me so much, because the beginning of anything is quite possibly the most exciting place to be. There is so much to explore and to work toward. Your yoga instructor should guide you to have faith in how far you can go, cheer you on your small success along the way and smile as you make your way through intoxicating progress each day.
A teacher shouldn't make you feel uncomfortable or intimidated, and that's why I wanted to be a teacher who was 100 percent positive for my students. I am the teacher that will sit beside them and when they say, "I can't," I say, "You can't, yet."
LH:?In the column you write for the website "That's Why You're My Ex," you offer a seeming endless stream of provocative opinions about sex and dating. What kind of reactions do you get from your readers?
SR:?I get quite a few marriage proposals! Mostly, I get a lot of people saying things like "That's exactly what I was thinking!" or "I want to set you up with my son!" or "Here's my number, sxtxt me!"
I've never been one to bite my tongue, and I'm not about to start. We live in a fast-paced world where sex sells and nice girls finish last. My quick wit writes great stories that keep our 10,000 readers laughing, and if you can't keep a sense of humor about your pathetic love life, or lack thereof, what can you laugh about?
Kevin, the founder of TWYMX, and I are co-writing a book, "That's Why I'm You're Ex: True Tales from the Front Lines."
I'm a busy girl. The only thing I don't do is sleep.
LH:?How do all these creative and social activities relate to one another for you? Are yoga and art and writing all interconnected for you, or do you treat each of these as separate pursuits?
SR:?I'm actually working on a new series right now, and it is directly related to my yoga practice and my students. I offer all my students challenges at the end of each class. They are for emotional healing, growth spiritually and for challenging their perspective on their present view of life.
With each challenge, my students grow stronger, more flexible and more balanced, both physically and mentally. I have been complying these challenges to formulate my new works. Their journey and their influence is the driving force behind my new series. They are such a wonderful, positive influence.
The meditations that I write are inspired by the people in my life. My art, yoga, designing, writing ... it's all interconnected. I believe everything is connected, woven together by the thread of life, one planet, one world.
It is said that each of us is the sum total of every moment we've ever experienced, with all the people we've ever known. So I like to think that every piece of art I make, ever asana I do, every word I write, is a reflection of the people I am lucky enough to have in my life.
Sarah Roberts teaches yoga and "Bottles & Brushes" painting classes at Core Fit on Route 30 in Mayfield. For more information, see the Core Fit page on Facebook. Her advice column appears online at www.thatswhyyouremyex.com