A Sonoma Artist Forges A Career In Textile Design


Meet The Maker


Martha Oakes comes from a family of creatives. So it’s no surprise that the Sonoma-based artist and textile designer made a career of her craft.

Known for abstract yet versatile patterns that translate into art and home decor, her collection of paintings, pillows, fabrics and wallpapers can be found at local shops such as Anyon Atelier, Rare Device and Yonder Shop. Here, we chat with Oakes on her process and what’s inspiring her.

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration from the outdoors, and my line is a direct reflection of the landscapes in which I’ve lived. I enjoy observing small details of nature, whether it’s a shell I find on the beach or a eucalyptus leaf on a trail outside my house.

Tell us about your process.

If I’m creating new textiles I just paint many patterns in different colors, compositions and scales, and then manipulate them in lots of ways. When I paint a commission or a series of new paintings, there is more planning involved. Less mistakes can be made, so it’s a calmer, slower process.

How did painting and textiles become your primary medium?

I spent time in sewing and printing factories while managing clothing production for an apparel company and became fascinated with it. Then I took what I learned and translated it to fabrics for the home.

A Sonoma Artist Forges A Career In Textile Design