Natural and Effortless: Sarah Barter's Art

Artist Sarah Barter
I moved to Austin a year ago from Syracuse, NY, where I grew up and had lived for the previous 6 years. My new boss was kind enough to recommend a real estate agent, Angela D’Andrea, with whom I developed a friendship. During a fun little Happy Hour last Spring, Angela introduced me to Corinne and we immediately hit it off! I’m lucky to call these two ladies my friends, and feel so blessed to be a featured artist on the Healing Knots blog.

My art has always had a strong connection to my emotions and mood, I truly put pieces of myself into everything I create. These watercolor mosaics are a combination of what I most desire and strive to feel: happy, joyful, free, wishful, connected, hopeful, with my love of color and the playful organic nature of abstract watercolor. The energetic character of these elements juxtaposed with my need for control, as evident in the straight lines and angles of the pieces I cut are, on a deeper level, a reflection of the constant struggle between my creative nature and trying to conform to the expectations of our society that wants everyone to fit in a pre-fabricated, pre-labeled little boxes.

I begin my process by creating the abstract watercolors- playing with design elements, saturation levels, and texturizing techniques. When I’ve completed that step, I add layers through the use of glitter and drawing intentional shapes in pen, highlighter, and marker. Next, I cut the paintings into strips and pieces, choosing the areas of the work that is most interesting to my eye to begin. Once I have the pieces I need, I begin to rearrange and assemble them into the mosaics by adhering them to black matte board. During reassembly, I draw on my love of puzzles and layering of colors and shapes. The pieces seem to tell me where they want to be and I just follow along.

For the first time in a long time, my art feels totally natural and effortless. When I allow myself into the flow of the work, it is so clear that I am simply doing what my soul is made to do.


Sarah is excited to join the Austin Art Scene and is showing her work in the group art show "The Third Space". The show is being held at Cement Loop in Austin on April 5 from 6-11 PM.

This framed piece of Sarah's is at Corinne's house and is the sweetest reminder of gratitude
The same gratitude design tattooed on Sarah's wrist with her Healing Knots!


Comfort Yourself

"Comfort is a place we can visit often, as often as we need to. Although certain places and objects help comfort us, it is really a place within each of us. Some of us may have thought that comfort was a waste of time, but now we know that there is tremendous power in comfort, the power to heal. We no longer have to deprive ourselves of comfort, of that warm feeling of being nurtured. We can visit it for ourselves; we can take others there with us."

"What brings you comfort? What makes you feel safe, cozy, warm, loved? What places? What people? What events? Learn to comfort yourself. Learn to accept comfort, and learn to give it. Go to that special place of comfort whenever you need to. Stay as long as you wish. The healing power of comfort will make life better."

It's a brand new week. Go find your comfort. Wear a bracelet and know that it is supporting your healing and your comfort to make your life better. That is what Healing Knots is all about!

Cheers to a new day! Always love,
Healing Knots


I am only one, but still I am one.

The bracelet above is a Heal Me 1-2-3 using latte beads with three kiwi accents.

I am only one, 
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything, 
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something
that I can do. 

-Edward E. Hale


A Window

So, sometimes when your world gets really small because you need it to be safe you never know who will open a window to let some light in.....or open a window so you can actually start looking out at the world differently.

My life was settling into a safe routine as I tried to restructure my world trying to slowly accept that my brother was gone.  I was talking to my sister-in-law, Chris, via email and phone.  Each of us congratulating each other for making it to another Friday.  No matter how we got there we would send each other an email.... "Yeah, you made it!!!  It is Friday.  Another week.”  The weekly celebration of muscling through work, family, and life was something to celebrate when your heart weighs 500 pounds and is begging you to crawl into bed and cry.

When I would go to work I was often greeted by this amazingly gorgeous girl.  Long black hair, smiling face, big brown eyes.  She always had the funniest things to share...tiny little unexpected noises out of nowhere that would send you cackling.  Her timely wisecracks can make you feel like you are 14 years old and back in middle school and laughing with no worries in the world.

So we would grind through our hours together.  We were in different departments but could catch a quick joke, stare or smirk every few hours that would send us giggling and make the world feel so light.  Sometimes I could actually look through a window to see my friend...and that was my window.  The tiny window back to laughter, silly, and bringing my heart back to life.

My friend did not know much about what was going on in my life and how broken my heart was.  I am certain she did by looking at my face...one day she told me about a great under eye cover up that I should try!!! Now that is why we need friends that are a couple of decades younger.  They tell the truth and their eyes still work.  As I had the make-up person apply the eye concealer I thought, how lucky I am that someone cares enough to try to hide my shadows.  And that knowing her is slowly pulling me out of the “shadows.”

So the laughter was my medicine and the window was my friendship with the most magical and special person that can make a loud “meow” that will burst you into a fit of laughter.  This girl is the Emily you see with everything Healing Knots.  One day she handed me a little piece of brown paper with Healing knots circled by a bracelet with some round beads on the loop – “Corinne, this is the logo for your bracelets,” she said with a smile.  She was right. And it is.

She opened the window of being creative and being brave.  She told me.... “Corinne, I am making a Facebook page for your bracelets”....I cringed. “No, not Facebook. I can’t to do that.”  She said, “What are you talking about, you will not do anything differently, I just want to tell people what you are doing.”

And that is what started the Healing Knots Facebook, followed by the Healing Knots Blog and the big kicker – Healing Knots website.  All Emily. All of this creative quest from the sweet girl that was across the hall from me for the year that I was limping through the day. Her laughter started to heal my heart, her support of my bracelets brought me such joy and the gift of her friendship reminded me that healing is still possible from the youngest most gorgeous girl across the hallway.

Her talent and courage in such a young soul is overwhelming and makes me feel like a tiny speck on this planet.  One day you will see her name in lights!

My family loves her, I love her, and Healing Knots only exists because of her.

Emily. Hats off, you rock the world.  Thanks for opening my window and bringing Healing Knots to life!

-written by Corinne Cargnoni


Thursday Inspiration: Breathe

"...I am not a quitter. I will fight until I drop.... It is just a matter of having some faith in the fact that as long as you are able to draw breath in this universe you have a chance."
-Cicely Tyson

If you don't exhale, can you take the next breath? The exhale is important: empty yourself to make room for what comes next. The weekend is almost here (and Spring Break)! Whatever you are facing today, whatever may be going on, just know you can do it. 


Heal Me 1-2-3

Sometimes making a decision can be difficult. I am the Queen of Indecisiveness, which can make designing a bracelet challenging. Naturally, Healing Knots has just the solution. The Heal Me 1-2-3 bracelets are ready-made designs for you to purchase. The bracelet is solid throughout, with 3 beads at the end to add a pop of color. You can choose to have a single strand Heal Me 1-2-3, or the classic wrap bracelet. We will offer plenty of options for you to choose from when purchasing, or you can request a special color combination.

What are the 3 things that you can do in your life to promote your healing? Use the three beads to remind you of these things. Write them down. It is as easy as 1-2-3. When you have reached your number 3, you can live that chapter differently and your healing is in place...it's time to give the bracelet away!

Black beads, black elastic, 3 green beads

Chocolate beads, brown elastic, 3 turquoise beads
The bracelets will be available in the shop in a few days, but you can always email your order in the meantime. Examples of ready-made design choices:
-Black beads, black elastic, 3 green beads
-Black beads, gold elastic, 3 metallic beads (gold, silver, copper)
-Black Beads, black elastic, 3 white beads to hold the light 
-Chocolate beads, brown elastic, 3 turquoise beads
-Chocolate beads, navy elastic, 3 Carolina blue beads
-Natural beads, chardonnay elastic, 3 purple beads
-Latte beads, brown elastic, 3 red beads

In honor of Mardi Gras: Latte beads, brown elastic, 2 purple beads and 1 green bead


One Step at a Time

After Corinne lost her brother, a friend gave her a copy of Melody Beattie's "Journey to the Heart". The book was a gift to remind Corinne to keep positive and inspire her to keep going. It contains daily passages written by Beattie on her own path toward spiritual growth and renewal. I remember C would bring this book to work in her little canvas tote bag and share some of the daily passages with me. We would find the truth in them and how they applied to our lives, and somehow the day would be a little bit better.

"Did you read the book?" "Did you see the reading for today?" 

That's how the days passed at work. I would sneak into her office and snag this book out of her bag. Then, I would go back behind my desk, read the passage, write down my favorite lines, and hold the book hostage for as long as I could. Corinne's copy was a hand me down; there was something about how it was broken in that made the words seem that much more wise. Luckily, I saw Corinne almost every day of the week at work, making it easy for me to keep up with the daily passages. Eventually, it was time for me to get my own copy. I wanted to be able to reflect on the passages longer than my stealing of C's book would allow.

It's been over a year now. Corinne and I will still send pictures to each other of the reading, just in case one of us missed it. We'll call each other and bring up the day's thought or even mention it when we see each other in person. Some days, I don't pick up the book. But, when I do get around to reading it, the words seem to resonate that much more.

It's probably been a few weeks since I opened the book. Today, I woke up feeling overwhelmed and the mounting stress of this week just really knocked me down. I was rushing around the house trying to get everything squared away before I left for school when I found the book tucked in my school bag. I stopped everything I was doing, took a deep breath, and opened the book.

One Step at a Time. The best reminder. And so needed today. Although my schedule was still hectic and everything was seemingly going wrong, I chanted to myself "one step at a time...one step at a time." Such a simple reminder that I have heard hundreds of times, but so refreshing to hear it just when I needed it.

Melody Beattie's "Journey to the Heart"//March 4 passage, pg. 66
"One step at a time. That's all you can take. That's all you have to take." 


New Beginnings: A Bracelet Tale

On March 1, 2013, I changed my perspective. I was at work with Corinne, telling her how it was time for new beginnings. It was a brand new month and anything could happen.

For the first time in weeks, I had regained a sense of optimism. After a break up with my boyfriend of 2+ years left me paralyzed, I decided it was time to pick myself up and start living again; time to smile and laugh...come what may. I wasn't imagining that "come what may" would result in me telling one of my best friends of my feelings for him.

This is said best guy friend, Hunter.

March 1 brought a shift and transition of sorts. My best guy friend became something more, and I started to remember what it felt like to be happy. In the weeks after my break up, Hunter was there for me. He would bring me food when I refused to eat, play music for me and suggest bands so I could get lost in another world. He would give me advice and support and just tell me I was going to be ok. He would play Super Smash Bros. with me, mercilessly beating me every round, but it was still fun to try so hard to win. (For the record, I have beat him at that silly game a handful of times in the last year.)

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico//Dec. 2013
ACL Fest//Oct. 2013 
NYE 2013
While new can be terrifying, it can also bring the greatest gifts of all. I have learned more about myself in the last year than I could have ever imagined. From trying new things, to relearning how to trust, I would not trade a day in of the last 365. Every day is a new day, no matter how cliche it sounds. I took a new day, a new month, and decided it was time to start something new in my life...and I'm so glad I did.

All the while through this new beginning, I wore my very first, and one of the very first, Healing Knots bracelets. These beads hugged my wrist day in and day out. When the hurt started sweeping over and the tears started to fill my eyes, I just clenched my bracelet and remembered I was "knot alone". I would breathe and hold each bead and knot. My bracelet reminded me that better days were to come.

I still wear my new beginnings bracelet from time to time, but it is not my crutch anymore. It has become a sweet reminder of how far I have come in the last year, and just how far I can continue to go. It just takes a refresh of the mind and a little change of perspective.