On a recent Friday, Sandra Magsamen gave StudioE a few minutes to catch a glimpse into her life and work. She was in route from her home and studio in Vermont to visit family in Maryland. She was at that moment a perfect passenger with hubby at the wheel and plenty of time to chat.
I commented on how many of her recent Instagram photos were in Paris! Sandra’s daughter Hannah has been living there for the past five years, having completed grad school, she followed with a certificate from Parsons Paris in painting and dedicated herself to becoming fluent in reading and writing French (says proud Mom).
Sandra joined her daughter in Paris for a month-long visit in January and had her own reflection period. The kind that one can only get in a distant place. Fine French food and fabulous museums doesn’t hurt, either. She jokes that she ate her way through Paris. And the happy outcome is that daughter Hannah decided to move home too, to start putting roots down closer to family.
At the core of Sandra’s time in Paris, during her personal reflection period, she got to think about what excites her most which is; connection from the heart. She immensely enjoys her work writing for the young.
That is where her soul is drawn. In a larger sense she is a giver, and creates all things in her art to give to another for the sole purpose of making a connection with a heartfelt message.
In a moment, she was happily talking about the books she has designed for Studio E Fabrics, and shared how she imagines them being used.
She has fond thoughts of mothers or grandmothers making them for their children, or perhaps for a new baby. She imagines a young mother reading a fabric book made with love to her new baby. From the creation of her designs, to the selection at the store, to the making of the books and the final act of sharing, Sandra’s hope is for connection.
Sandra’s compassion began at a young age when she herself went through her own trauma. At 12, she was accidentally pinned underneath a piece of one ton farm equipment. She credits her twin sister, Susan, for supernatural adrenaline and the power of love to lift the equipment off Sandra to save her. Sandra spent a year sheltered away, first in the hospital and then home convalescing to recuperate. During that time, her very close family encouraged her to make things to send to school to her school mates that she missed. With four sisters to help serve as messengers, Sandra’s days were spent making drawings, knitting, painting, sewing or crafting up all sorts of things, to be delivered to those whom she wanted to keep connections.
That beginning is the legacy of her work. “Ultimately, we all want to connect to be loved”, she says. While much of her book writing (over 55 now) has been dedicated to the very young, she has found that all of her art is about finding that language of encouragement. She has been an art therapist working with deaf children, as well as older adults who are facing difficult seasons of depression or mental digressions. She has also written cards for Hallmark.
So, what’s next? Sandra wants to enlarge her sphere of influence to begin writing for the young school-age child. She recalls the books we read as children ourselves that influenced us toward transformation. She envisions sharing through nature and metaphor that a young child should begin by believing in the wonderful grown up person that a small person will become.
She also excitedly shared a local community project that her and her husband have undertaken by partnering with a local school and delivering a horticultural program for young students by way of a community garden.
Sandra Magsamen has lots of fires burning on all fronts; creatively, in business, in her community and for her family. Her calm soft voice communicates that she is confident and clear of them all having a positive outcome. She is lucky, she says, to be able to follow her dream and to have had the experiences and travels that she has enjoyed.
All her experiences can be summed up in the mission she describes quite simply; to connect one heart with another.