Interview with Cyanotype Artist Sarah Bourne Rafferty

We asked Sarah Bourne Rafferty a few questions about her life as the owner and artist behind Atwater Designs. Sarah is known for her beautiful blue and white botanical art — which you’ll learn about below!

Sarah Bourne Rafferty (Atwater Designs) with some of her blue and white botanical cyanotypes.

Sarah Bourne Rafferty (Atwater Designs) with some of her blue and white botanical cyanotypes.

Tell us about your business!

Sarah: My business, Atwater Designs, is a fine art business where I create and sell blue and white botanical prints using the oldest photographic process, the cyanotype. I create original works, reproduction prints, and a line of household goods like pillows, cards, etc. I really hope that my work helps people find peace in their life, or offers a little bit of beauty in a chaotic world.

What accomplishment are you celebrating right now?

Sarah: Oh boy, it's all about the small wins for me. I was recently contacted by a major company for a few prints and I feel like I did the job with a very quick turn-around that hopefully set me up as a reliable person in their eyes. I hope to work with them more in the future.

[Editor’s note: Sarah recently shared exciting news on Instagram!]

What keeps you motivated?

Sarah: I love making cyanotypes. They are total magic to me, even now, having made hundreds, maybe thousands. It is still like the very first time when I stick the paper into water after exposure.

What's one tip you want to share with other entrepreneurs?

Sarah: You know, people are always saying JUST START. But I am a thinker and although it is important to just start I actually think the years I spent before I started by business were really important to how I ended up doing it. I think it is a happy medium and to that my advice would be LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.*

*If you don't trust your gut, get to know what YOU think and what YOU want and learn to trust your inner voice.

Tigger guards Sarah’s work as it dries.

Tigger guards Sarah’s work as it dries.

What's your favorite app or resource of the moment?

Sarah: Unfold for Instagram stories.

What are you listening to lately?

Sarah: Tons of books on audible! I loved Where the Crawdads Sing (best book I've read in a long time) and Educated. Also, Emily Jeffords new podcast: Do It For the Process.

What are you crushing on?

Sarah: Seth Godin.

What inspirational words resonate with you recently?

Sarah: Peace and Freedom are my big words this year. I REALLY love this quote from Thoughtfully magazine: "Let go of who you think you need to be and just be who you actually are." I'm all about finding peace in whatever season of life you are in and letting go of the expectation that you should be anywhere but where you are RIGHT now.

Where can we find you online?

Sarah: Head over to my website and pick a print you love and get 50% off with discount code: WELLSTRUCK (valid through Friday 6/21/19). You can also find me on Instagram (@AtwaterDesigns).

[Editor’s note: Wow! So generous, Sarah — thank you!]

Blue and white botanical throw pillows by Atwater Designs
Sarah Rafferty's fine art home studio office space.

Sarah Bourne Rafferty is co-hosting the June 2019 Wellstruck Lady Boss at Vault + Vine in Philly. Subscribe here for our monthly emails about future events.