Sara Mika was born in Johnson City, NY. She was raised in and around the nearby city of Binghamton, NY where she encountered her earliest artistic influence, her grandfather Armondo Dellasanta, dubbed Binghamton’s Van Gogh. A dedicated artist and the son of Italian immigrants, Dellasanta demonstrated not only a love of fine art, but the act of making it relentlessly and Mika’s formative years were witness to this devotion.
Mika earned a Valedictorian Scholarship and studied the liberal arts with concentrations in fine art and art education at Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. She graduated summa cum laude in 2001, receiving the Faculty Award for Achievement in Fine Art. During her years at Lycoming, Mika worked as a student gallery assistant for the art department. It was here, while installing an exhibit entitled “The Lucky Tomato Pincushion Project,” that she first experienced work by renowned art quilters such as Susan Shie, Wendy Huhn, and Jane Burch Cochran. Mika attended a lecture and slide presentation by Burch Cochran and was amazed to discover that art quilts are not traditional craft pieces, but works of contemporary fine art implementing the principles and elements of design to amazing effect. She was hooked.
Upon graduation, Mika settled near Bloomsburg, PA where she has since worked as an independent fiber artist under the moniker Mock Pie Studio. Her techniques involving textile paint, needle, and thread are entirely self-taught, although she draws heavily on her formal education in terms of composition and design.
Mika has found acceptance of her bold artistic vision difficult in her small rural town, yet she persists, remaining true to her raw inner voice. Her themes involve human sexuality, reproduction, body image, and love. Wit, sarcasm, and humor are often utilized to express her unique perception of her surroundings. She believes there is contemplative worth in the seemingly commonplace and uses her work to spark conversation. With an illustrative quality reminiscent of children’s books, Mika employs bright colors to create typically small format art quilts that she coins “art with heart.”
Mika’s work has been included in several publications including Quilting Arts Magazine and Cloth Paper Scissors Studios and her work has been seen in both local and national exhibits. Large scale installations of her work can be viewed at Bloomsburg University in Bloomsburg, PA and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA. She currently resides in Catawissa, PA with her husband, Ryan, and twins Ellen Faye and Ethan Finn.
"My artistic process most often begins as a reaction to something I’ve seen, heard, or read. Such things unconsciously trigger my mind to make correlations that beg to be expressed visually. Needle and thread are then put to the task of bringing these ideas to life. You will repeatedly find text in my artwork relating to my sources of inspiration. I make art quilts usually ranging in size from 4” x 6” to 10” x 10” that are mounted to canvas for hanging. To begin, I lightly pencil sketch on a blank piece of white cotton fabric. I use brightly colored textile paint to construct my imagery, then heat set it with an iron. I add quilt batting and a backing material, then machine stitch the outline of my design in black thread. Further stitching is added by machine and by hand to enhance and embellish each piece. I work slowly and my lines are clean, precise, and controlled as sewing, especially by hand, is not a practice easily rushed. It’s a very intimate and tactile undertaking. I’m drawn to its repetitive motion as it gives my mind opportunity to wander and I’ve fallen in love with the way it gives heart and soul to my imaginings.
Sexuality, reproduction, body image and the emotions of the human experience are frequently represented in my work. The female nude, along with fish and pie, are a few of the symbols I use to express feminine energy. I’m greatly influenced by the illustration art found in children’s picture books and the classic storylines of fairy tales are sometimes in my designs. While my pieces seem fun and childlike, they often contain mature themes and content. I’m at ease in my skin and I strive to live unfiltered, giving my mind free rein to interpret the world as it will, unabashed by social confines and constraints. Being able to work comfortably in this mindset is a gift I’m thankful for every day."