Fiber artist Sadie Bonang has made downtown Lewiston her home. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LEWISTON – After five-and-a-half years living and working in Los Angeles, Sadie Bonang, 29, returned to her roots in Lewiston and Auburn. While Bonang, a fiber artist – her art is made of fiber material, such as fabric, yarn and wool – left behind a promising museum career on the West Coast, she said she always knew she wanted to return home.

“Maine is my home, especially Lewiston and Auburn,” she said. “I made my second cross-country move two years ago and the opportunities and community I have found in Lewiston since then have been life changing.”

Now, Bonang is the self-proclaimed “yarn goblin” behind Sade Fiber Studio and is the artist-in-residence at Munka Studio, a shared gallery and maker space at 221 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, where she makes everything from hangable art to custom floor rugs, textiles, business logos and home décor.

“I’m so happy to be developing this work in my home state,” she said.

What sparked your interest in fiber art and what inspired you to start your own studio? I started messing around with fiber in my art about three years ago, which is also when I became fixated on tufting (a type of textile manufacturing). I knew I needed to start working with a medium other than paint. I would joke with friends and co-workers that I was moving all the way back to Maine to make art and open my own rug shop – except I knew I wasn’t joking!

College introduced me to fiber arts, especially while learning the feminist art movements of the ’70s. Something sparked when I experienced a fiber arts installation by Faith Wilding in person after I had only learned about it in college textbooks. I was in awe. I try to evoke that feeling of curiosity and wonder through layering different techniques and fiber textures in my art now.


How would you describe your art? Simply put, fiber art is art made with fibers – fabric, yarn, etc. – as the medium. Instead of putting paint on a canvas I use yarn, wool and other fibers as my “paint.”

Currently, I mostly make my art through manipulating different types of yarn. I use multiple tools to achieve different effects with the yarn I use. My favorite is my hand-held tufting machine that lets me make soft patches or distinct lines of color on my large “canvas.” I use it as a paintbrush basically and the yarn is the paint.

I also have to trim, carve and sculpt sections of tufted yarn, which I use an actual sheep clipper for. Even more techniques — such as needle-punching yarn by hand into my pieces — add visual and textural variety. I use many of the same techniques whether I am creating artwork to be hung on the wall or on a floor rug meant to walk on.

What do you enjoy most about working with this medium? I make art as a way to process experiences, connect and to create tangible meaning and healing. Working in this medium is very physical and tactile, which is what I enjoy and need most. All of the movements that go into creating one piece (are) extremely cathartic. I start with hauling many armfuls of yarn over to my large “canvas” and from there the movement doesn’t stop until I finish hacksawing the final piece of wood that will be attached to hang my completed work.

Figuring out how all different sorts of fiber will blend together in one piece to tell a story from my own head and heart feels like its own journey. Being able to touch and interact with it, and have others do the same, continues to inspire me to create through the fiber medium.

Fiber artist Sadie Bonang smiles at her piece “Moonbath,” which is hanging up in Munka Studio in downtown Lewiston. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

What’s a piece you’re most proud of? I’m actually most proud of my piece Moonbath (2023). It’s my largest work to date and it came out exactly the way I pictured it in my head. It’s a full moon radiating light in a dark sky over a field of snow. The piece is made only using yarn. A lot of trial and error goes into picking out the right yarn colors and textures, so I’m always relieved when I make the right choice and the section comes out the way I hoped.

How would you describe the Lewiston and Auburn arts community? The L/A arts community is incredibly vibrant, collaborative and supportive! It’s a great mix of creativity, art, business and community. I think the most surprising aspect is how welcoming it is to get involved. If you’re passionate about art and community, there’s space for you! And for all ages! The arts community is expanding and there are always events and programming at different locations in Lewiston/Auburn every month, almost every week. I would suggest following Downtown Lewiston Art District online and even more so, taking a good walk up and down Lisbon Street! Some of my favorite places to explore inspiration in L-A can be found in so many nooks and crannies or right out in the open.

Where can people check out your art? My newest work will be on view at Munka Gallery at 221 Lisbon St. in Lewiston on April 21 when the new “Yellow” exhibit opens to the public and will stay up until June 30. I will also be creating a large, collaborative public fiber mural with those who wish to join me outside after the Great Falls Pride march on June 10.

In September, I will have a solo exhibit at Munka Gallery showcasing fiber depictions of iconic Lewiston/Auburn landmarks and architecture. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram as Sade Fiber Studio, and studio tours by appointment!

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