Thursday, September 4, 2014

Honorary Ambassador Interview: Sarah Walker

Hello, How are you?  So glad you popped into the 'Embassy of Ideas' today!  

For those of you who have been reading me for the last 7.5 years, you'll know that I am a big lover of Creatives. It is my belief that without them the world would be an empty place. After all, everything we touch is first created by an Artist. You will also know that I have published a series of posts called 'The Liberty Interview'. You can read those here and here.

Recently I decided to re-brand those interviews to fit beautifully into the Embassy of Ideas.  Creatives truly are 'Ambassadors' of ideas and those who will be featured here are respected as 'Honorary Ambassadors'.

When I interviewed Patricia Schwimmer we visited Petals in Thyme where her work was exhibited.  As I photographed this gallery I noticed some divine pillows. I fell in love with them!  Little did I know that they were designed by Sarah Walker of Sarah Smile Design and White Padma. (She's the fabulous blond in the photo above.)

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to do a photo shoot with Sarah not once but twice! Even luckier (for me) was a chance to connect with a woman who is so talented, successful and friendly. Did I say gorgeous? 

Let's get right to the interview shall we. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Sarah Walker. Designer, Artist, Entrepreneur

Embassy of Ideas
Honorary Ambassador Interview:  Sarah Walker 

Q: Tell us about your background, career path and childhood.

A: I was born and raised in Toronto. I had a lot of responsibilities early in life which gave me a good work ethic and big dreams. I left home and school at 14 and worked full time in retail, telemarketing and as a receptionist throughout my teens to support myself. In my 20’s I worked as a server and bartender. I got the opportunity to start a truck detailing business with a friend and did that for a year while bartending at night. I always dreamed of becoming a designer so in my late 20’s I went back to school and studied Interior Design. After school I opened a retail store with a friend. After a year we went our separate ways and I started my design business. I had enjoyed designing for 4 years until it was time for a change. That’s when Sarah Smile was created. 

Q: When did you fall in love with design?

A: I grew up in a beautifully decorated home and I have always appreciated art and design. I remember drawing floor plans of my dream house when I was 5 and fantasizing about the art and furniture I would fill it with. One of my favourite quotes is “I am going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.” by Elsie De Wolfe. That is the way I live.

Q: What is your definition of the perfect trip?

A: I recently went on a retreat to Tulum, Mexico by myself. I barely spoke for 6 days and all I did was meditate, read, do yoga, go for walks, watch the sun rise and set, get massages and sleep. It was pure bliss. I promised myself to take a trip like that once a year. In 2015 for my 40th birthday I will visit Bali.

Q:  How does spirituality fit into your creative life?

A: I’m a very spiritual person and feel that my art and designs are an extension of that. I have to take care of my mind, body and spirit to be connected to my creativity. Painting is a form of meditation to me. I light my candles, breathe deeply and let my hands intuitively create.

Q: Give us one word to describe what you do.

A: Play

Q:  What is your greatest art medium?

A: Paint. I love dipping my fingers into it and spreading it on the canvas. So fun!

Q:  How did Sarah Smile come about and where is it headed today?

A: I wanted to create a business that made me happy… that made me smile. I came up with the name of the business before I even knew what it would be. I didn’t plan on being where I am today and find it difficult to plan for the future. I just wait and see where life takes me. It’s served me well so far.

Q:  We understand you have a new business? Would you like to share?

A: Yes, I’m very excited about it. I have created a line of t-shirts, tanks and pillows with positive, inspirational messages -

Q:  Coffee or Tea?

A: Double espresso in the morning and herbal or green tea the rest of the time.

Q: What is the perfect cake?

A: Vegan chocolate

Q:  What kind of food do you crave?

A: Pasta is my weakness.

Q:  Do you work with sound or silence?

A: Both but most of the time I am listening to radio shows, interviews or documentaries on subjects that interest me like spirituality, health, science, new age thinking. When I paint I always listen to music.

Q: What would be your ‘Pirate’ name?

A: I have no idea how to answer that.

Editor's NOTE:  I think "Walker". Yes. You shall be "Pirate Walker"

Q: You are a ‘Beacher’ living on the world’s longest freshwater beach. How did you get there?

A: To make a long story short I went through a health crisis and I knew I had to change my life. We love the area; we have some family and friends here. We started looking at homes on a whim and when we saw our home we just knew it was the right move. I needed a different pace of life and nature and art to heal. It worked.

Q:  What advice would you give new art business people?

A: Learn to create without judgment.

Q:  Who are your business mentors?

A: I respect Kathy Ireland for the empire that she has built. I really admire Flora Bowley for having a successful career as an artist and teacher. Amy Butler, Anahata Katkin of Papaya Living and Sara Blakely. I love when passion and business come together, it’s a beautiful thing.

Q:  Favorite book?

A: Kingdom of Shadows by Barbara Erskine. I read it 3 times when I was a younger. I rarely read fiction but that book always stayed with me.

Q:  Favorite movie?

Q:  Tell us about your painting.

A: I started painting again earlier this year after a 3 year hiatus. My passion for it has been reignited and I can’t imagine my life without it. It brings me such joy.

Q:  Where can people buy your work?

A: You can find links to my online shops and a list of retailers here…!where-to-buy/cy2g

Q: What art supplies do you use?

A: Golden, Liquitex, Pebeo, for paints. A large selection of paint brushes, sponges, scrapers, stencils, although many of my paintings are created with my fingers.

Q:  What is a typical day like for you?

A: Mornings are usually spent on office duties like answering emails, printing orders, ordering supplies etc. I make lunch and then head down to my basement studio to work on orders. I usually work until about 4 and then take a break before I start dinner. After dinner I get back to work and sometimes work until very late whether on the computer or back in the studio. Other days I may paint or do creative projects all day.

Q: What is your studio like?

A: I have my basement studio which is where all of the work gets done. Sewing, printing and packaging. And I have a 2nd floor art studio where I paint overlooking my treed backyard. It’s painted a beautiful turquoise colour and filled with my art, crystals and some of my favourite things. It’s a very special space.

Q: Where do you see your business in 5 years?

A: It`s hard to foresee where I will be in 5 years.  Right now I love what I do but I dream of writing a book, painting much more, spending a lot of time in far off places and learning the healing arts. My dream has always been to move to the south of France and just paint. Hopefully in 5 years I will be closer to that dream.

Q:  Are you social?  Where can we find you? (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc.)


Q: Do you spend much time at the beach?

A: Yes, we love it. My partner and I have paddle boards. I participate in yoga on the beach in the summer and we go to lounge or watch the sunset every chance we get.

Q: What is your favorite food group?

A: Vegetables!

Q:  Who are your favorite Bloggers?

A: The only blog I read regularly is and that’s because I follow you on Facebook and I’m constantly enticed by your delicious photography.

Editor's NOTE:  Blushing.......gushing....

Q:  Do you watch TV?

A: Yes, against my better judgment.

Q: How would you describe Canada?

A: One of the best countries in the world. We are very lucky to live here.

Q: Do you have a manifesto?

A: Not an official one but it would include helping make the world a better place. I’ve always had a strong desire to be a part of the change that is so desperately needed on this planet. As Chris Hedges famously said “We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.” Our backwards world has always troubled me. My new business, White Padma is my small way of helping spread some light.

Q: What has been your proudest achievement?

A: Taking control of my life at such a young age. Leaving a bad situation at home and leaving school because it wasn’t for me. It made me a very strong, independent person. I received the best education of all – real life.

Q: Where do you shop in Wasaga Beach?

A: All of the usual go to spots – The Superstore, Home Hardware etc. and Petals In Thyme for flowers and gifts.

Editor's NOTE:  You can purchase Sarah's original art here.

Q:  Where is your favorite restaurant in the beach?

A: Unfortunately there aren’t many options for me in this town. I eat a little fish (but I usually buy and prepare it for myself because I’m picky about where it comes from) and I don’t eat meat, eggs or dairy.

Q: What is your favorite street in town?

A: Shore Lane – such a pretty street.

Q: Do you garden?

A: Not as much as I’d like because my main focus since I’ve lived in this home has been on renovating the interior and on building my business. I hope to add a greenhouse in the near future. I do some indoor gardening, I have a living wall where I grow herbs and greens and I grow sprouts in the kitchen. I would love to eventually grow all of my own food.

Q: Favorite Artists?

A: Tamara de Lempicka, Autumn Skye Morrison, Flora Bowley, Christina Baker, Patricia Schwimmer, Yangyang Pan, Britt Bass, Scott Naismith. I could go on and on.

Q: What are you looking forward to?

A: I look forward to seeing my son become a man, to creating more art, travelling, living overseas and seeing the world become a more peaceful, cooperative place.

Q: What is Wasaga Beach’s best kept secret?

A: All of the interesting, creative people that live in here.

Q:  What are your personal/ business websites?

A: &

(SHOP White Padma HERE)

Q: Favorite meal?

A: Italian – salad, bread, olives, pasta, wine, perfect.

Q: Describe the absolute perfect day?

A: A yoga and meditation session, a day on the beach followed by a delicious BBQ dinner and a bottle of red wine.

Q: How many hours a day do you spend online?

A: Way too many.

Q: In 5 words describe your work.

A: Creative, detailed, sincere, unique, meaningful.

Q:  If you were about to host a dinner party, which living 10 people would you invite and why?


1. Sacha Stone – Founder of New Earth Nation
I highly respect the work that he is doing – google his speech at the 2012 Breakthrough Energy Conference. Amazing.

2. Deepak Chopra – He has been a huge part of my spiritual growth. I was so honored to meet him recently after attending the Global Meditation Event in Toronto.

3. Oprah – Because she’s Oprah.

4. Richard Branson – I love his passion for life and business.

5. Vishen Lakhiani – Founder of Mindvalley. He’s such a positive person and a great teacher.

6. Flora Bowley – Because she’s an amazing artist and a beautiful human.

7. Ayla Nereo – A musician. I love her music and her message.

8. Bruce Lipton – Another great teacher who beautifully melds science and spirituality together.

9. Lilou Mace - WebTV host & author. I have probably watched every video she’s made over the years – I adore her.

10. My son Tyson because I would love to share the experience with him.

Thank You Sarah! 



Photography:  Patti Friday
Styling: Sarah Walker, Patti Friday
Photo Assistant: Taylor Bumstead
Model: Shyanne Woodcock

Patti Friday, Photojourno, reporting from inside 'The Art Dept.' at the international 'Embassy of Ideas'. Reading. Listening. Learning. Improving. Hanging out with successful people. Photographer. Pirate. Bubby. CANADA @pattifriday

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