Sarah Hafner was a renowned maker of highly distinctive artistic quilts, and she was also an author of several books, including Nice Girls Don’t Drink: Stories of Recovery, and The Elements of Style: A Novel. She had several works of both fiction and nonfiction in progress at the time of her death.
Her quilts have been exhibited at juried crafts shows in New York City, Westchester County, and Baltimore, Maryland to name a few. Her later works reflect her fascination with textiles and tie-dye traditions from sources in Asia and Africa.
Sarah Hafner died December 4, 2010 at the Franklin Baystate Medical Center, where she was treated for a rare and sudden illness.
This site represents the final collection of her work.
Dinner with Daddy
Writer/ Quilt maker with more than fifteen years of experience.
My Writing: In 1998, shortly before The Elements of Style was published, a small plane my father was flying malfunctioned. Both he and his passenger died. I lost not just my father but – for nearly a decade — my writing voice. I began writing Einstein’s Orphans in 2007. As a serious reader for more than 40 years, I try to let my ear, and my eye guide me while writing. Studs Terkel helped me turn my interviews with alcoholic women into sentences while keeping, “the truth and humanity of the woman.” I follow his advice in fiction with dialogue and, at times, differing points of view. I have been asked to write blurbs for other authors, edit short stories for some, and occasionally moderate a writers’ workshop.
My Quilts: In 1997 I got married, and no longer needed to support myself by making just bed quilts. I began creating more artistic pieces. My quilts have been shown and sold in galleries from Northampton, Massachusetts, and Manhattan to Carmel and La Jolla California. I use quilt making as a form of story telling. I use art as a way to work through problems, and writing as a way to understand what problems exist in the first place. And because I face pages needing editing on a daily basis, I’d also say that when one falls in love with his or her characters, writing is the only solution. Occasionally I write directly onto muslin, and have always kept pen and paper next to my sewing machine. I choose fabric carefully, and use primarily international fabrics, such as Adire from Africa, and Japanese silks (Yukata, and Shibori, and Ikat. I am fortunate to have anonymous collectors, as my prices begin at $1,200.
1992 Nice Girls Don’t Drink, Stories of Recovery
1992 Bad Luck Trembling
1994 Cheerios, a short story in Puck Magazine
1999 The Elements of Style, a novel represented by Garret Freeyman-Weyr.
1994-95 The American Craft Council Baltimore shows
1994 The ACC show Springfield, Massachusetts
1995 The ACC show, San Francisco
2001 The Lincoln Center Craft Show
2004-96 The Westchester Craft Show
I started writing short stories when I was old enough to read—6? but didn’t get anything published until 1992, with Nice Girls Don’t Drink, Stories of Recovery. I wrote it to show models of recovery in and outside of AA. Nearly two decades later, the book still serves alcoholism counselors in the classroom and in the field. Women of Sobriety still uses and promotes the book at retreats.
Einstein’s Orphans is a novel about looking for yourself, and for love in 1975, when women were just beginning to look beyond men as their only option. It’s also a snapshot of this country, the politics, war, and New York City in the 1970’s. New York was a place you had to understand in order to desire. It was broke, and crime ridden and wonderful, and you could live in a place like Park Slope without ridiculous effort.
Education: While still in High School, I took advantage of the Amherst College/Amherst High School trade. (The classes I took were all English and creative writing and counted as concurrent credits toward both high school and college.)
1973-75 Amherst College Special Student
1975-76 University of Massachusetts; took advantage of the five-college exchange,
and went to Smith, Mt. Holyoke and Amherst College (Dean’s List)
1976-77 Pratt Institute: Graphic Design (Dean’s List)
1977-78 Indiana University
Hobbies: Biking, gardening and cooking.
Letters of Recommendation, and/or a list of galleries, are available upon request.
See: http://www.sarahhafner.com for quilts, details and links to fabric sources,