Sandra Vander Schaaf

This is an ongoing series that pairs art from local artists with their reflections on topics of spirituality and faith. Come by St. Faith’s Anglican Church to experience the artist’s work Tuesday-Friday from 9:30 to 4pm or on Sundays.

Artist’s Statement

My work as an artist encompasses photography, writing, and textile-based art.  In all practices, I draw on the practice of living inquiry for inspiration.  This is most simply described as paying attention in a spirit of active, humble, embodied curiosity. In recent years, this practice has given me a much-needed framework for understanding place and belonging from the perspective of an uninvited guest on the sacred lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

In Braiding Sweetgrass:  Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “Paying attention is a form of reciprocity with the living world, receiving the gifts with open eyes and open heart.”  As an artist, I choose to create and share tangible expressions of gratitude for the unfathomable generosity of the living world. 

I’m delighted to have two pieces featured in the Spaces Art Gallery at St. Hildegard’s Sanctuary.  Both pieces are grounded in my experience of walking the shoreline of Íy̓el̓shn (pronounced “ay-ul-shun”) and the surrounding beaches on what is commonly known as English Bay, at the foot of the street where I make home.

About the Art


antique linen, oyster shell, reclaimed cotton, handstitch
Íy̓el̓shn, 2022

The brittle textures of a fragment of worn altar linen and a crumbling oyster shell testify to the effects of time and friction. Both are emblems of sacred stories of abundance and generosity. Held together in stitch and fold, these two undercover witnesses invite questions of the intersection of these stories, past and present.


free-motion embroidered lace, driftwood, reclaimed linen

Shorelines is crafted from a delicate driftwood branch and the organic forms of free-motion embroidered water bubbles.  Both elements are the result of the action of water, stitched together here to evoke the experience of a fleeting moment of a wave meeting the shore, a momentary interaction where water meets land, an ever changing boundary.

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