Saaraliisa has been working in the field of fiber for over 30 years. During much of that time she has lived and taught abroad in Costa Rica, Japan, Peru and South Africa. While in Kyoto for five years, she fell in love with washi (handmade paper) and studied with a master papermaker. Her own work uses her handmade paper and whatever other fiber techniques she needs at the time.
Over the years her work has had a strong social conscience, dealing with subjects such as abuse and victimization, secrets and body image. She visually communicates the struggle between hope and despair and the tension created from the interplay of those forces. Her newer works have echoes of these themes, but are more focused on life’s more ethereal and spiritual questions. “I persist in asking: as humans, why do we struggle, why do we care, what makes us try? I have no answers to these seemingly spiritual enigmas, and I do not seek the answers through conventionally religious means, but I continue to dissect the struggle.”