Sara Baldwin grew up on her family’s farm on Virginia’s rustic Eastern Shore. She showed artistic talent at an early age, and headed to the University of Pennsylvania to train as a fine arts painter, earning both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. While still in school, she created her first mosaic design: a mural of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Thus began her fascination for the ancient craft of mosaics.
In 1991, Sara returned to the Eastern Shore with her baby son, her degrees – and not much money. She thought about the mosaic mural she had created in school, and realized she could use her artistic skills to create something as practical and lasting, as it was beautiful. With that in mind, she coaxed her parents into giving her a $5000 loan, moved into an empty house on their farm, and started assembling mosaic tile designs on her kitchen table. And New Ravenna, named for an ancient Italian city known for its mosaics, was born.
Just a year later, she landed her first big order: a swimming pool border mosaic for Mrs. Smith of Mrs. Smith’s Pies. More installations followed, and Sara’s designs were presented to distributors and showrooms across the country. Within two years, New Ravenna mosaics were being marketed in more than 20 showrooms. And today, they’re sold through more than 200 independent showrooms across the country.
In 1994, Sara won “The Most Creative New Business Contest” sponsored by New Woman magazine and the National Association of Female Executives. She was one of 1,700 applicants. Sara took home the top prize of $25,000 and was featured in the November issue of the magazine.
Today, with Sara serving as President, New Ravenna employs more than 100 people, including three specialized mosaic designers. The company is housed in a block of preserved historic buildings in Exmore, Virginia. With a payroll of more than three million dollars a year, New Ravenna’s success has had a significant impact on the economic development of Exmore and Northampton County.
Sara has created mosaic designs for clients such as Tom Hanks, Madonna and the DuPonts, as well as manufacturers such as Waterworks. Her breathtaking designs can be seen in homes, hotels, restaurants, casinos, and businesses around the world. She continues to introduce new product lines each year. Customers can request custom designs, or select from existing designs, borders, and field tiles in the company’s catalogues.
Metamorphosis is the first collection for her new signature series, Sara Baldwin Design. The collection, inspired by the wild beauty of the rural Eastern Shore, captures nature’s ever-changing patterns, textures and hues, transforming them into the timeless craft of mosaic art.