About Nancy Lenches

Nancy E. Lenches Alegret is the graphic artist whose colorful work graces Sabaku Artwear silk screened apparel. Sabaku was founded in Tucson Arizona in 1988 by Nancy and her husband, John, who manages the company.


Nancy grew up in Tucson and the influences of the surrounding Sonoran desert, Native American craft and Mexican folk art can be seen in her work. Her interest in art was quenched early when every summer starting at the age of 12, she was privately tutored in drawing, painting, weaving and ceramics. During school, she enrolled in all of the art and design courses that were offered. Nancy attended the College of Fine Arts at The University of Arizona. There she became "hooked on clay" and made her focus of study ceramic sculpture.

Graphic art came to Nancy quite accidentally when she was asked to design a screen print for a Fun Run fundraiser at her son's elementary school. "I didn't know anything about silk screening, but with a little help from a local printer, I made a four color design of a dog wearing running shoes and we put it on the shirts. It was a big success. We sold 700 of them." She learned printmaking quickly as the phone started ringing with other schools and businesses wanting Nancy's designs for shirts. It was not long before Sabaku Artwear was off and running.

Twenty years later, Nancy's work has matured as she has mastered the technical boundaries of commercial apparel printing.  She rejects the limitations of Sabaku's two eight color presses by building color fields of overlapping hues until the finished prints are dazzling in their complexity. All of her designs start as pencil sketches which are then rendered in ink. These ink drawings are scanned into a computer. This technology allows Nancy to do color separations in hours that used to be laboriously hand cut over several days. Both Nancy and John are particular about the shirts that are the canvases for her art. Most are made and dyed to Sabaku's exclusive design and color specifications by a manufacturer in Miami, Florida. "When I bring new artwork into our printshop, the pressmen and I confer on setup and color selection. Even though I have a picture in my head of the finished print, we don't really see it until the artwork is actually produced on press, on one of our shirts. Sometimes we get it right the first try and sometimes it takes all day."

"We get at least one call a day from someone who loves my work and collects our shirts. We get reports from people who see them all over the world. It's crazy and fun to produce artwork that is so approachable." Nancy produces two collections a year for Sabaku Artwear along with the commissions she still completes for schools, businesses and events.