Born in Abington, Pennsylvania in 1947, Squeak Carnwath attended Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont from 1969 to 1970. She also studied at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, where she received her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1977. In 1978 Carnwath was an instructor at the California College of Arts and Crafts and at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. From 1982 to 1983 she was a visiting artist at the University of California at Berkley and in 1991 she was Artist-in-Residence at the Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado. From 1993 to 1994 she was a Visiting Professor and Associate Dean School of Fine Arts at the California College of Arts and Crafts.