Thursday, December 3, 2009

Karen An introduction

Very excited to be a part of this! The challenges of creating a work from photographs that are not mine will be a good one for me. I almost said no to it though, time constraints are a concern as I never seem to have enough time and energy after work. Then after deciding I can work in a small enough scale to finish in a months time and knowing how grand I will feel when I have this body of work complete I said a resounding yes. This month of December will be the toughest for me and most likely everyone else as well.

My life as an art quilter evolved slowly. Fabric and floss. I have always drawn. My mother is a gifted artist who encouraged us early on. She always had paper and drawing supplies for us to play with. The three of us children would spend hours with large newsprint pads drawing crowded together on the living room floor.

The embroidery came about during my hippie days. Bluejeans full of colorful floss, flowers, bird, pre Colombian derived designs. I took up photography. Traveled the country living in a bright yellow econoline van. Did odd jobs...hiked, camped. Lived with nature up close and personal. Had chickens and goats, traveled more, did more odd jobs...Lets just call this my inspiration gathering period...

After my daughter was born I moved in with my mother whose support was a blessing. She sewed my daughters wonderful clothes and I embroidered them. We sold them as she outgrew them to a resale shop who had a waiting list for these. We started up a little line of vests, some with beautiful crazy quilt fans sewn by Mom, embroidered by me. Did a craft fair and sold them all.Together we made a quilt for my brothers first born. My mom sewed all the log cabin blocks together in a beautiful array of deep blues. I embroidered each center small square in white floss. There were snowflakes and little lambs of french knots...I wonder what became of that quilt. The art quilter in me was an idea that sparked a slow ember. It took years before I would make my first art quilt.

Fast forward to now. I am happily settled in here. My husband is my best friend and biggest fan. I have two wonderful daughters and three grandchildren! There is a studio space in the basement just for me! I have had the same job for over twenty years....that even amazes me sometimes! My love of fibers and floss has evolved into art quilts. The camera I inherited as a teenager from my Grandfather has given me a long love of photography. My drawings and photos become my quilts. I feel new to this medium still. Still exploring and experimenting.


  1. This was fascinating. Your work, with its emphasis on embroidery, is unusual, and it was intriguing to see how it came to be that way.

    p.s. I've made quite a few embroidered jeans in my time too.

  2. Always nice to meet a fellow ex-hippie. I look forward to seeing your interpretations.

  3. So now we have 2 hippie chicks on board. Why does this not surprise me?!

    So glad you shared your story, Karen!

  4. It's nice to get to know you even better. I've been following your work for quite a long while. It's interesting to know the roots of it. Thanks.

  5. I love that your drawings and photos become the basis for your quilts. I enjoyed learning about your background too so thank you.


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