Contemplate: Landscape-inspired Textile & Mixed Media Art by Karen Henderson is on display through Nov. 22 at the Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild in St. Johnsbury.
Karen Henderson creates paintings in fiber, inspired by the sensual landscape around her. Her views seem intimate, as if the viewer is seeing the landscape in fleeting permanence, much like a dream or a memory. Yet, as most of us in this Green Mountain State know, these visions are also, indeed the fiber of the real lands we see around us, in this enchanted environment, one of nature’s comforting playgrounds.
The Northeast Kingdom is delighted to showcase her works, during this season of changes, where mist filled mornings, and the play of light and color seem most magical.
“In my work, I am interested in the connections between self, place, emotion, and time," says Henderson. "Seasons, atmospheres, dreams and memories intrigue me. I try to capture ephemeral, fleeting moments through the use of color, line, and texture in fabrics and mixed media. Nature and landscape are a continual source of inspiration and point of reference. I use diﬀerent dye techniques (batik, shibori, color removal, rust print) and sewing with my weavings and fabric pieces. Textures are enhanced with hand stitching. Dimension is added with tucks, layers, or other manipulations of fabric. For a few years now, I've been experimenting with mixed media paint techniques alongside my textile approaches. Many of the processes I choose to use, like weaving and stitching, are very slow and contemplative–encouraging introspection–while some, like dyeing and painting, are more spontaneous and unpredictable. I try to find a balance between them.”
Henderson now calls the stunning green mountains of Vermont her home. Her early years were spent in Bucks County, Pa., in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Art school took her from the big apple of Brooklyn, NY to pre-hipster era Portland, ME, then back to the Philly area to attend Moore College of Art & Design, learning all things textile from three of the world's most amazingly talented artist professors. She went from designing wallpaper to running a fiber program at Peters Valley Craft School. The top of the Delaware River wasn’t far enough north though; she and her partner Jim packed up and landed in the smallest capitol in the country, little Montpelier.
Henderson’s artwork has been exhibited nationally, collected frequently, and has been featured in artist interviews for books, magazines, and online (https://www.karenhendersonfiber.com/artwork.html).
Sometime, while catching up on Netflix, check out the award-winning films “Black Swan” and “Louder Than Bombs” where you will (don't blink) catch glimpses of Karen's art in the set designs behind actors Natalie Portman or Jessie Eisenberg.
Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild is located at 430 Railroad Street in St. Johnsbury and is open daily Monday – Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.