Karen is a self taught natural dyer working in botanical printing. Plants are her medium, eco printing on a canvas of natural textiles intended to be worn as wearable art. She finds the process to be soulful and spiritual, from foraging for plants through to unbundling the finished work. Karen embraces the serendipity of working with natural resources and in particular is researching the potential of our New Zealand native plants to make marks on fabric. The resulting colours and images reflect the local environment while adopting a sustainable kaupapa.
Karen’s background is in nursing but always held a dream to be a full-time artist. Inspired by the work and ethos of Australian eco printer India Flint, she took a giant leap of faith and left a career in palliative care in 2016 to follow this creative journey in natural dyeing. So, from dying to dyeing...
With her eco printing, Karen creates hand dyed one-of-a-kind silk scarves under her own label Nuku, selling online and at selected Galleries. In Māori Nuku means earth, referring to the natural resources gifted by Papatūānuku, the earth mother which Karen believes bring their own mauri or life force to the work. She also re dyes preloved clothing which she sells at selected markets. She is an advocate for the environment, sharing her passion for zero waste and conservation by teaching workshops to adults and children on natural dyeing and eco print both from her home studio in Kaiwaka and at Estuary Arts Orewa. In 2019 she was involved in a collaboration with Kimono Kollab salvaging vintage kimono with eco printing for the Japanese metal band Hatenkohro. Her kimono is now travelling with the band throughout Asia and Eastern Europe.
Karen also works in other media including photography, mixed media assemblage and creative book art exhibiting at Depot Artspace, Studio 541, Matakana Images, A Fine Line, Estuary Arts Centre and Tara Poolman Gallery. She is co author and photographer of ‘Family OE, A Really Useful Kiwi Guide to Travelling Overseas with Your Children’ (New Holland Publishers 2008). In April 2007 she was awarded Licentiate of the Photographic Society of New Zealand.
She can enthuse about eco print for hours, and is always happy to show work in progress at her home studio by arrangement, or to take commissions for work.
Contact Karen: ph 0276365610, 132 Gibbons Road, Kaiwaka