Karen Suzuki creates animals from mixed textiles, building up new, complex fabrics from existing new and recycled textiles. She uses the qualities of each fabric – ripped edges, fraying, stretching, opacity or transparency, as well as their colour, pattern and textural qualities – in combination with exposed, expressive hand stitching in a manner like drawing, finding the form through needle, thread and scissors.
Karen uses animal forms as a vehicle for experimenting with and exploring the possibilities presented by combining and reworking fabrics. They are not absolutely representational, but she tries to capture something of the animal’s character. Up till now she has used the fabrics mainly decoratively, to describe the form, but is now starting to examine the relationship between form and the visual/tactile elements of the surface. She hopes that by developing ways of combining and layering existing fabrics with fabric she has created herself – by using painted surfaces, woven pieces or other means – she can open up a new way of working that enables a meaning from the fabric itself to be tied in with the overall form, perhaps to create more of a story.
Karen exhibits in galleries under her own name, but she also, as Nameless Wonders, makes collectable textile animals for craft markets and her online shops. This work is smaller-scale and lower price point, and has a strong humorous element to it. Rabbits, cats, foxes and cows feature prominently, with each item hand stitched or knitted, and each one with unique character. As with the gallery work there is a focus on combining fabrics to give rich surface colour and texture, and to emphasise the qualities of each material used.
In addition to the gallery and craft market work, Karen undertakes commissions for any type and size of animal and to any budget.
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