“Reuse, make do, do without, wear it out, use it up”

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Karen Thiessen Artist Statement

“Reuse, make do, do without, wear it out, use it up”

This philosophy, learned from my parents and grandparents, informs my life and art practice. My textile and mixed media work honours the tradition of transforming humble materials at hand into objects of beauty and contemplation. My growing up years, in a small rural Russian Mennonite community in Southern Ontario, taught me the value of hard work, creativity and inventiveness. My parents, with their limited means and unlimited imaginations, invented solutions out of sheer necessity. Creativity was a way of life, a means of survival.

I prefer to mostly use materials that have a history. Materials that have been used, cast off and forgotten, rescued from the rag box, sidewalk, or recycle bin with their patina of use ignite my imagination. With needle, thread, and acrylics I recast the detritus of everyday life into new roles as contemporary textiles and collages.

Collage, social and spiritual issues, aerial views of farmland, and my Russian Mennonite culture, are some of the things that inspire my contemporary textiles and mixed media works.

Karen Thiessen