Karen Meadows – My Life as a Textile Artist
From Karen Meadows:
My fascination with textiles started when, as a child, I spent hours at Stinson Beach weaving reeds together.
This led to my first loom, a frame with string heddles and a cardboard reed. My room was covered with macramé and woven hangings. At College of Marin, I was lucky to study under Carole Beadle, learning the technical aspects of working a loom. This is where I made my first painted warp wall hanging, that hung in a student show. I loved all types of pattern weaving, clothing, and even furniture. Following my passion for connecting threads, I traveled to Guatemala to study back-strap weaving in the backyard of a family in San Antonio Agues Calientes, where I wove about one inch a day, and felt happier than I could remember.
I collected weavings and met with weavers in Greece, Morocco, and Turkey. In Bali, I studied with a family in the ancient village of Tengenan, where they have kept the art of double ikat alive for many centuries. I spent 6 weeks learning about their natural dye techniques, weaving and writing my M.F.A. Thesis for Calif. College of Arts and Crafts, (now CCA)
My hand woven clothing company supported my time in Grad School, I started out weaving dyed scarves and it turned into a 10 year business, with weavers and seamstresses working with the thousands of yards of yarn that I dyed in an ikat style.
The culminating experience of my life as a weaver happened when my piece was chosen for the Lausanne Biennale and traveled to museums across Europe. I continued to paint warps for wall hangings, commissions for public and private buildings.