Karen Payton Art      Ventura County, California
karenpayton4@gmail.com

It started with needle and thread.....

I have a funny memory of being an awkward, too tall 4th grader starting the sewing unit in home economics class.  I was like a demon.  I wanted to sew everything.  Mrs. Frenchie gave me a B because my quality was poor.  I was in too much of a rush to create as much as possible during the unit.

 

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love art.  In the 80’s I attended my first Grateful Dead concert.  The tie-dyes, textiles, and flowing fabrics filled my soul as much as the music.  I decided to major in Textiles and Clothing in college with a minor in Fiber Art.  One assignment was to hand embroider a self-portrait.  Using embroidery floss as paint and a needle as a brush, I found my bliss.  After graduating I began working in the clothing industry but always kept stitching.

 

Galleries turned me down due to the small size of my work.  My hands began to cramp and ache from all the stitching.  I poured through Fiber Arts Magazine (there was no internet then) to seek alternatives to just stitching.  From that research, I played with adding fabric and machine stitching.  It took many years to get a process that worked. 

 

In the early 2000’s I stayed home with my babies and used nap time to create.  I was lucky enough to be picked up by galleries, sell work, have solo shows, win awards, and even make the front cover of a magazine. 

 

Then I moved, lost my art space, and somehow lost my mojo.  I got a corporate job and completely lost my spirit. I was also fearful that stitching was leaving my hands damaged. 

 

Like a small flame, joy started to slip back into my psyche.  I painted rocks.  I sketched.   I decided to do one piece…just to see if I remembered how to do it.  Then I did another.  Then I remembered who I am…an artist who loves to stitch!

 

My new images carry many of the old themes; love, joy and harmony. The aesthetic is still deeply influenced by the beauty of hippies but the feeling is all about joy.  I am at peace when I create and it is important to me to bring a sense of joy to the viewer.

 

Tune in, tap in…hang up a hippie and make a happy home!

A peek at my process....