Karen McKenzie's ornamental panels combine mixed media sculpture, stained glass, mobiles, and find much of their inspiration from the natural world. Further inspiration derives from mosaics, textiles and machinery. Her pieces use familiar designs and imagery, ranging from subtle organic and botanical elements to bold architectural and sculptural forms.
She studied at California College of Arts (& Crafts) and received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Textiles and Metal Arts in 1992. Her career as an artist includes hand painting and dyeing fabric as a costume artist for events including the opening ceremony of the 1996 Olympic games and the Annual Charles Schulz Snoopy Christmas show in Santa Rosa for 9 years. She has assisted an artisan with the production of hand fabricated metal buttons and has painted faux facades, sculpted foam and built props for a local sculptor.
In 2005 she began to cultivate her own artwork combining glass, copper and colorful paint enabling her to incorporate her separate materials into one medium. The repetition of ornamental designs and the wide spectrum of natural elements connect to the plant world in hidden and abstract ways. Pieces can be from 1 to 12 panels suspended and viewed from both sides. The finished product combines various processes with unique results.
Karen designs and crafts her pieces at her studio in Sonoma County, California. She divides her time between her art and assisting her husband with their organic farm, where she derives a great deal of her inspiration.