Crazy Crafty: a Mini Bio on Karen

I guess you can say that I have always been a “crafty person”. When I was a young girl, I enjoyed cross stitching and crochet. I made afghans and hats for my family and made a few cross stitch pieces.

Then when I was 7 years old, our family bought a new home. My parents enjoyed spending LOTS of time shopping for decorations at a place called Long Grove in Illinois. So, that gave me a lot of time to just sit there and wait for them. As I sat there, I started looking at the hand painted items for sale at the store. I liked them and so I decided to use my waiting time to really look at them and figure out how the artist painted it. And that is how I was introduced to painting.

Since those long days at Long Grove, I have continued to perfect my painting techniques. By the time I was married and my kids came along, I started teaching friends to paint at my kitchen table. While Dan was stationed at Schofield Barracks, HI, I noticed that the Craft Shops on the various military bases offered different types of classes. So, I took a chance and brought some of my pieces to the manager of one of the Army Post’s Craft Shops and asked if he would like to offer Decorative Painting Classes. To my surprise, he loved my work and I was given a government contract to teach painting there one night per week! About a week later, I received a call from the manager of another military Craft Shop and was asked if I would be interested in teaching there as well!

I continued to paint and teach classes for a few years until we were transferred to the Chicago Area. We bought a home in Kenosha and I began looking for places to teach and sell my pieces. I taught at several places in Kenosha and had much success selling things at various craft shows and stores. As a matter of fact, I was having to paint so many things in very limited time to keep up with demand, it became a very stressful chore rather than something I enjoyed. I needed to either expand and hire help or stop painting altogether.

I decided to give up my stressful, but successful business because I was tired of sitting in my lonely, basement painting area. Instead I decided to get a job where I could be with actual people and see the sunlight of day. I liked that for a while but, as I moved up the corporate ladder, the stress level increased.

As things played out, I ended up coming down with several auto-immune diseases and had to give up my job. The doctors blamed it all on having to much stress in my life. I decided then to go back to painting since in the past I found that it was relaxing but, made a pact with myself not to allow things to get so busy this time.

So, that brings me to the present time. I am teaching two painting classes per week at Hobby Lobby in Kenosha. I have moved my painting studio upstairs where I can look out the window and I am not currently participating in any craft shows. I enjoy it again!  Recently, I had an opportunity to design some pieces for a popular decorative painting retailer! That has always been my dream and I am thankful to God for providing that opportunity!


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