My practice and life experience are entwined, fundamentally influenced by being a survivor of childhood trauma and from a low socio-economic background. The household was unsafe and I found ways of survival through drawing, colouring, sewing and knitting - though I was not aware of this as a child.
I utilise materials that are widely available and/or of low monetary value, for example brightly coloured acrylic yarn, worn bed sheets, tablecloths and the contents of button tins, sewing tins and flower presses. These materials are gathered in a variety of ways - from deceased female relatives, gifted by friends, discovered in charity shops, or in the case of pottery shards, prised from the soil of forest paths.
These unearthed treasures, 'small nothings' intrigue me. I'm fascinated by possible narratives hidden within these artefacts, that others hands and bodies have interacted with them and at one time they were new, whole, treasured. My fascination is akin to detective work on my part, claiming these as my own heritage, trying out others' narratives for size. My parents rarely spoke of their families so there is little difference in what I 'know' about the strangers who owned the broken teacup (for example) and my blood relatives.
With hours of labour I lavish attention and honour these items using craft techniques initially learned and practiced as a child. I have developed a ritual of repetitive action; through in-depth looking and the alchemy of sewing and knitting (or capturing accurate likenesses in watercolour) I transform objects into something other, worth more than the sum of their parts, 'worth' looking at. Hiding in plain sight, I use these works to search for kin in my audience.
My childhood was spent at the edge of Epping Forest in Essex, domestic space and forest site as threshold to the other. Frequently my practice is completed by being taken outside, photographed within the wood, the field, the cemetery, given breathing space.
Though my practice is prompted by a position of vulnerability from childhood I embrace the power in this. To create is powerful. How far can I push processes learnt and materials available to me in that childhood? Where is the point of wounded to wonder?
"When I was growing up, all the women in my house were using needles. I've always had a fascination with the needle, the magic power of the needle. The needle is used to repair the damage. It's a claim to forgiveness. It is never aggressive, it's not a pin." Louise Bourgeois
Karen Logan (she/her) is an artist and creative practitioner living in Derbyshire. Karen holds an AHRC funded MA in Textiles from Goldsmiths University of London. Her practice includes hand stitch, hand knit, sculpture, drawing, watercolour and foraging. Recent freelance work includes developing and delivering experimental drawing activities for a group of SEND young people at QUAD Derby and supporting secondary school pupils participating in the Midlands Maker Challenge at The Museum of Making in Derby.
Residencies include the Virtual Residency at Haarlem Artspace (2020), Summer Lodge at Nottingham Trent University (2019) and (aa2a) Artists Access to Art Colleges at Derby University (2018-19).
Karen runs and facilitates Draw Derby: a free monthly gathering for anyone who wants to draw (and draw together) in Derby city centre.
2003 MA Textiles (Distinction), Goldsmiths, University of London, received an AHRC award
Photography, installation, making: notions of home and the suburban landscape beyond. Studied with the aid of an Arts and Humanities Research Council Award. Thesis: Home and the Heart of the Wood: An Aesthetic of Suspense.
1993 BA (Hons) Textiles (First Class Honours), The University Of Derby
Specialised in printed textiles. Thesis: Geo-synthetics in Land Management.
1990 BTEC Diploma in Art and Design (Merit), Epping Forest College, Essex
Specialised in textiles.
2022 UN VEIL, Haarlem Gallery, Wirksworth
2021 Makers Market, Haarlem Gallery, Wirksworth
2020 Print Fair 2020, Nottingham Contemporary
2019 Winter Exhibition, Haarlem Artspace, Wirksworth
2019 Wirksworth Festival, Haarlem Artspace, Wirksworth
2019 In Common, aa2a Residency Exhibition, University of Derby
2018 Winter Exhibition, Haarlem Artspace, Wirksworth
2018 Rituals and Rites, Artcore Gallery, Derby
2016 We Are Many Conference, Solihull
2016 Like-Letters, Sheffield Institute of Arts, Sheffield
2015 Leytonstone Arts Trail, London
2014 Leytonstone Arts Trail, London
2012 Woolgather Art Prize 2012, Leeds
2012 Pecha Kucha Night Wakefield #5, The Hepworth Wakefield
2011 Allotment Soup, Sheffield
2011 Assembly 11, Bloc Projects, Sheffield
2011 Interior Lightning, Navigation Warehouse, Wakefield Artwalk
2011 Pecha Kucha Night Wakefield #3, The Hepworth Wakefield
2010 The Market Estate Project, N7, London
2021 Work featured in Element by Catherine Rogers, published by Haarlem Artspace
2020 Meet the Artist: Karen Logan, Contemporary Visual Arts Network - East Midlands
2019 five2watch-sculpture, axisweb
2022 Take Time Residency, Haarlem Artspace, Wirksworth
I set up Take Time for the idea not yet begun, the unresolved work, the unread text - a creative itch that repeatedly pops into consciousness but for whatever reason there's no time. Working with artists from the Virtual Residency (see below), Take Time built on insights and relationships formed as studio holders at Haarlem Artspace and provided support for each participants creative practice in a caring critical environment.
2020 Virtual Residency, Haarlem Artspace, Wirksworth
Selected artists at Haarlem Artspace spent a week together exploring new processes and ideas, checking in with twice daily Zoom sharings. Daily, I walked a 3 mile circular route around Haarlem, consciously tuning into the landscape and experience of walking. Photographs, listening circle drawings and a herbal remedy (made with berries gathered as I walked) were outcomes from the Virtual Residency.
2019 Summer Lodge, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham
Like many, I hold the beginnings of ideas/unresolved work/instinctual work as thoughts and objects. Summer Lodge provided the perfect opportunity to sit with and allow space for these ideas to be. A sculptural piece emerged, frustrating and surprising, leading to more ideas...
2018-2019 Artists Access to Art Colleges (aa2a), Derby University, Derby
Revisited linocut for the first time in 30 years and printed using a Victorian Albion press and etching press in the printmaking studio. The project involved drawing, printmaking, painting, walking, writing, stitching and taking beginners courses in hedge laying and dry stone walling. Memories of being read Alison Uttley fairytales as a child and visits to her farm birthplace during the project informed the residency.
2012 Sites in Sight, The Art House, Wakefield
Residency exploring friendship in the Warwick Estate, Knottingly. Making stuff, drinking tea, eating homemade cake, talking and sharing together. Awarded additional funding by the NHS as the project enhanced participants mental wellbeing.
Creative Practitioner (selected)
2022-ongoing Draw Derby, Market Place Derby
Draw Derby is a free monthly gathering for anyone who wants to draw in the city centre. Draw Derby creates a space to inhabit the city in a quietly powerful way, to be still, observe and draw together, meeting likeminded others in the process. We meet by the Waterfall sculpture in the Market Place at 10.30am on the last Saturday of the month.
2023-ongoing Experimental Drawing Project, QUAD, Derby
Playful project exploring drawing with a group of SEND young people. We drew by sprinkling seeds onto soil to watch our drawings grow, we created drawing tools with locally collected natural materials and drew from photographs taken by the group. The sessions opened up what drawing can be using QUAD's central Derby location as inspiration.
2023 Sea Plastic Song, Baby People/Artcore, Derby
Created vibrant artwork with children from Grampian Primary Academy for a performance highlighting the impact of sea plastic on ocean life. Song/rap created with a practitioner from Baby People.
2021-ongoing Midlands Maker Challenge - mentor, Museum of Making, Derby
'Critical friend' supporting young people participating in the Midlands Maker Challenge. The challenge encourages an open and exploratory mindset in responding to a Climate (in)Action brief, inspired by the Midlands rich manufacturing heritage.
2022 Everybody Draw, QUAD, Derby
All-day drop-in drawing event in celebration of The Big Draw Festival. Inspired by QUAD and the historic Market Place, participants created a huge communal drawing, collaborating, communicating and sharing the beauty and wonder of the everyday.
2022 Draw Together, GoldsQUAD, QUAD, Derby
Series of playful drawing workshops for participants aged 50+ exploring line, tone, form, colour and scale. We folded paper to make sketchbooks, created drawing tools with natural materials and experimented with drawing media.
2021 KidsQUAD, QUAD, Derby
Workshop for 7-11 year olds focusing on tonal qualities in photography and drawing inspired by the Brian Griffin, Black Country Dada 1969-1990 exhibition.
2021 QUAD Participate, Derby
Workshops for year 11 students focusing on self portraits, inspired by Imran Qureshi's exhibition at QUAD.
2020 #ThisIsDerby, QUAD, Derby
Devised and planned projects for a Junior School and SEND 6th Form focusing on wellbeing and environmental themes. Projects cancelled because of coronavirus.
2019 Beam, Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, Milford
Commissioned to create and deliver a drop-in activity celebrating Milford's history during the Putting the Mill back into Milford event. We focused on drawing and creating natural dyes using the flora surrounding Holy Trinity Church.
2019 Q Club, QUAD, Derby
Created workshops for children and young people with additional support needs focusing on screen print and sculpture.
2019 Harewood House, Leeds
Devised self-led activities for families and school groups and KS1/2 workshops in response to the exhibition Useful/Beautiful: Why Craft Matters.
2010-2017 The Hepworth, Wakefield
2010-2017 The Hepworth, Wakefield
Drop-ins, workshops and courses for families, young people and schools, working solo and in collaboration in response to the collections and temporary exhibitions, within budget and to deadline. Hepworth Wakefield won Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2017.
2016 De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea
2015 Agder Folkehøgskole, Søgne, Norway
2016 De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea
Collaborated with the DLWP in delivering a weekend of experimental drawing activities exploring science, technology, engineering, art and maths for the STEAM Powered Big Draw Festival. Led a series of workshops for 7-11 year olds in response to exhibitions by Fiona Banner: Bouys Boys and Peter Blake: Alphabets, Letters and Numbers.
2015 Agder Folkehøgskole, Søgne, Norway
Lectures on walking and art, plus creative workshops with impromptu exhibition in the art department at the folk school.
Ways of Looking: A Future Youth Inspired art project. Three-day project for young people responding to the art and architecture of Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery.
2005-2014 The Building Exploratory, London
Workshops for schools and families facilitating opportunities to discover the secrets of their local area and gain a better understanding of the buildings and spaces surrounding them.
2007-2011 Creative Partnerships, UK
Projects involved nursery, primary and secondary schools encouraging exploration of ideas through personal responses and interpretations. Sessions included movement, drawing, collage, sculpture, language, drama, INSET's, gallery visits and working alongside parents in school.
2005-2009 Tate Britain, London
Engaged audiences in creative processes, assisting nursery, primary, family and further education groups in exploring the galleries collections and creating art. This included leading INSET days and working on VerbalEyes, an art and literacy project in primary schools.
Also worked as artist and creative practitioner in London at The V&A, The Whitechapel Art Gallery, The October Gallery, The Foundling Museum, The Geffrye Museum, [space] Studios and The Drawing Room.