Karen Suzuki is a mixed media textiles maker whose work has two main themes, both centred around animal forms.
In the first, Karen makes forms relating to urban wildlife, working in particular with feral pigeons and other animals that are part of her everyday experience. Through reworking and distressing small pieces of fabrics and using appliqué and freehand embroidery to attach these fabrics to the form, and more recently, incorporating elements that are not conventional textiles – such as altered food packaging and plastics – she tries to express the idea of the fragility and complexity of the way in which animals exist in an urban environment.
The second strand focuses on creatures that are inspired by old worn toys and Staffordshire pottery figures. The making process again emphasises the hand made and spontaneity, with form and character of each piece developing organically, without prior plan or extensive sketching.
The technical approach is primarily materials- and process-based and is intuitive rather than planned. Karen is strongly committed to using direct and simple hand making processes that express a sense of imperfection, intimacy and emotional bond.
Karen works from a studio in Glasgow’s east end. She trained in ceramics at Glasgow School of Art (BA Hons 1993; Master of Design, MDes 1994), and practised ceramics until 2005, exhibiting widely in the UK and internationally. In October 2009 She set up her company, Nameless Wonders, making smaller-scale work for craft fairs, online shops and private commissions. In late 2010 she also began making more sustained pieces of work for exhibition.
Karen is a gallery artist at The Billcliffe Gallery in Glasgow and guest artist at Made in Stroud, and has exhibited throughout the UK, as well as having a solo exhibition in Harajuku, Tokyo in 2011. Public commissions include a cat, pigeons and rats for the Riverside Museum (Museum of Transport) in Glasgow.
Year Established: 2009
Front cover of and feature in Embroidery magazine, July/August 2016 issue.
Awarded a prize by the Embroiderers' Guild for work exhibited in the Unit Twelve (Staffordshire) Contemporary Craft Open 2014.