Approved: 16.08.2006

Karen Hansen

Artist, Maker, Curator, Project manager, Teacher

Approved: 16.08.2006

Working with Design and Natural Form to create contemporary furniture and sculptural construction, my practise is based on strong sustainable ethics both in process and outcome. I am inspired by nature and seek to emphasise the connections between us and our environment. This might relate to the use of local material to promote the survival of the woodland resource or build on particular site specific elements within a commission. The design ideas develop with emphasis on clear clean lines and comfortable function and are based on a long developed experience and good understanding of material and structure. My Danish roots continue to influence both approach and result. Projects vary from private and individual commissions that fulfil needs within personal space to large scale research and developments for public clients within civic, health and leisure facilities. Design and development will often involve in-depth consultation with client or community group as well as facilitation of workshops and experimental processes on both social and practical levels. Working with the given qualities of the material, I create simple design-solutions which allow the natural form to make each piece of furniture unique. The strong sculptural element is integral by a subtle use of the changing form – either on the basis of its origin in the natural world or by shaping and manipulating the material to achieve the fine balance between dynamic form, comfort and strength in structure. I mainly work hands-on as an artist through research and concept development to final outcome but also enjoy opportunities to collaborate across disciplines and with other practitioners.

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  • Location: Evershot, South West
  • Activities: Workshops, Arts in health, Community arts, Public art, Private commissions
  • Categories: Project, Environment, Furniture, Sculpture, Woodwork
 
 

Biography

Working with Design and Natural Form to create contemporary furniture and sculptural construction, my practise is based on strong sustainable ethics both in process and outcome. I am inspired by nature and seek to emphasise the connections between us and our environment. This might relate to the use of local material to promote the survival of the woodland resource or build on particular site specific elements within a commission. The design ideas develop with emphasis on clear clean lines and comfortable function and are based on a long developed experience and good understanding of material and structure. My Danish roots continue to influence both approach and result. Projects vary from private and individual commissions that fulfil needs within personal space to large scale research and developments for public clients within civic, health and leisure facilities. Design and development will often involve in-depth consultation with client or community group as well as facilitation of workshops and experimental processes on both social and practical levels. Working with the given qualities of the material, I create simple design-solutions which allow the natural form to make each piece of furniture unique. The strong sculptural element is integral by a subtle use of the changing form – either on the basis of its origin in the natural world or by shaping and manipulating the material to achieve the fine balance between dynamic form, comfort and strength in structure. I mainly work hands-on as an artist through research and concept development to final outcome but also enjoy opportunities to collaborate across disciplines and with other practitioners.

Career path

2013 Marchwood Vale Design Award, Dorset

2012 Awarded Guild Mark 442 for Ceremonial Wedding Seat,- meeting the finest levels of furniture making in the categories of Design, Workmanship, Use of Materials and Function. Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers, London

2012 Awarded the Exlab research bursary in connection to Exploratory Laboratory, UK - a collaborative project between scientists and artist to explore and further the understanding of the natural environment. Dorset Visual Arts. UK

2008 RICS London Awards. Craftsmanship in conservation, Special Award with St. Blaise, for St. George's Chapel, Bloomsbury

2002 Allsop Arts and Crafts Price, Allsop Gallery. Bridport 2002 

2002 Princes Foundation Craft Scholarship award, carving.

1996/02 Constructing green oak timberframe house and strawbale studio using local materials. 

1996 Teachers training, Agenda, Landbase training, Stoneleigh 

1994 Conservation work in Joinery and Architectural carving at English Heritage sites all over Britain, with St Blaise, Evershot

1994/03 Starting own business as furniture designer/maker, taking on public and private commissions

1994 MSc Forest Product Technology, Design, Manufacture. Hooke Park College, Bournemouth University, Dorset

1993 Diploma in Forest Product Manufacturing, Hooke Park College, Parnham Trust, Dorset

1982/87 Various employment as joiner cabinet maker in Denmark, USA., UK

1979 Manual skills training, Aarhus Vaerksteds Skole, Denmark

CV & Education

Solo exhibitions

2005 - Contemporary design and natural form, The Townmill, Lyme Regis

Group exhibitions

2013,Going Full Circle, Walford Mill Crafts, Dorset

2012, Exlab research exhibition, AUCB Bournemouth.

2011 - The Arts & Crafts Legacy,21st Century Furniture III, The Millinery Works Gallery, London 2011 - Women Work - in Wood, Walford Mill Crafts, Dorset, touring exhibition

2010 - Art in the Garden, Hampshire, Sir Harold Hilliers Gardens, Hampshire

2010 - Designer Makers 2010, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

2009 - Making the Future - 21st Century Furniture , Seymour Place , London

2008 - Trig Point, Dorset Visual Arts Showcase , A selected exhibition at the Study Gallery of Modern Art, Poole, Dorset

2008 - Wonder Wood - Inspirational Contemporary Designers from the South West , Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World., Devon

2007 - Art in the Garden, Hampshire, Sir Harold Hilliers Gardens, Hampshire

2006 - Contemporary Crafts, Nature in art, Gloucester

2006 - Made in Dorset, a celebration of the talents of Dorset artists and makers, Bridport Artcentre, Dorset

2004 - Arts & craft exhibition, Artsreach, Dorset, Touring exhibition

2004 - Comfort & Joy exhibition, Bridport Artscentre, Bridport

2002 - In Praise of Trees, Salisbury Festival 2002 - Moving Parts, The Study Gallery, Poole 2002 - SITE - site specific exhibition, Sherborne House, Dorset 2001 - Bus Stop Gallery, Year of the Artist, Dorset and Somerset

2001 - Furniture Awakened, Walford Mill, Wimborne

1995 - Beds, Fisherton Mill Design and Contemporary Craft Emporium, Salisbury

1994 - Living in Style, Dorset Craft Guild, Wimborne, Dorset Curated projects

Artist talks

2011 - Women Work - in Wood, Wonder of making , Metropolitan University, London

Teaching/Workshops 

Teaching and running workshops for both children and adults.

Setting up teaching programmes for adult education.

Work in primary schools: enabling children to experience the use of hand-tools and local woodland materials while working on individual or group projects.

Secondary & higher education: -with more mature students the work includes the concept design stages and development of form, details and finishes through to the creation of 3D projects.

Working with community groups and allowing people to be involved in the planning and design stages to develop facilities distinct to their local needs and environment.

Recent workshop facilitation has been run within the National Health sector and across a wide range of mental and physical ability areas.

Residencies

2009 - Totem Pole carving project on the theme of ‘Us and our environment’ , The project was worked in collaboration with and funded by Real Ideas Organisation., Thorncombe Primary School, Dorset

2002 - Site specific kinetic sculpture, East Dorset Housing Association, Artsreach, Fridays Heron, Cranborne

Public commissions

2013 Green Wood carving project, River Allen, Wimborne. 

Memorial seat, Piddletrenthide Millennium Green, Dorset

Story Poles, Green Road Play Park, Poole

2012 

Plant Metamorphosis, Sculptural seating and fencing. Multi-Faith Labyrinth – all ability project - at Holton Lee. Poole

Forest Furniture. NHS Hospital indoor area.  Client: Art in Hospital, NHS Dorchester.

St James Scallop, Sculptural Feature and seating for St James Square,

Client: Bournemouth Borough Council.

2011 - Reception Area Furniture, NHS Dorset , Maiden Castle Road, Dorchester

Sculptural Seating, Thornhill Bridge Community Gardens, Islington, London

2010 One Hundred Years of Change, Bournehill Offices , Salisbury

2005 - Dialogue, Chickerell Town Council, Chickerell Library

2002 - Cycle track entrance & seat, Sustrans, Bridport Town Council, Bridport, Dorset

2000 - Signposts & Stiles, The Parrett Trail, Dorset & Somerset

1999 - Memorial Garden Seat, Lyme Regis Town Council, Lyme Regis, Dorset  

Seating for Village & Woodland, Help The Aged, Dorset County Council, Thornford, Dorset

1998 - Log & cleft seating, Sherborne Town Council, The Quarr, Sherborne

1997 - Gates & Fencing, The Parrett Trail, South Perrott, Dorset Projects

2008 - Design & Build of Thornford Teen Shelter. Teenagers participating in series of carving workshops., Thornford Village Playing area., Dorset

2005 - The Greenway, Village Voices, Leader+, Drimpton , Dorset

2004 - Product development using straw, rush, reed, Arts & Crafts Project, Artsreach, Dorset 1998 - Playstructures, Community spaces, Evershot and South Perrott, Dorset

Educational experience - tertiary 2005 - Technical tutor , Architectural Association, Hooke Park, Dorset 1997 - Series of workshops in Coppice design and Added value coppice pro, Wessex Coppice Group, South West 1989 - Bench joinery instructor, Cutting & Face Edge Workshops, Bath & Bristol Other 1994 - Coppice product development, Hampshire County Council, Countryside Commission, Hampshire