Karen Christie

Karen Christie

Artist Statement:
Art, for me, is mostly about playing–playing with materials and discovering where they lead. Currently, I play mostly with repurposed materials, fabrics, and linocuts. Inspiration comes from De’VIA artists of the past and today, particularly those who are artivists. Fabric artists I love are Faith Ringgold, Dr. Joan M.E. Gaither, and Adrienne Cruz as well as the collective works and story quilts from cultures around the world.

Fabric Art

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Deafhood Journey: 2016 De’VIA Challenge
Fabric pieces, painted fabric, found objects

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Ties that Bind: From Veditz to Us
Embroidered old ties and fabric on canvas

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The Noble Hunger of Deaf Foremothers
Found fan quilt with lace and printed fabric

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Deaf indigenous mask
Repurposed fabric and objects (Milagros, hamas, earrings etc).

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Tribute to Dr. Andrew Foster: Discovering Africa’s Riches–Deaf People
Wall hanging of African fabrics, printed and painted image

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Tribute to Dr. Andrew J. Foster: Sankofa
Fabric wall hanging with beads

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Learning to Stand
Fabric on Poster Board

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“The Nameless Quilt (for the 12)” (2015)
Fabric knot-tied wall hanging/linocut words
24″ X 34″

“The Nameless Quilt (for the 12)” was created as I was looking at materials during an online De’VIA challenge (via the facebook page: De’VIA Central). This happened just after a filmed interview with Dr. Laura Petitto where she revealed that a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel investigating Cochlear Implant surgeries in the mid 1980s reported that 12 Deaf children had died from complications from this surgery (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gU7a1EH2jo). This tragedy had been covered up for years, and this loss of life significantly impacts a community as small as ours.

One way fabric art that had addressed a tragedy in the past and honored the lives lost was with the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Haunted by the fact that the deaths of these 12 Deaf children have not been acknowledged nor their names known, I began to create this piece from repurposed fabrics, including an old dress and a pillowcase. White dots represent holes they left in our lives, while the fabric’s blue colors reminded me of the Deaf Union Flag—with black and white replacing the Flag’s hopeful yellow. Sewing each of the white blank squares became a meditative tribute to each of the 12 children—and I discovered that art also offers a way to grieve and heal.

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Wiping every tear…
Embroidered handkerchief

Mixed Media Pieces

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The Oral Magic Box of Speech Tricks
Mixed media

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Never Forget: John T Williams
Printed fabric on wood with lithograph image

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Mask of Audism
Painted mask with paper and hearing aid batteries

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Twisted Yarns
Yarn/wire

Paintings

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As it was in the beginning
Painted fabric

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Climbing out of the Black Hole, Flying into Colors
Painted fabric

Poetry

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