“Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.”
–Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732

Fiber artist Karen Paust, joins the First Friday Craft Market from Dover, PA where she lives and creates exceptional wearable and decorative art.  Soft natural fibers are skillfully crocheted, knitted, beaded, and dyed by the artist to fashion highly detailed scarves, rings, bracelets, and earrings.  Paust also creates a selection of fine water colored notepapers and knitting needles from recycled chopsticks and bamboo skewers.  Whimsical interpretations of the garden and other natural forms, she infuses her unique language of texture, color, and form into her work.  Paust credits “the beauty of nature and also dreams and experiences,” for her infinite resource of inspiration.  A sensitivity to her surroundings and infatuation for process is evident.

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”
–Claude Monet

Paust has been creating for as long as she can remember.  Her background in chemistry enables her to create and mix the dies she uses on her fibers.  Each of her pieces is one-of-a-kind, and no patterns are used in her designs.  She invests numerous hours into her more complex pieces ensuring they achieve the right qualities.  Paust reveals that she enjoys the process thoroughly, “I love learning and inventing new techniques.”  Where a painter expertly places pigments on a canvas to convey ideas, Paust depicts imagery by deftly handling fibers infused with vivid colors.  Plump berries adorned with glass seeds, delicate and dramatic flowers, and ruffled leaves that lay in rich clusters; Paust revels in the challenge of designing and constructing new and different items while working by the mantra, “fearless knitting.”

Wild mushroom hunting and canoeing are favorite pastimes when Paust is not immersed in her latest project.  When asked about the appeal of handmade craft, she says, “there is nothing as beautiful as a handmade object (except for nature).  It enriches my life to use handmade dishes, furniture, clothes and jewelry.”  In fact, the day-to-day dishes she uses at her home were the result of a pottery class she took with her husband.

When Paust speaks about inspiration and creative process, she does so with wonder and enthusiasm, allowing the viewer to have a momentary glimpse into her limitless passion and creativity. Meet Karen Paust and view her work in-person during the September 3rd First Friday Craft Market, 2-8 p.m., at State & Broad Streets, in downtown Historic Kennett Square.

Karen Paust’s work is also available at the October 1st First Friday Craft Market, Julie: Artisans’ Gallery (NYC), the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles (San Jose, CA), and via the artist’s website.

The First Friday Craft Market, in association with the Kennett Square Farmers Market and First Friday Art Stroll, is a juried outdoor “makers” marketplace dedicated to enhancing the public’s awareness of functional and wearable handmade craft while providing a venue for emerging and established artists to share their creative endeavors during this unique shopping experience.