My current work explores paper, occasionally combined with metal, in both two and three dimensions. After twenty-five years as a metalsmith, the design challenge is still bringing order to chaos and using geometric rigidity to rein in unruly patterns. In contrast to metal fabrication, paper can be held in my hands throughout the creative process, which makes it a more tactile, though fragile material. After years of working in a silver-black palette, I’m energized by these infinite combinations of color and pattern. I’ve stitched abstract collages and collars, woven small works for the wall, and constructed jewelry that combines silver structures with hand-stitched, hollow forms.
Many of my wearable pieces begin with paper that I’ve painted using paste and pigment. My collage work combines the same hand-made paste paper with Japanese chiyogami and bits from my collection of ephemera, and all my pieces are hand-stitched using embroidery thread. The construction challenge from this self-imposed prohibition against glue is balanced by the zen-like rigor of piercing and stitching and rethreading my needle.
This comfortably obsessive work has multiple layers: exploring themes of traditional women’s work, nurturing, motherhood, and a growing need to mend our broken world. My thousands of tiny embroidery stitches connect paper to paper, tree to tree, past to present, and present to future. Beauty is created from scraps, and meaning comes from the repetitive, patient infusion of time and effort.
Combining architectural forms and floral motifs with geometry, pattern, and color, Karen Krieger creates jewelry, mirrors, ornaments and art for the wall. Pieces are fabricated using a variety of materials from precious metals to hand-painted papers, in a contemporary yet timeless style. She is known for her clean and distinctive design.
Krieger's formal design education comes from a rich variety of sources: Carnegie Mellon for a pre-college full summer design program, Yale University for art and an architecture, UMass at Amherst for city planning and design, Penland School of Crafts and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts for metals and book arts. She shares a home and studio with her husband (workingbirds.com) and daughter in her hometown of Pittsburgh, just beyond the three rivers. When she isn’t making things, she can found happy be found on a tennis court.