Have You Met Karen, Self Proclaimed “Repurposer of Forgotten Books”?

I remember the first time Karen and I went to any kind of “art” retreat. It happened to be a Creating Keepsakes Convention (CKC) in Mesa, Arizona. We had NO idea what we were getting ourselves into! We were such novices and we carried our stuff around in canvas bags, you know, the ones you get at all those business conferences or training classes for work. Karen jokes about how funny we must have looked compared to all the seasoned artists with their specialty bags, designed just for papercrafters (who knew they even made those?)!

Our first Creating Keepsakes Scrapbooking Convention in 2006!

Of course, we overbooked ourselves with back-to-back classes and we were exhausted by the end of the first day. The thing I remember most was the last class of the day. Keep in mind that we moved from room to room as we went from class to class. That means that by the end of the day each room filled with students 5 or 6 times. And apparently this room was host to some sort of Glitter Party before we arrived. I looked at Karen and said, “Oh no! I’m going to have glitter on my butt when we leave!” Karen just smiled – she was in her element!

Our second CKC in 2007 – Karen LOVES the mess!

Karen and I have attended more art retreats together and yes, we now have our own special bags, but they rarely look like anyone else’s. Karen and I love to attend art retreats, or workshops, or classes! We always take away so much more than just an art project! Things like:

  • New friends who love the same things you do
  • That “Art Therapy” Calm (because we were relaxing as we focus on creating something and the rest of the world fades away)
  • Happy “Creative Brains” (because we’re exercising it!)

Karen Webb is a self-taught mixed media artist who has a love of paper and found objects. Working for many years in a high stress, structured environment she found that creating art gave her a needed place of quiet reflection. Her current passion is repurposing vintage “forgotten books” into journals and boxes. Each journal is lovingly handcrafted using vintage books, various papers, inks, ephemera, stamps, paint and found objects.  Many journals include quotes and words typed on her vintage typewriter.  Repurposed, these journals are meant to be used for writing, sketching and personal creating.

Karen’s mixed media art cards are routinely published in “the stampers sampler” – a quarterly Stampington & Company magazine.  She also collaborates with a graphics designer creating 3d art from digital designs and traditional mixed media art supplies.   Her original journals can be found for sale at the Tang Gallery, Bisbee, AZ.  Her philosophy about life is best expressed by the quote – “the cure for boredom is curiosity, there is no cure for curiosity”.

Karen at our third CKC in 2008.

Karen and I have been friends for a LONG time! I love her and I know you will too! So, I asked Karen a few questions to help you get to know her.

1. Q: How did you get started?

A:  I’ve always felt need to create in some shape or form.   I started making cards with paper, stamps, and ink with a friend about 15 years ago.  I was hooked from the beginning.

2. Q: Do have any formal artistic training?

A:  I don’t!    I have an MBA and spent my career working in the business world.  I’m curious to a fault and typically will experiment until I get a result I like.   I’ve learned a lot from workshops, other creatives, art magazines and life experience.

3. Q: Describe your artist style.

A:  This is not an easy question for me and I wonder how someone else would describe my style.  If I had to sum it up I’d have to say I’m somewhat vintage, I prefer to work “small” and I am very detailed.

4. Q: Where do your creative ideas come from?

A: Everywhere.   Honestly, I can see a discarded, rusty nail and get distracted with a new idea.   My biggest problem is corralling these ideas so I can actually get something done – lol.

5. Q: What are your creative routines or rituals?

A:  I create best alone in my studio space.  Sometimes I have music blaring, sometimes I need silence.  I like starting a new project with a clean area but it doesn’t stay clean for long.  I do my best work when I can carve out a few uninterrupted hours.   If I’m struggling with a project I often walk away and when I come back to it I usually have the way ahead.

6. Q: Describe the inspiration and/or theme behind the Inner Princess Journal Workshop?

A:  This journal was inspired by a chance encounter with a non-traditional “fairy princess” in a tropical place, on a beautiful tropical night.  I was reminded on that evening that it takes courage to love who we are and to value our imperfections.  My desire was to create a workshop that would give the students a place and a time to create a special, personal journal for themselves.  As with all of my workshops I also wanted the workshop to be fun and a safe place to get your creative on.

7. Q: What is your fav technique you use in making your journals?

A:  Right now, I’m loving incorporating pages that I make with my Gelli Arts plate and acrylic paint.  I love the results and the ability to get the colors I want for a specific journal.

8. Q: What technique have you found the most challenging?

A:  This is the easiest question – simplification.  I have a hard time with keeping things simple but I’m working on it.

9. Q: What is the simplest technique with the biggest impact?

A:  Please see question #8.

10. Q: What do you love most about making vintage journals?

A:  I love old, forgotten books and I love journals.  As I start creating a new journal I find myself wondering where the book has traveled, whose hands have held it and how it ended up in the place where I found it.  It is a gift knowing that these books will have a new “keeper”.   For me it’s all about the next set of hands that will take the journal on new adventure and give it a new purpose.

11. Q: If you had a super power, what would it be?

A:  If you ask me this question on another day, I might have a different answer but today, I’d be happy with being able to help the people I interact with see something about themselves as beautiful.  Not perfect, not complete, but perfectly imperfect.  And perhaps I already have that power and perhaps you do too!

Are you ready for some Art Therapy? Karen’s workshop will provide that and more!

Karen and I are looking forward to seeing you at her “Finding Your Inner Princess” workshop! Get WORKSHOP DETAILS HERE and save your space for this fun workshop? SIGN UP NOW.

In case you missed it; check out THIS POST to see more journal pics!

Til next time, Be You and Be Happy!

2 thoughts on “Have You Met Karen, Self Proclaimed “Repurposer of Forgotten Books”?”

  1. Loved reading this post about Karen and you too Brenda! Aren’t those crafty retreats just the greatest? So much inspiration and new ideas to put to use in our creations. And I can also vouch for Karen’s journals, they are beautiful, creative works of art created with love and care.

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