Wednesday, January 6, 2010

all about me: Karen

My name is Karen Bates and I live in Ashland, Oregon. I am originally from Los Angeles but I have been an Oregonian for almost 20 years now. I have four children - two boys and two girls and I began quilting when I was pregnant with my oldest who is now 27. That is how I keep track of my years following this passion. I have always loved fiber and the colors of the fabrics kept me coming back for more.
I actually began the journey in High School when I embroidered on the back of work shirts. From there I progressed to hand appliquing a chupah - a canopy for a Jewish wedding that was the size of a quilt. I figured that if I could finish that piece (which took about 200 hours), then certainly I could create a quilt. My first class was with Mary Ellen Hopkins and I was hooked. I made baby quilts for every friend who was pregnant...and now their kids are having kids...but I am on to art quilting so I am not volunteering to make any more baby quilts.
I work at our local quilt store (Quiltz) both selling fabric and teaching classes. I love teaching and I love taking classes so I am always trying new products and techniques. I have a blog where I try to post a new project every Sunday ( I have been doing this for the last two years so you can see a lot of my work there. I also have an art challenge group and when we hang a show, I post pictures of everybody's quilts.
The first picture is a view of one part of my studio. You can see the Phoenix Rising quilt which I created for my 50th birthday. My cutting table was built by a friend and it has wings on both ends so that I can pin large quilts.
This picture is my fabric wall-don't forget it is a 28 year collection and my best friend, Rascal. He is a Labradoodle who follows me everywhere. I have two design walls across from each other.
You can see the cutting table better and some of my many storage boxes. I am an avid garage saler and I stock up on storage drawers and goodies to fill them with all summer long. My sewing machine is in the back corner beyond the cutting table. I moved into this house 5 years ago and I designed it with the builder. The only thing I really cared about was my dream studio...and it is.
My biggest accomplishment was my goal of entering at least 10 shows last year. I had two quilts in Sacred Threads, one at a museum in Ohio and one is part of the SAQA Transformations show. I have others touring the country with Anne's California Fiber group and I just took down a one woman show that I did locally at a restaurant. I love having my quilts on display and I am always happy when one sells. In the meantime, I make patterns which you can see on my website at and there is a gallery of older quilts there too.
This year my mantra is Focus. I need to develop a series and really decide what my style is. I love free machine quilting and getting dimension whether it is with yarns, beads, soy silk or other materials. I am excited about being part of this group and I have completed the first quilt...of course I had a mental head start since it was my word. I have never made a quilt this size before and I found the dimensions a real challenge for me.
Rascal and I take a long walk in the mountains almost every day and that is my sanctuary so my quilt definitely revolves around nature. Can't wait to share it and see yours.
I am happy to answer questions and I look forward to reading about the other members of this group.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karen, I am a member of the Twelve by Twelve group and have been watching your similar group develope and just discovered that I know you! At least I remember you from when I lived in Ashland and owned a quilt shop there 17+ years ago. Great to see what you are up to! Say "hello" to Elaine Turcke.