The history of books is the evolution of thoughts through changing forms. Humans have been creating books ever since they drew on the walls of caves. Book forms through the ages have included clay tablets, inscribed walls, scrolls, fans, sewn pages between hard and soft covers, books on tape and digital books to name a few.
My books incorporate classic bookbinding techniques, but these techniques have been redefined. Traditional materials have been used for most part, usually bound with waxed cord resulting in a hand sewn, exposed binding. However, some books can be reconfigured to change their form. Many of them move and can become circular. Additionally, the lack of text is intentional in order to communicate the concept of the book as sculpture.
Ultimately, however, I believe that my relationship with Book Arts and the making of books is the result of my life long love of paper.
Paper Collage can be created with precise shapes or just torn paper. The beauty of it is that patterns, textures and an array of colors can be experimented with just by placing pieces of paper in place before actually committing to the end result. Embellishments might include paint, graphite, or other materials to create interest and texture.
The artistry of adding textured and printed papers to painting expands the field of creativity for Karen Julihn who once worked in advertising creating mailers, pamphlets and newspaper ads. “Those old school days of offset printing have changed because of computer based technology,” she says, “but my creative roots started with graphic art and type on paper.” Karen remembers her early days working as a layout artist for the Syracuse University paper, “The Daily Orange.” The printing plant where the paper was printed even had an old linotype press that was once in use there.
Karen joined the Fredericksburg Center for the Creative Arts in 2009. “FCCA has been a wonderful source of inspiration for me,” she says. “I am always impressed by the variety and quality of art on display.” Karen has been an exhibiting artist with FCCA for years and has taught several painting classes, as well.
Her pursuit of art has taken her to Germanna, VCU and Art of the Carolinas in Raleigh, North Carolina. “I don’t seem to have a signature style because every time I try a new medium or technique, I seem to run with it for a while,” she says. Karen also enjoys painting in watercolor, acrylic and oil. She earned a Masters Degree in Education from George Mason University and taught elementary school for several years before taking up her brushes, scissors and paint more seriously.
“Although I’ve transplanted myself in Fredericksburg, the art community here provides me with a home where I feel like I belong,” Karen says. She lives in Stafford with her husband, Larry, not far from her family in Northern Virginia. A member of Art First Gallery, Karen also exhibits in Richmond and Colonial Beach.
My current work centers on generational and familial relationships. I work with themes of connectedness, family hierarchy, loss, and family baggage and history. We all have it. It is what shapes me as a maker. I use traditional and historical stitchery, embroidery, quilting and needlework. My stitching art mixes traditional handwork and contemporary imagery and ideas. I use the personal iconography of dresses, aprons, and other mundane items of clothing to create a personal narrative of cloth, paint and thread. Layers, both in media and meaning are important to me. Using cast off and recycled material, I use traditional hand work and stitching to express themes of family and family roles.