“Schulz brings an amazing sense of spontaneity to form and line, achieving in pieced shapes and sewn marks the effortless stroke of a painter’s brush.” Art Martin, Quilt National 2017 catalogue. Art is associate curator/collections manager at the Muskegon Museum of Art.
The fiber compositions of Karen Schulz have been described as sophisticated, elegant, and lively with a notable attention to detail and craftsmanship. Her work references a careful consideration of line, shape, color and texture resulting in images which seem to issue an invitation to enter and linger. Schulz’s work has been accepted into many national and international competitions, and has been exhibited widely in both solo and group exhibitions both in the United States and abroad. She has garnered many awards including most recently a Juror’s Choice award at Quilt National 2017, Best in Show at Quilt National 2015, Best in Fiber at the Creative Crafts Council Exhibition 2015 and Best in Show at the Quilts=Art=Quilts 2018 Exhibition.
Born, raised and educated in the Northeast US, Schulz has resided in the DC area for the last 44 years. While she has used a sewing machine since the age of 9 and created original, one of a kind quilts for the last 40 years, she came to artistic expression later in life and has pursued her art seriously and full time for the last 12 years studying with many notable artists in the field.
In the last three years Schulz has begun to explore acrylic and mixed media on paper. These efforts grew out of a frustration with the limits of working with cloth and a sewing machine to make marks. Each media influences the other as she works back and forth, sometimes merging the two worlds.
My work is first and foremost a careful consideration of formal design elements. I am drawn to the tension created by the simultaneous holding of opposites. Circles and squares, stasis and movement, light and dark, the flat plane and three dimensional space, and most recently the hand drawn line and the sewn seam line; each is needed to highlight the other. It is through a disciplined use of design elements that I find joy in creating compositions that take the breath away, riveting the viewer to a point of perception where time and place fade away. My effort is to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. *a note on form and content: While the major impetus for my work grows out of the formalist tradition, I recognize there can be no form without content, no content without form. Typically for me content seems to arise out of form.