Visiting Karen K.

Today’s blog post is in English as a thank you to Lili Chou who has been so kind to let me share with you some photos of her visit to Karen Kjærsgaard’s house back in 2011. Karen passed away in 2014, sadly, but we still have all of her beautiful art work.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post Karen made designs for many paper products for the American company Caspari Inc for many years. Some of these products are still available to buy. Even here in Denmark you can purchase them through various webshops. For example www.paperdeluxe.dk or directly from Caspari’s international online shop.

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Lili and Karen discussing Karen’s art work. Photo belongs to Lilli Chou.

Lili who works for Caspari Inc has send me the following letter about her work with Karen and the visit i 2011:

“I have worked with Karen and her designs for more than 15 years. We used her botanical work along with many xmas art in our collections. (wrapping papers, paper napkins, paper plates, boxed notes, invitations, thank you card, boxed note cards, bridge sets, xmas cards and recently lacquered trays). Her flowers are beautiful and with accurate details, her birds are vivid and they come to life….even though her model-bird is without the head ! (you can see we were laughing in one of the picture when she held up that model bird. She is a wonderful artist and I was very lucky to had the chance to work with her and finally meet her in 2011.

Karen was very friendly and was a great pleasure to work with.  I think she put a lot of time and thoughts into creating her work and thus finished with such incredible details. Although I did not see her in action, I heard she used tiny brushes painting details. I also heard she painted looking at real flowers instead of photos of flowers. (no wonder she gets all the details). Before I went to see her, I imagined her garden would be full of flowers but I was surprised that it was not … (may be due to timing of the visit.) Since she was productive all year round she must have had an incredible ability to “see” images in her mind-eyes..”

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Karen showing her unusual model bird! Photo belongs to Lilli Chou.

You can see more photos from the visit to Karen K. in Lili’s flickr album which you find here. Please enjoy some wonderful photos that allow you to look into Karen K.’s work studio and that seem to reveal a visit to a home with a very good atmosphere.

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One of Karen K.’s christmas card for Familiejournalen 1984, depicting a brambling.

Karen who lived most of her life in the country side was always inspired by nature around her in her art work. Her Danish plants and birds many of which she probably observed in her own garden “translates” well for a Northern American audience it seems to judge by her many design for Caspari.

Even though Karen’s model bird, a brambling, was missing its head, Karen was still able to create a very lifelike representation of a brambling (Danish: kvækerfinke).

The brambling is a winter guest in Denmark. It breeds in Northern Scandinavian, Russia and Siberia during the summer, but many of the Scandinavian birds spend the winter in Denmark feeding on beech nuts.

 

 

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My own out of stock paper plates from the Winter Birds collection that Karen Fjord Kjærsgaard made for Caspari.

When Karen passed away in 2014 Caspari had the following memorial note in their catalogue.

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Caspari’s note on Karen’s passing. Quote from Isak Dinesen’s “Winter’s Tale”, 1942 (Karen Blixen: Vintereventyr). Photo belongs to Lili Chou.

I like to think about the fact that Karen Kjærsgaard’s designs, created in her countryside home in Denmark are also popular thousands of kilometres away in the US.

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