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Karina Martens, is a textile and collage artist who grew up in the Appalachians. Her portfolio is colorful, complex, and psychological. Karina has lived and traveled in Europe, Quebec, and throughout the United States. Her work has been displayed and sold in Texas, New York, Kansas, and Colorado. When not making art Karina is a nanny and web site designer. Her passions are family, travel, and the children she works with.

Artist's Statement

Embroidery is a meditative art for me. I love to sit in a beautiful place and spend several hours stitching. I use the brightly colored racks of embroidery floss found in fabric stores to inspire me. As I stand and look at all the skeins of thread I am drawn to certain colors, which I then use as the starting points for my designs.

Startling transformations, such as dinosaurs into birds, or seeds into trees, intrigues me and I enjoy the process of transforming a plain piece of fabric into artwork. I like the “women’s work” of being a textile artist. The world is full of incredible works of art women have created using textiles as a medium. In my own history my grandmothers saved their scraps of fabric to painstakingly build into quilts. Whenever I transform a skirt with embroidery I feel connected to that part of my heritage that saves and sews.

My latest piece, Memories of Favorite Places, was embroidered over the course of several years. Each panel depicts a favorite place of one of my lifelong women friends. Rural Norway, Northern India, Mexico City, and Montreal are represented rendering yet another transformation: memories into thread.

In the past two years my art shifted to focus on collage more than textiles. These collages also involve an elaborate process that transforms old objects into new art. To make a collage I start with a stack of fashion magazines and outdated newspapers. After tearing out images that appeal to me I start to layer them on canvas covering each layer with paint. Some parts of a collage may have up to ten layers. After the paper and paint collage is complete I scan the piece and spend several more weeks digitally shifting colors and texture in Photoshop. The final digital file is sent to a printer who prints the image on canvas.



1991 - 1993 University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI BA in Women's Studies, 1993

1988 - 1990 Goddard College, Plainfield, VT Majored in writing and textile design.

1985 - 1986 Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, MI Majored in visual arts. Invited to return on full scholarship.

1975 - 1985 Received private tutoring in the visual arts as a child. Emphasis on drawing.


2015-2017 Featured artist at Mars Wine and Kitchen, Portland, OR

2011-2016 Prairie Fire Gallery, Hutchinson, KS

2006 Solo showing at the Neiman Marcus salon, Dallas, TX

2006 Solo showing at Down the Alley, Georgetown, TX

2006 Solo showing at the Upper Crust, Austin, TX

2005 Featured in Artist of the Day, web based competition

2005-2006 Crestone Artisans Gallery, Crestone, CO

2004 Blue Genie Christmas Show, Austin, TX

2003 Blue genie Spring Show, Austin, TX

1998 - 2005 Freelance web and graphics designer with art on the web

1997 Work considered for entry into the collection of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution DC.

1996 - 1997 Works for sale at Legends Gallery, Saratoga Springs, NY

1996 One-woman show, works for sale at Abacrombe Gallery, Sedona, AZ

1995 Exhibition at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship of Topeka

1994 Works on display at Kohler Arts Gallery, Kohler WI 1988 One woman show in gallery at Goddard College, Plainfield, VT


2007 Two pieces on permanent display with the Austin Public Library System

2006 Series of  six pieces on permanent display at KU-Lawrence KS


2007 Speaker at the State Capitol Building of Texas on embroidery as an artform

2005 DIY Network TV episode "Step it Up" featuring my embroidery techniques

2005 Collage featured as the cover art of the 2005 William and Mary Review, plus work inside the issue

2001-2005 Work on the web at: 1993 Article in the April/May issue of Threads Magazine