Karen Searle - Bio

Karen Searle has enjoyed a rich
and varied career in the fiber arts.
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As an artist, Karen creates sculptures and objects in fiber and mixed media, using the tools and techniques of domestic textile-making, or 'women's work’.  Her  art has been exhibited in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Korea.  She has been a resident artist at New York Mills Cultural Center, New York Mills, MN, Mendocino Art Center, Mendocino, CA, and  Canberra School of Art Fibers Department, Canberra, Australia. She has curated art exhibitions and served on international jury panels for Korean textile design competitions. She received her MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1999.


As a teacher and mentor, Karen has taught fiber arts classes and workshops at St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN and  outsate workshops through Hamline University, St. Paul, MN  in addition to classes and workshops at the Textile Center of Minnesota, the Weavers Guild of Minnesota and other local venues. She has presented  lectures and workshops to guilds and  textile arts conferences since 1976. She also served as a  mentor to emerging artists through the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota. 

As an author and publisher, Karen was co-founder and later sole owner of Dos Tejedoras Fiber Arts Publications, a book-publisher and distributor focusing on cultural traditions in textile arts. The press published 22 works by 18 authors, distributed titles published abroad, and received 12 Small Press Awards for publication design and excellence during its 20-year existence. Karen also co-founded Araña Press, publisher of The Weaver’s Journal during the 1980s, developing it into an award-winning international quarterly. She has edited newsletters for the Weavers Guild of Minnesota and the Textile Society of America, and has written over 120 articles, artist profiles, and exhibition reviews for publications in the US and abroad.

As a lover of ethnic textiles, Karen has traveled to study textiles in Central America, Europe and Asia. Her interest in Latin American textiles led  to cataloguing and mounting preColumbian textiles for the Science Museum of Minnesota. A 1980ic collecting trip for the Museum to Guatemala and Mexico inspired her to organize annual textile tours to Guatemala from 1993-2017 with Art Workshops in Guatemala.. She also organized a Textile Study Tour to Korea in 2014 in conjunction with the Korea Bojagi Forum.

As a consultant and advisor, Karen served on the boards of arts organizations including the Textile Society of America, Handweavers Guild of America,  Weave A Real Peace, Textile Center of Minnesota, Weavers Guild of Minnesota, Textile Curatorial Council of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota. She is a business consultant to Beyond & Above Publications.

Books by Karen Searle 

Knitting Art: 150 Innovative Works from 18 Contemporary Artists, Voyageur Press 2008 (available as an e-book)

Latin American Brocades Dos Tejedoras 1976 with Suzanne Baizerman

Finishes in the Ethnic Tradition Dos Tejedoras 1980 with Suzanne Baizerman (recently reprinted by Glimakra)


Spun Gold Award for lifetime contribution to the Textile Arts, Textile Center of Minnesota, 2008.

Juror's Awards at art exhibitions, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2016.

Minnesota Women in Communications Publication Excellence Award, 1988.

Follow this link to read an interview with Karen about her artwork: 

Karen Searle

Modern Art & Design