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Video produced by Ehren McPhee for The Art! Vancouver Exhibition, Vancouver Convention Centre, 2015


July 12, 2015

Meet the many artists of The Craig Yeats Gallery located in Dundarave, West Vancouver, British Columbia.  Video


November 22

For the past ten years hundreds of thousands of B.C. early birds have been tuning into North by Northwest starting just after 6 a.m. to hear what host Sheryl MacKay has brought together to entertain and inform them. Her warm personality brings out the best stories about people and their passions for life and the arts.


Sheryl visited my studio at Parker Street to find out more about the process as I prepare for the Annual Eastside Culture Crawl.


A studio visit with Patti Houston.  Patti Houston, Owner and Creative Director Of Fluff Designs and her passionate team can help you with all of your design needs from furniture rentals, staging and styling.  They also consist of the latest styles of furniture and accessories for sale.  Their showroom is located at: 1121 William Street, Vancouver or visit their website at


Artist Feature, June 4th, 2013

It was a typical rainy Vancouver morning when we met artist Karen Bagayawa at her studio at 1000 Parker Street. We were greeted with enthusiasm that quickly warded off any signs of our city’s not-so-sunny weather. At the time we met her, she had just sent off most of her works to a local exhibit. But it only took a glance to get a good sense of her inspirations and the type of art that she does.

Inside her studio at the far end next to the window, a set of carefully displayed objects taken from nature sat row on row. There were leaves, branches, and even an architecturally interesting interior of cacti; in front of the museum-like display stood a loom that she works on for most of her pieces. We asked her about the artifacts and she excitedly brought out a rock collection that included everything from jagged minerals to smooth, opalescent egg-like rocks.

Fortunately, a few pieces of art work still remained in the studio. We had the chance to experience her art in person, and it didn’t take much to draw us into it. Karen’s love for texture, colour, and fabric started when she was a child. She used to be mesmerized by her mother’s sewing, and loved touching the fabrics her mother used. Cracked formations in perfectly imperfect geometry are Karen’s signature style; the first thing you want to do is reach out and touch it. The uneven surface shows there’s a definite tactile component to her art. Like her nature-inspired palette, there is something very organic in her works. In recent years, she’s used more neutral colour palettes, and the cracked surfaces resemble rock formations, lizard scales, honeycombs, and anything else that comes to the imagination.

The core of her art centres on an elaborate process, requiring many steps. One of the first involves weaving grid-like patterns through her loom, and the wider the spacing, the wider the cracks become. She also noted that her fabric of choice is linen, a more fibrous material that absorbs pigment. The beautiful hazelnut brown weave we saw was reminiscent of a loosely woven summer sweater. A following step involves a material atypical to an artist’s supplies: grout. Karen applies layers of the building material onto the woven grid. When dried, she takes the pieces and cracks it, and to get the exact look she’s after, she deliberately chisels off pieces. These are just some steps of her highly ritualistic process, each of which brings an emotional experience to her.

Feeling strong emotions is exactly what she wants her viewer to walk away. “If the viewer can walk away with an emotional experience that makes me happy in what I do,” said Karen. She knew from the start that she wanted to focus on colour and texture in her practice, as opposed to many of her classmates who worked with political messages. 

As a result, her university professor suggested she work with spices. The professor told her that her goal should allow the viewer to literally “taste” the colour. We really love what she’s done with raw, emotional colours from her earlier works, such as bright blues and fiery reds, to her later nature-inspired colour palettes. It’s apparent that her artwork is about connecting to the viewer, and perhaps connecting them to nature as well.

Karen Bagayawa currently works with a contractor to plan working her art directly on the walls of homes. We look forward to seeing and experiencing a life-sized emotional piece of artwork. Karen’s artwork is represented at the Craig Yeats Studio and Gallery in West Vancouver, and Art Junction Art Gallery & Frame Studio in Whistler, British Columbia.  Be sure to visit her studio at this year’s East Side Culture Crawl to experience Karen’s artwork first hand.



Paintings from Whistler's Lisa Geddes and

Vancouver Artist Karen Bagayawa are on display December 29

Pique News Magazine

December 27th, 2012

Alyssa Noel

Vancouver Artist Karen Bagayawa digs rocks.  Not literally, though she's collected some from around her home in Greater Vancouver, and even a few from here in Whistler.  Selections from that colourful collection are part of the inspiration for her series of 17 unique pieces, made of woven linens and tile grout, on display at Art Junction in Whistler beginning Saturday.

"I started a rock collection in the last three years," Bagayawa explains, "I was inspired by the colours."

More broadly, nature is her muse. "I've done a series in the past based on the changing colours of fall leaves or the textures that I see in nature.  I worked on pieces where I really loved - let's say the shiny textures of slugs compared to a matte finish.  It's inspiration I found when I go hiking or for walks."

Bagayawa has developed her process - and canvas - slowly over the years.  First, she takes natural, unbleached linen, weaves it, then puts the grout on top of it, allowing it to dry.  The effect is abstract, full of texture and wholly unique.

"It deals with a lot of texture and a lot of people really want to touch the pieces", she says.  "I really hope people try and understand that it's about the process, not necessarily about the finished product.  I love textures, so I hope can see what I love."

Whistler artist Lisa Geddes, whose mix media acrylic paintings will make up the other half of the show, also deals in texture.  "Our work, side-by-side, from what I've seen, they (wil) be quite complimentary," Geddes says.


For her pieces, Geddes interpreted the natural beauty that surrounds her.  "They sort of revolve an inner and outer landscape, in that I'm always inspired by the landscape around me, forest or trees.  I've been working on that subject matter on a more symbolic or metaphorical level.  I've been interpreting it expressively."

For example, one piece, with dark, rich colours, of a tree with roots thrust deep into the ground works on two levels: the literal roots and "interior sould life."

"I'm interested in the duality of pure aesthetic appreciation of something and deeper meaning somebody might have,"she says.

Like Bagayawa, her technique has continued to evolove.  Geddes has begun taking photographs and using a photo transfer method to add them to the paintings.  She has also included original drawings, "I am fairly new to that," she says of photo transfer. "What's intriguing about it is it (has) a very strong, representational effect that then contrasts quite beautifully with texture and colour."

See both artists' pieces at Art Junction during an opening reception Dec. 29 between 5p.m and 9p.m.  There will also be live music and refreshments.  For more information, visit


April 24th, 2009

10th Annual Tri-City ArtWalk
The Tri-City News
Craig Hodge/The Tri-City News

Arts Connect executive director Helen Daniels holds the door open as Karen Bagayawa and her husband Steve Shorthouse move in her art work for this weekend's ArtWalk (formerly the studio Tour), taking place at venues throughout Port Moody.  An opening reception is on Friday night at the Old Mill Boathouse at 6:30 p.m., and the ArtWalk runs Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Visit for more information.


Exhibition: Nature: A Sensory Experience

The Tri-City News

October 5th, 2005

By: Diane Strandberg

Somewhere between the forest and the river, a lone artist walks.  She kneels to look at some delicate woodland flower or a lacy mushroom hidden beneath the skirt of a leavy fern.  Fat slugs sit meditatively in the middle of her path.  She examines their wet, shiny excretions, like silver filigree.

A year later, Karen Bagayawa recreates this nature scene within the four walls of Blackberry Gallery at Port Moody Arts Centre.

It's a grand vision that comes up only slightly short, given that the walls are white, and the room is warm and a little confining.  But, as one steps across a path of river rock into a room full of scented bark mulch, it is still possible to see Bagayawa's creative interpretation of the cycle of birth, life, decay and re-growth.

The installation fills the entire room.  A path of river rock weaves around mounds of bark mulch, on which sit small baskets of woven linen and crushed clay.  They're filled with bits and pieces of leaves, flowers, sticks, things a child might pick up during a walk.

Some of the tinier baskets are elongated and wrapped in thread.  They look like cocoons and you have to look close to see what they contain.  There are also small, colourful leaves stiched from embroidery thread.

"The idea was supposed to be that people would get down and look at them," said Bagayawa.  She even wants people to touch them.

It's easy to imagine Bagayawa down on her knees peeking at life at bug level.  After all, she's a mom, with a four month old and a five- year old.  Bagayawa got the idea for the installation when she was living near Grouse Mountain.  She saw such an abundance of life and she wanted to find ways to bring people closer to it through her art.

A student of the Japanese art of flower arranging and Capilano's College's advanced textile program, Bagayawa has combined these arts in "Nature: A Sensory Experience."

In addition to her sculpture work, the fine arts graduate from Queen's University also paints and has an exhibit this month at the Jacana Gallery in Vancouver.

Bagayawa said she had to squeeze her art between giving birth to her son, moving to Coquitlam, and being mother to her five - year old daughter.

The Port Moody gallery project was a year in the making, and started with sketches and proceeded to full sculptures, made from chicken wire, with tile grout, woven materials, enamel paints and fabrics.  The result is an imaginative recreation of the river at a forest's edge.

Nature: A Sensory Experience is at the Blackberry Gallery to Oct. 23.  The gallery is located in the Port Moody Arts Centre, 2425 St. Johns.  Bagayawa is also teaching a weaving course for children, which uses non-traditional tactile materials.



Painting The Colours and

Texture of Daily Life

Exhibition: "wee"

Translated article, Morioka Times

April 22nd, 2003

"wee", an exhibition by four female artist who were classmates at Canada's Queen's University's Art Department is on until the 26th of this month at Saien, Morioka's Gallery La Vie.  Small in size each artist's work are rich in individuality.

The show was organized by Morioka resident Karen Bagayawa, who is displaying a 12 part series, "Contemplating A Multi-coloured Grid."  She expresses the colours and textures which influence her daily life from things such as kimonos or the glazes on ceramic bowls displayed in shop windows.

Her work utilizes materials such as fabric and tablecloths with a textured surface and grid pattern.  "I came to Morioka in 1998 and became strongly influenced by Japanese culture - I am moved by the colours and texture of the materials.  I became interested in the colours of not only kimonos and ceramic tea bowls, but also the roof tiles and other colours which I caught sight of coincidentally.  Western colours are quite vivid but I find Japanese colours to be subtle and neutral.  I performed a level of patterning on a grid.  To me, the grid represents the hustle and bustle of daily life.  The theme of the work is contemplation.  In the future, I would like to explore colour utilizing natural dyes."

Allison Lewis who is visiting Japan, lives in Toronto.  Her series, "Mixed Media on Wood," consists of 20 red and 20 blue works.  Her materials are primarily acrylic and oil paint on wood but include glaze, paper, wax and more.  By cutting and gauging with a knife and drill to create lines and gullies, and wiping away layers, Ms. Lewis has made a semi-three dimensional surface which expresses the deepness held by a surface changing with time and human action.


She explains, "Though I use a variety of materials, these are basically two dimensional pieces.  However, I have an interest in sculpture as well and am attempting to add three dimensional elements to my work - to overlap the domain of two and three dimensions.  The works are experimental but I want to be particular about the surface.  I place importance on colour and shape," she added.

Elaine Chen and Paula Coop are also Toronto residents.  Ms. Chen's "Desk Stretches,"(12 pieces) humoursly expresses stretches used to loosen up the body during break time from work.  These works are acrylic on fabric.  In Ms. Coop's "City Stories," (9 pieces) she paints with a certain kind of light seen from the eyes of a young woman that touches the city of Toronto.  These pieces are mainly acrylic and pencil with photographs of women and children pasted in places.


Exhibition: "SURFACE"

Translated article, Iwate Nippo

February 2002

An exhibition entitled "SURFACE", featuring ten abstract panels by Canadian artist and Morioka resident, Ms. Karen Bagayawa, opened on February 9 at Gallery La Vie (Saien 2-Chome, Morioka).

After graduating in 1998 with a degree in fine art from Queen's University, Ms. Bagayawa came to Japan, where she has produced works utilizing a combination of printing and painting techniques to create panels with a unique texture.  "I was attracted to Japan by what I heard from a professor at University.  Morioka has an atmosphere similar to the city of Cambridge, which I like alot," says Ms. Bagayawa.

"SURFACE" also contains the meaning, 'to come to the surface or out of concealment', and it is with my surfacing as an artist in mind that I chose it as the title of this exhibition," she smiles.


Exhibition: "SURFACE"


Translated article, Iwate Nippo

February 2002


Coincidental Forms Made by Paint

Canadian Artist's Exhibition

Morioka - "SURFACE", an exhibition of mixed media works by Morioka resident and Canadian artist Ms. Karen Bagayawa, opened in Morioka at Saien 2-Chome's Gallery La Vie on February 9.

"Pthalo Turquoise" is a mixed media work incorporating such materials as latex paint, fabric and acrylic paint.  This unique, bumpy surface was made by repeatedly attaching fabric over paint, and then removing it.  Pieces of fabric adhere to the paint: coincidence influences the final form.

Ms. Bagayawa notes, "all of these works emphasize the 'surface'.  This is my first exhibition in Japan, and I'm too happy for words."


Exhibition: "SURFACE"


Translated article, Morioka Times

February 2002

An exhibition of the works of Ms. Karen Bagayawa, an English teacher residing in Nagai, Morioka, is being held at Gallery La Vie (Saien 2-Chome, Morioka) until February 29.  The interplay of texture and colour in works made with such unique materials as fabric (textile and knit), tile, paint, spice, and more is refreshing.

Karen Bagayawa lived in Toronto, Canada before coming to Japan in 1998, since which she has continued her artistic work on the side while teaching English.  This is the first exhibition of her works from 1999 to the present.

"These several years have been a journey not only geographically, but also emotionally and creatively," reflects Ms. Bagayawa in thinking about her "journey to study new materials and new processes of expression."

"100 Studies for A Wall" is made up of smaller works, which form the base of Ms. Bagayawa's work.  After softening the tile surface, materials such as tablecloths were pressed on the tile and then removed.  The aftermath of this process was used as a base for painting and collage.

"I was attracted by the beauty of the fabric patterns," says Ms. Bagayawa.  When the tablecloth is removed, cracks and irregular bumpiness remain, creating a unique textural foundation.

Works using spices like paprika and turmeric in place of paint to create vibrant colours are included in the exhibition, as are ten larger works that are expansions of a new image from this production process.

Ms. Bagayawa says she gains inspiration from the beautiful green of the mountains and parks in the Morioka rea.  "Like Canada, Morioka is filled with green and the rivers and mountains are beautiful.  It's nice that people

are taking it easy in a small city, and are not busy like those in a big metropolis like Tokyo."  For Ms. Bagayawa, who studied painting at university, the number of art galleries is also attractive.

Since her arrival in Japan, Ms. Bagayawa has married, and her daughter Hanna will soon be two years old.  "She still needs a lot of care and keeps me busy," smiles Ms. Bagayawa, who nevertheless is making the effort to learn about Japanese culture and is practicing ikebana and the tea ceremony.

She concludes, "There are a lot of differences between Japan and Canada, but since coming to Japan, I met my husband and had a baby, and am very happy.  I plan to continue my art fom here on, too."

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