As part of Scandinavia week, today I'm interviewing Karen Marie Dehn, an embroiderer from Denmark. Her work is full of flowers, quirky birds and lovely colours. Her blog is well worth visiting if you like stitching with a splash of neon colours! The blog is in Danish, but the photos don't need any translation! Karen Marie also has a shop where you can buy embroidery kits.
Thank you for talking with me, Karen Marie!
When and how did you start embroidering?
I started embroidering when I was very young. I was really inspired by Lis Paludan who wrote a lot of books about crafts in the 1970s and 80s. Later on embroidery was my main subject when studying to become a crafts teacher. In my world embroidery has had a renaissance in the last few years, where I've started embroidering a lot for myself and teaching workshops. To me embroidery is a bit like drawing with needle and thread and a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the creative process.
How do you store your embroidery thread stash?
I'd love to give a really clever answer, but unfortunately I'm a bit of a mess with my embroidery thread; it's all one big mess in different boxes.
The colours you use seem very “of the moment” - what inspires your colour choices?
The way I work with colour is very intuitive, both in embroidery and when I draw and paint. I'm inspired by everything around me. Interesting colour combinations in decor, painting, beautiful flowers etc. So yes, my colour choices probably are very current.
Tell us a bit about the motifs you stitch? What inspires you?
I've embroidered many flowers, the leaves and petals are a great opportunity to play with texture and colour. Lately, my embroideries have mostly included birds; there's something poetic and quirky about birds which really appeal to me when looking for motifs.
Do you see any recurring motifs in contemporary Danish/Scandinavian embroidery?
Recently I've been seeing a lot of embroideries where the delicateness of embroidery is combined with contemporary slang of the more forceful kind, so the message has a whole new edge. And the traditional expressions gets updated in a fun way.
Any other Danish/Scandinavian embroiderers we should know about?
If you're not already familiar with Lisa Grue, you should definitely stop by her website. She's put together some really fun embroidery kits.
All photos by Karen Marie Dehn.