About Karen Baker

I am here to uncover those stories and techniques of the craft of weaving from African Americans both enslaved and free before the Great Migration.

Ethnographic Fiber Artist and Researcher

Karen has been weaving and knitting for eight years. She focuses on using natural and organic fibers and materials to design ethnically handcrafted accessories and rugs. Karen is researching the patterns, dyeing and weaving techniques and process of enslaved African American weavers before the Great Migration to fiber and textile design. From the research she integrates their techniques into her artwork. Karen is currently completing a documentary on the history and narratives of African American weavers before the Great Migration.

Karen is a 4x grantee of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Artist Fellowship for her fiber artwork. Baker is a current part of the inaugural cohort for the MFA in Social Practice at Corcoran School of Art and Design, and alumni of the 2020-2021 Vogue Knitting Launchpad Business Incubator Program. As a member of Surface Design Association, she serves on the Marketing and Equity, Access, and Integration Committees; and is a member of the National Museum of Women In the Arts; American Craft Council; Costume Society of America, and Nest Co-Op.

AWARDS

  • 2021 GWU Research Showcase for Cultural Studies Winner
  • 2021 GWU Research Special Prize for Diversity Equity and Community Engagement Winner
  • 2021 Diverse City Fund Grant
  • 2018 DCCAH Curatorial Practice Grant
  • 2014, 2018 and 2019 DCCAH Artist Fellowship
  • 2013 DCCAH Community Art Grant

Experience: Weave. Knit. Design.

EDUCATION

Corcoran School for the Arts and Design @ GWU: Master in Fine Arts Candidate, Social Practice

Textile Design and History 1 and 2 – October 2020 – April 2021

Vogue Magazine Knitting Launchpad Program – December 7, 2020 – March 8, 2021

The Knitting Build Association | Master Handknitting Level 1 | May 2017 – June 2019

FIBER ART EXHIBITION AND TALKS

Holding Space: Bridging Fiber Art & Racial Identity | October 9, 2020

Moderator: Surface Design Association in partnership with the National Museum of Women in the Arts and Textile Arts | Los Angeles on Friday, October 9, 2020. Holding Space: Bridging Fiber Art & Racial Identity was an online discussion and Q&A with panelists include Suchitra Mattai, Shenequa Brooks and Fabiola Jean-Louis, and moderated by Karen Baker, who use textiles and fiber to construct and explore ideas around racial identity.

Common Threads Exhibition

Touchstone Gallery | July 5-28, 2019 | Work presented rug entitled Child’s Pose

Common Threads is a 3rd annual exhibition created by New Community ArtSpace and will be on display at Touchstone Gallery for the month of July.  This year’s theme is rugs.  The rugs in this exhibit symbolize the roots of our values and how they begin to develop.  “Rug like” works on display made of various medium and will be displayed along with stories that come from memory and/or imagination.

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