Monday, April 20, 2009

NATURE GIRL VANITY (my gallery statement)

An Installation by Karen Stahlecker a.k.a. WillOaks Studio

So imagine you’re a die-hard nature lover—were raised as one, and have always have been one. And imagine, to date, you’ve committed well over half of your life to making a lot of artworks via hand papermaking. But then imagine that something changes in your heart, head, soul and life, and you decide it’s time to try a new approach to making your art, and a whole new medium. Now imagine, if you will, trying to figure out how to “reconnect” these two very different threads….

Well, in a nutshell, this scenario describes the past few years for me as I slowly transitioned from my “earlier” work to my “newer” work and with just a bit of perspective, I came to see that the common theme, or at least a common thread, speaking thematically, was a reverence for and a celebration of the natural world. This perspective was pervasive in all my paper installations and sculptures as well as my approach to the very medium of hand papermaking. The smaller wall piece I’ve chosen to use in this installation is quite typical of that whole body of work.
And so it is that aspects of nature continue to inspire and inform my current wearable artworks. I should mention I grew up around this area in a quite rural setting, have lived and traveled to a lot of different places both in the U.S. and abroad, and am now back “on the family farm” in the Woodstock area. Along the way, I’ve exhibited my paper sculpture extensively, I’ve picked up a Master Gardener certification, have renovated a city park in Iowa, and am currently running our seasonal family campground-WillOaks Campground-in Woodstock.

In my newest work, I strive for the best craftsmanship I can achieve and the best, and most interesting materials I can find to make affordable pieces that range from simple, clean and elegant to a little more daring and “off the wall.” I personally love to wear jewelry and as I’m inventing new pieces….I test every piece to make sure I would wear it. My work is primarily available on the web in my Etsy shop at and at this time, is not available through retail outlets in McHenry County or Illinois.

Thanks for looking around. Feel free to ask me questions, especially via email, and since the work I chose to use here, in “Nature Girl Vanity,” is but a fraction of the work I’ve got available online—do have a look at my little shop when you’re looking for wearable art that is artisan designed and made, and just a little bit different than what you may be used to seeing and wearing.

Karen Stahlecker
aka WillOaks Studio

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