Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan: Blog en-us (C) Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan (Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) Fri, 08 Oct 2021 23:33:00 GMT Fri, 08 Oct 2021 23:33:00 GMT Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan: Blog 86 120 The 2022 Amber The Cat Calendar is NOW ready to order! The calendar is here! The 2022 Amber The Cat calendar is here!

( note: some images in this post are for promotion only, they are not in the calendar )

For the third year now, I am celebrating my cat AMBER with another calendar and donating a % of sales to our local humane society where I found her.

Calendars are printed on demand at Applied Digital Imaging

This means I am not paying upfront for calendars and or managing shipping and handling. 

Price is the same. $24.99 - tax included. YAY!

The above price does NOT include shipping. 

LOCALS - pick up is FREE! 

Customers must wear a mask, and curbside pick up can be arranged.

Get this - Local delivery is also an option and FREE!

How great is that!

Let me give you the shipping options/prices:

FREE Local pick up or delivered 24.99

USPS Priority Mail Flat Mailer 24.99 + 10.45 = 35.44

USPS First Class Mail 24.99 + 7.80 = 32.79

USPS Media Mail 24.99 + 6.94 = 31.93 - no tracking, 7+ days transit time

NOT interested in donating to the humane society??? Subtract $5

If you are out of the country. then costs are based on weight and zipcode (for example: shipping to prague is $16.04, no tracking. 2020 pricing)

The calendar is stapled. The folding at the staples is improved. Dark grid lines are present. Moon phases are now included, along with the correct holidays dates. 

( for those who are repeat customers both Ben and I are so sorry about what happened last year. ) 

Calendar includes a 2023 year at a glance page.

20% of ALL sales are donated to Whatcom County Humane Society.

If you are not interested in donating. The calendar cost is $20.00. 

Want one?  THIS is the Process: 

1. TELL ME you want one. 

2. Select your shipping option if not local. Pay for your calendar (pay pal is preferred. Check is ok) Give me your mailing address.

3. When a calendar is ready for pick up or shipped, I will alert you

HUGE thank you to my friend Ricky who helped me get multiple images into one image file for this years calendar.

 and to Ben at Applied Digital Imaging

1803 North State Street

Bellingham, WA 98225

During Phase 2, we are opening the lobby (masks required) and continuing to offer curbside service by request. We offer free Local Pickup and Delivery. A variety of shipping options are also available.

Shop hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday.



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist calendar cat karen hanrahan photographer washington Tue, 28 Sep 2021 21:27:51 GMT
A Watercolor Painting By Elizabeth Gray a cool thing happened that I wanted to be sure to make note of here at my blog.

A self taught Australian water color artist named Elizabeth Gray messaged me after she had done a google search. She found one of my photographs that had been in a group show in Chicago. She respectively asked permission to paint it.

She shared that this painting was quite the challenge for her, even causing her a panic attack along the way. What she ended up painting turned out to be really beautiful!

This story and her other work can be found on Instagram.

Her google search was "upside down crow" inspired by a quote. I love how random her find was. All I can say is keep painting Elizabeth!

the image below is a screen shot of what she painted. I mean wow. right? 





(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan photographer Thu, 23 Sep 2021 22:23:12 GMT
Schacktoberfest 2021 The Schack Art Center in Everett is hosting a FALL-tastic group art show. Two of my bird pieces were juried into this beloved autumn themed event. Other happenings include an art auction and an artist pumpkin patch. You can also blow your own glass pumpkin by appointment!

The show opens 9/23 and runs through Nov 6th. I am absolutely delighted to be included! 

Specific details are here.

8x8 Stitched Collages. 


UPDATE: I took a day trek and visited the Schack Art Center to celebrate my birthday. The drive is an hour each way. It was a gorgeous fluffy white cloud warm autumn day.

My work was in a tall glass case right next to the door when you walk in.

Whenever I attend group shows I always try and select a piece or two, or three that really speak to me.

1. section of an impressive resin piece. Kimberly Leo

2. graphite rendering on bristol.  J. Gordon

3  monoprint with stitching. Maren Oates

4. oil pastel on "worried' paper bag. organic looking. very cool. hung with a magnet

5. a moon surrounded by doodling, just part of it

6. fun mural outside

The collection of glass pumpkins was vast, impressive and so so very colorful. 

I guess this is what the highway looks like late afternoon on a Friday. ugh.



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 22 Sep 2021 20:49:17 GMT
NEW at Brazen Shop and Studio Fall 2021 we have updated two original collages into the 11x14 frames. these are now for sale. 

gosh, i love how they look framed. 

the perspective series is now framed and they look so so very awesome!

other prints and cards and stickers are still available for purchase

karen and allison shared that their super tiny boutique hosts 70 vendors now!

I am delighted and honored to be one of them!

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 08 Sep 2021 16:36:18 GMT
HOPE a virtual group exhibit with Roaring Artist Gallery I am super excited to have had two jurors select my collage for the HOPE exhibit opening September 1 - October 31st, 2021! 

This will be my second showing with Roaring Artist Gallery.

The first show was Connections.

I am loving how this particular gallery is becoming

The virtual model is very unique.

This is a large group exhibit

I made this collage in 1999.

It is an early piece, meaning something I made when I first began to collage.

It's very meaningful

I've always called it HOPE

Be sure to message me if you want to sign up for my Collage with Karen workshops. 

Artist statement: 

Over 20 years ago I learned a creative subconscious collage process that changed my life. I made a collage that gifted me a sense of hope in the most unexpected way. 

I was riding what seemed like an endless wave of good fortune. Into the new year my circumstances collectively were the complete opposite. I felt despair. I wanted my good fortune bubble back. 

I belonged to a creative group who met on Monday mornings. We practiced the creative subconscious mind process and collaged together. On one particular Monday I declared myself a non-participant. I was having a hard time and didn’t feel like making a collage. My mentor thought otherwise. She told me to prompt with the color blue for my very bad “blue” mood. Reluctantly, I pulled images that spoke blue to me and assembled accordingly. This collage brought me to tears. I saw pearls of wisdom and seeds that became flowers. The branch grounded its becoming. Lace represented blossoming or an actual flower. To the side of the flower is the gill of a shark. It suggests an opportunity to breath. This assemblage was my subconscious mind inspiring me. It was telling me that everything will work itself out. It offered me a sense of hope

I thought a lot about the prompt for this call for art. In current times I make many collages and while some might have  fit into the category of hope, this elder collage is where it all began. I kept coming back to it as my piece to submit. A few years after this collage was made I began teaching this process to others. In the 20 + years since, the collage work created utilizing the subconscious mind process continues to offer insight and hope to its creator. 

Dimensions: 11.5 x 16 

Medium: collage




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan Thu, 26 Aug 2021 05:13:45 GMT
Process - Crazy Quilting Style I thought I might share a bit of collage process with you.  The first two are in true what I call crazy quilting style form. I perfected this quilt technique to paper after a year of trial and error. The third collage illustrates one of my recent collage with me classes. speaking of, if you ever want to collage with me. please let me know! I'd love to collage with you! 

This Audubon print was a gift. gosh, I love that folks think of me with these great vintage finds. 

The hardest part was deciding which part of it would make good focal points. note the 5 sided centers. 

I had also been given this huge book of masterpiece paintings. 

which made for an amazing opportunity for a selection of strips.

lately, in an effort to stay organized I have been putting projects in these poly sleeves. 

I ended up with two collages with that bird print. one is a 12 x 12, which is I think the largest size I feel comfortable working in. and an 8x8, which has been my go to size for most of 2021. The strips for both of these includes masterpiece paintings strips, floral strips from the original print and even a moment of ribbon!! Another added layer that I am just loving is a blast of color made with washi tape on the exterior of the center focal. I think it mimics an inner matt or something you would see in formal framing. Lastly, of course is the machine zig zag. I've been using this very delicious heavier weight of thread and a much tinier stitch. you can really see the difference that the stitching makes. 

The second piece I want to share was a "for" someone making. Here you see the beginnings of a 4x6 collage. The center image is 5 sided and is outlined with bright yellow washi tape. strips were cut from a glittery zinnia postcard, and a seed catalog.

I felt inspired by a local farmer here who has become an international star. A documentary about their story filled me with its beauty, sensitivity and hope. I watched it twice, sobbing... twice! I took pages and pages of notes. The gushy fan in me had to share a bit of my heart in return. making this small collage felt like a thank you to them. I sent it, one of my small notecards and a way too long fan letter. The farm sent me an email acknowledging what I had sent, which totally made my day.

To complete a piece I add a heavier card stock to give the collage some weight and I add a border or what they call in quilting terms a binding to the piece to give it a finished look. This binding is made from a backing which is basically a sheet of magazine cut larger than the collage and then folded over with mitered corners. Here it is now bound and stitched

My last share for today was a collage I made during a collage with me session. I am now doing these sessions quarterly. Folks subscribe. I send a prompt through email and my students participate whenever is a best fit for them. Amber of course loves it when I teach!

( I think this photo should be part of the 2022 Amber The Cat Calendar. shhhhh don't tell anyone) 

In a creative subconscious collage session one sets aside 5 minutes and flips through a resource - like a magazine or picture book. The idea is to let the images speak to you as you page through. when the time is up, you then have a pile of images that you are to work from.

You then set the time again for 30 minutes and assemble - often the images will find their own way and speak to you. This definitely happened for me with this collage.

My compulsion to create in this crazy quilting style is real. morphing the bird with the man completely made sense. the bird is a version of myself resisting aging. the man is laughing not at me, but with me, reminding me to lighten up a bit. to not take life so seriously. I then added strips of grey. it felt bleak to me so I added the strips of color, although a blur of color - they too made sense, In the bottom right corner are items on a shelf all in a row. what I need sometimes to feel a sense of order and safety. at the bottom are fluffy clouds. the stuff dreams are made of. Making with a timer encourages you to make and to not fuss. to follow your instincts.

When I teach this process I advocate NOT using words within a creative subconscious mind collage.  I feel words fit well in vision or dream boards or in journals. words fit well in memes or in advertising. For me I want the images to speak. not the words. In my collage journals words do find me. and I set aside a page in the back for all the words. In this particular session the word brains would not leave me alone. so....I gave it space, on the back of my collage 


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 11 Aug 2021 22:46:24 GMT
Christmas In July 2021 I love holiday cards. Do you?  ( perhaps I love holiday mail. actually I love mail anytime ha!! ) I love gifting a holiday greeting to others. When I first moved west I had to give up that gesture. I hated that. I feel like sending holiday cards is a lost tradition. I have always kept about 3 years or so of cards received, and I often separate a special card or two and use them as decor in my home, but I've had to streamline things that I store. So, I decided to cut apart the cards I had, keeping only the prior year with the intent of collaging with them in July. Thus, my Christmas in July project.

Last year I dabbled with this holiday theme a bit.


This piece became my greeting for 2020. I liked that it celebrated winter

This one I used as an image file to have cards printed as thank you notes. 

These crazy Santa ones from one of my photographs are all gone. Each was one of a kind. Sold out. 

This year so far I've made a batch of 4x6 stitched crazy quilt style tops. These are upcycled from the cut up Christmas cards I mentioned above. I've not clipped the threads or bound them. The top can be added to a notecard, or finished to become a stand alone bit of holiday art. each is one of a kind and takes about 90 minutes each to make. note the tighter zig zag. 


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) art artist christmas collage holiday karen hanrahan washington Sat, 17 Jul 2021 20:41:26 GMT
Lets Collage About Retro Travel In Japan I was gifted a super great stack of books to tear apart, many of them retro. gotta love how my amber gets in on the action. 

I began working with this particular "Let's Travel in Japan" book from 1960

I made eight 8x8 stitched collage pieces. 

I pulled items of interest for center focal points, and then made strips from the many pages of muted browns and greens, I then pulled some color pop from a seed catalog. All 8 are made this way, which makes them very complimentary to each other.

All but one have a strip of ribbon. 

a bit ago I decided to stop completing collages.

what that means is the collage is unfinished

in quilting terms these would be called quilt tops.


A finished collage has a card stock layer and is bound. Binding makes it appear as if it is framed and gives each piece a finished back side that isn't just stitching. 

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 16 Jun 2021 17:22:56 GMT
Portraiture Within A Boundary Portraiture Within a Boundary 

or at least that is what I will call these for now.

12 8x8 stitched collages within the theme of portraiture.

I've left these unfinished or without a binding.

I could keep going with this theme

they are really fun to make, some were actually rather challenging

It's really nice to see them all in a row!!








(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan Sat, 22 May 2021 17:57:17 GMT
Essence Of Bellingham 2021 These two were given 2021 honorable mention. 

my portfolio of local images from this last year was definitely suffering from things pandemic. I usually have more to choose from.

errands/outs and about in 2020 were truly few and essential. 

these were the ten I submitted to this years essence of bellingham:

I enjoy the process of deciding which 10 to submit. 

I will know in June if any were acknowledged in prize

here is the rest of the images that I deemed valid to enter:

there were 4 curbside couches this year.

and lots and lots of graffiti.

this one is by Matt French. 

These three were selected last year for honorable mention.

Because of things covid there was no display of them in city hall. 




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) bellingham karen hanrahan photographer washington Thu, 08 Apr 2021 18:22:05 GMT
Kids Art Walk 2021 - Machines at MakeShift Gallery This years annual kids art walk will be virtual. 

I was paired with a Montessori student named Sophie

The group exhibition is hosted by Make.Shift Gallery in May. 

The theme is MACHINES.

Sophie wrote this prompt:

Plastic, shiny, glossy and smooth, the Spitoilink drone deck is rootbeer brown and wonderful. It has the polished look of a Lego. The wand and wand holder are gnarled like a real tree branch. At the end of the wand there is a luminous red button The hologram is the color of the hologram you bought. It is held up by a wand holder which connects to the giant drone which will fly when you say, “alexaflyfly”. It is as big as a tiny room.

The Spitoilink produces a realistic hologram. You click a button at the end of the wand to make the hologram appear. It will fly when you say, “alexaflyfly”. It will fly because it has a built in Alexa that controls the drone. It smells like latex and is silent. You can buy a different type which is based off of which hologram it makes. There are lots of holograms including penguins, Voldomort, cake, a hawk, and more.

and painted this:

I made this collage:

Artist name/Pronouns: Karen Hanrahan SHE

Title: Holographic Rays

Materials: Stitched Collage

Dimensions: 8x8

This is my third time participating.


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 07 Apr 2021 16:54:40 GMT
A Letter To Artist Sanaz Haghini Woman Made Gallery hosted an exhibit titled "Reciprocity". The theme was about artists pairing their work. What struck me most about the exhibit was how many of the artists knew each other for such a long while. 

The gallery put out an additional art call for letters to the participating artists, a project of sorts, offering thanks to an assigned work of art and the artist. I signed on. I heard the response to participate was overwhelming.

How wonderful is that! 

The artist that I was assigned to was Sanaz Haghini. She submitted this distinctive red and black screen print titled "Struggle".

You can see the work of the artist she paired with here, along with the entire exhibit here. 

In her artist statement she writes:

"My work examines how culture and its identity can be understood from its women’s status and circumstances, such as the roles they play in society, the rights they enjoy (or not), and most pointedly, the dress codes to which they must adhere. For this collaboration, I wanted to depict a woman with a chador, a black veil that swallows the woman in its form. I wanted to envision a woman who struggles with her thoughts, a woman who attempts to hold or release something. I try to visualize an impression of being safe or being insecure. My work depicts the hiddenness, which is in contrast with Lara’s work. Mine is a silence, and hers is a scream. Mine is a secret, and hers is a manifest. From my view, this familiar contrast identifies the same situation. Even though we are from different lands, we face similarities because of our sex. This collaboration helped me to understand the meaning of being a woman in another culture. These similarities make us as a woman to be closer together and have respect for our struggles."

Part of my letter to her said: 

"Thank you for your work “Struggle” Sanaz! Several things spoke to me about your screen print. My most immediate response was from your use of red and black. Both haunting and striking. One could not mistake the struggle of the figure. You said it was a swallowing of form. I thought invisibility. I thought ordinary. I thought of how in day to day life one can be lost. That even hidden one can still visibly bleed. Powerful. I was also struck by the reflection in the red. I felt it portrayed how we never really get away from what we hide from or what haunts us. I loved what you wrote about the contrasts between your work and Lara’s. “Yours is silence, hers is a scream.” I felt both!  Thank you for your ability to provoke. I spent quite a bit of time with this exhibit. What touched me the most was the many long term relationships between paired artists. Many offered mutual admiration and contrasting art styles. The gathering as a whole was an experience. Even if I only viewed it online. I love that about art!" 

Screen print by Sanaz Haghini - Title: Struggle






(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan Mon, 05 Apr 2021 23:24:31 GMT
Connections At Roaring Artist Gallery 22 Artists, along with the galleries represented artists have been juried into a virtual group exhibition titled "CONNECTIONS" at Roaring Artist Gallery.  I was one of those artists!

Juror Adrienne Brown-David selected this collage:

purple martinpurple martinpurple martin

I am honored and delighted.

Roaring Artist Gallery was founded by Katie Bradford Osborne

The Call For Art:  Connections. As people, there were new connections with family as we found ourselves stuck together, day in and day out.  There were connections that we scrambled to hold onto with friends we couldn’t touch.  There were also connections we let go of, as we saw sides of others we simply could not live with and as we grieved our vast and devastating losses. As artists, there was the connection with our art, as we tried to figure out what it meant to us during a pandemic that had shut down our exhibitions and driven us inside of our houses- and inside of ourselves, as well. And here, going into 2021, with a vaccine on the horizon and time continuing to tumble forward in a way we still don't quite recognize or understand, we’re all realizing that the meaning of “Connections” has changed irrevocably.This show is here to allow women-identifying artists a space to share their own confusion, sorrow, joy, and hope with what “Connections” has meant to them and will mean to them moving into 2021. This theme can be interpreted as widely or as specifically as each artist imagines it. We want YOUR stories and voices.  We know you have something to ROAR! 

This is a juried exhibition with guest juror, Adrienne Brown-David an award-winning artist whose work has been exhibited and collected across the continental US and the US Virgin Islands.

The Connections exhibition will debut online on April 1, 2021 in our Interactive 3-D Gallery Space as well as our online Show Catalog.

The exhibition will run from April 1- May 31. 

Artist Statement:  I love when connections circle back.  In 2020 a fellow artist sent me an envelope full of items to collage with. “Could you use these?” she wrote.  One such item was a bird book made in 1935 by the father of a very dear and mutual friend. The friend’s father, Bobby Zimmerman was 9 when he made the book. His youthful making reminded me of books I made as a little girl. Full circle. It seemed criminal at first to tear the vintage bird book apart, but the collages became something new and uniquely mine using parts of the blue book cover and bird imagery. It was as if the old illustrations hatched new lives. New beginnings. Full circle. This friend connection prompted a flurry of bird themed work. My focus took me deep into about 6 weeks of making. I felt giddy, I had clarity that what I was making was wonderful. These collages would have little to no meaning if the bird illustrations were simply found. They meant more as a gift. Full circle.

It took me over a year to perfect this particular collage technique. At first I was exploring how to complete an existing piece and avoid the cost and weight of framing. Binding with a backing much like they do in quilting became a solution. Along the way I stumbled into videos that taught crazy quilting techniques. I thought, how could I do that with paper? My collages began to feel like puzzles. Further along I cut magazines pages into one inch strips. I saw them as dashes of color, texture and design. Since, I find myself hooked on this method. I feel a sense of order as I make. The visual is sustainable and reliable, yet over and over the vibrant patterns surprise me. Plus making strips is a remarkable way to use up an entire magazine.  When I first began to machine stitch my life was broken. The stitching had me feel like I was piecing myself together. The stitches weren’t perfect. But they would have to do. I have a long meaningful history with collage. I don’t think any year has needed to collage as much as 2020 has.

Artist note: the collage above was made from the bird book mentioned above. 




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage gallery karen hanrahan roaring Tue, 23 Mar 2021 19:33:40 GMT
Vintage Playing Card Collages Now At Main Gallery 404 These unique 6x6 stitched collages are now hosted by Main Gallery 404 in Bloomington, IL

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist illinois karen hanrahan Wed, 03 Mar 2021 18:13:16 GMT
Updated Framed Work At Brazen It is time to switch out my collage art graciously hosted by BRAZEN. 

Brazen just celebrated their 3rd year in business. This last year challenged them immensely. I admire their tenacity and determination. I love being part of their eclectic collection of art and items for sale. I love that they love what they do.

These are the two new original pieces, they are framed - ready to hang:

these two are now available unframed through me. 

Other finds at BRAZEN include these stitched cards + prints ( prints pricing is discounted! ) 




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 03 Mar 2021 17:49:36 GMT
Birdland 2021 BIRDLAND

February 5-28, 2021

SOLD - crow


"Flock through Skagit Valley and visit Smith and Vallee Gallery for our Annual Bird Invitational. This exhibit features over 100 artists with works of our feathered friends." 

My grouping of 20 stitched BIRD collages was selected to be a part of this annual and beloved exhibit!!

I asked for assistance from the gallery as far as how to hang all of these. Ummmmmm, NOT my area of expertise. Camille just sent these images over and said it was the first thing she hung this morning. Seeing them all together so perfectly made me cry.

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 03 Feb 2021 18:21:30 GMT
Pandemic Image Essay 2020 Each year end I review my image library for themes.  I do this as a way to separate certain images for future use. To submit into an art call, to tour, or to write about in a blog post. When last year shifted to things pandemic I didn't set out to narrate it. I simply went about my day to day. I went internal. I stayed home. Within that ....there is a narrative of sorts. 

I curated over 200 images and hope to make sense of the them and the story they tell by authoring this blog post.

When grocery shelves became empty.

When the lobby gathering space in my building was was put away.

When I began to perfect the 2 week grocery shop.

When plastic replaced paper bags.

When the beauty I could find at home included my bed unmade or not.

When I made do with a scarf for a mask because I was having a reaction to the elastic versions. the scarf was not a particularly sustainable solution. I looked like an insect or something

When I was gifted a proper mask with ties vs elastic, and mask selfies became a thing.

When spring happened

When streets were eerily empty

When moments outside were beautiful

When dirty cutlery became an artist statement

When Amber posed for me

When food was cause for an image taking pause....or image taking entertainment

When doing laundry seemed to be an accomplishment

When simple object/s in my home caught my photographers eye

When out in the community I saw a statue wearing a mask

When making art, stitched collage art. specifically a crazy quilt style but with paper, consumed much of my time. I made over 40 bird collages this fall.


Guadalupe carcara - extinctGuadalupe carcara - extinctGuadalupe carcara - extinct purple martinpurple martinpurple martin NFSNFSNFS SOLD - mama bluebird and babiesSOLD - mama bluebird and babiesSOLD - mama bluebird and babies

When Amber tried to help me sew and made me really laugh

When a ponytail became the covid hairstyle. 

When baking from a box was a form of entertainment.

When my view from my window gifted me a dose of nature or a cat or beauty

when my glass things emphasized the light or view

When payment with my food stamp card was now allowed for grocery pick up.

When the sun was bright and the shadows took my breath away

When it rained or the wind was epic

When dishes broke

When goals were set and reached, and the reward was cake. really good cake!

When our air quality got scary because of smoke from neighboring state fires

When gifts were given.

When getting new glasses or replacing an 11 year old lap top wasn't simple. at all.

When I decided on what to send as my holiday greeting.

When the holidays happened.  or tried to happen.

When it snowed beautifully on the first day of winter like it is suppose to.

When all my toe socks are in the laundry but you still find dork status

when reaching is with claws out

When I left my apartment and found the shadow of myself.

When patterns formed.  Post office, groceries, pharmacy ...repeat.

Finally a few random captures. my door - decorated for fall, new glasses, a heat pad thing, amber in black and white, grateful for social distancing, footwear bling

The End.

this blog post would only allow so much photography. The full portfolio of images can be found HERE



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan photographer washington Wed, 13 Jan 2021 21:47:55 GMT
Vibrational Collage I co-taught a year long course in 2020 with one of my very favorite humans and Tarot card reader Sara Galactica. 

The course Vision 2020 combined our two passions. Tarot and collage.

This post highlights a year of my personal collage work in relationship to this course. 

At our first gathering in January we collaged journals to prepare for our work together for the upcoming year. We met in person one more time before things pandemic forced us to gather virtually.

Below is an inside cover I made for a journal. journal making with collage was new to me. I ended up making a few and used them for my personal 2020 ponderings.

I have been collaging since the late 90's. I began teaching the creative subconscious collage process to others. Mostly in workshops. I casually journaled with collage in 2013, and then collaged daily in 2017/18. The reveal in those two years were an intimate narrative of some rather challenging times. 

I relocated in 2015 to the PNW. I arrived wearing the "I am an artist" hat. Sara at the time had a wonderfully curated boutique. She was the first to host my art.

Meeting Sara was the beginning of a mutually admiring relationship. 

My collage work since has taken on many forms. Forms that as an artist I feel especially proud of.

Below is one example. - a crazy quilt style 12 x 12 piece made with paper. It took me a year to perfect this format. Much of my 2020 art work is like this.

SOLD - blackbirdsSOLD - blackbirdsSOLD - blackbirds

In observing and experiencing the collage work of 2020, especially in relationship to our teachings. These makings were different. These collages had a vibration to them.

These collages had a specific energy. a vibe. The work also had a telling. a significant meaning for the moment, or a meaning in the making. they provided a visual value parallel to the conversation we were having or a reveal of the subconscious at that time. in short, they were amazing. 


The collages below SOLD!!

That work I did within the context of an art journal was of interest to another ...felt pretty awesome.

Gathering in a virtual zoom environment did not hinder our collective. I personally am not a video and or a tech person. Had Sara not been steering that part of our virtual workshops, I would have struggled. She made it seamless and delightful. I was able to do my part and offer thought provoking content to collage with and to facilitate the creative subconscious process. We made a great teaching pair.

Participants at all levels in both tarot and collage found their own personal creative stride and style. I myself am a Tarot newbie. The coursework met for 4 workshops plus a few collage circles ( for fun! )

Additionally I decided to collage and pull tarot with the cycles of the new and full moon. To try Tarot on so to speak. In my own way I would create a collage, and then pull a card to see what Tarot had to say. Most of the time the card contributed, which I found absolutely fascinating!

Over the course of the year. A community formed. Journals were written in. New ideas were found. Recorded sessions were revisited. All of it was rather groovy.

and lovely.

and emotionally rich for those who participated in lots of unexpected ways. myself included.

I felt that it was important to cull the collage work that fit into this vibrational category to bring closure to our workshop. 

2021 will find Sara hosting a year long pilgrimage deeply steeped in her Tarot teachings.

I am launching a Collage with Karen series. ( by email invitation only. email me if you are interested )  





(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Sat, 02 Jan 2021 19:51:13 GMT
2020 Graffiti I am a huge fan of many of the local street artists here. 

In 2015 when I arrived in WA I loved the experience of the "find". 

Graffiti Art is very transient. It may not be there the next time you look for it.

One artist lost an epic collection of work to a 2018 fire. 

 This type of art changes all the time. 

I began following the particular graffiti collection below in July. Things Covid keep me at home most of the time but I could easily drive by or walk socially distanced along Granary Ave. Some of this art began as a form of expression for the Black Lives Matter Movement. Since, it has evolved, morphed, and become a variation of itself. The art is mostly the work of Matt French, Taj Eye and maybe even some work by Shawn Cass. I apologize that the indentity of all the artists are not always clear to me.

In the beginning the construction partition boards had corporate signage for the new buildings going up. The community didn't seem to care for that signage. Somehow they were painted over and the graffiti artists gained full access. I thought that was pretty great.

In November, my 11 year logic board died. I had to replace my technology. Things tech have changed in the last decade. While I was grateful that most of my back up was in tact. I lost two graffiti shoots. Very frustrating. I then got caught up in the hoopla and transition of things new. I lost weeks.

I admit to being very overwhelmed at the moment. The work flow that I am use to is all different. YEARS of images are now on an external harddrive making sourcing and working with them a bit of a hassle. At least a hassle to me. I no longer have the post-production software that I love.

Below are the works from Granary Ave as I photographed them by date. My image taking style is up close and personal. I am fascinated by the layers and depth to some of these pieces, as well as the art within the art. All the photographs below are mine. I purposely don't watermark images of graffiti though - it's not my work.

Its my desire to bring honor to what these talented creators make and to share how I see it.

I should add that this is only a partial collection of my graffiti photography. 


8-28 - the corporate signage is in a few of these. 


9-25. sometimes when my time was short. I simply did a drive by ...




12-4 - I love how the tree shadow became part of this.

A 2021 update to this blog post. I go by all of these often but sometimes I forget my camera or just drive by. 



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan photographer washington Fri, 11 Dec 2020 20:33:26 GMT
Birds Of 2020 Labor Day weekend I set aside an afternoon and pulled out a variety of magazine sources looking for birds. I was thinking ahead to the 11th annual Bird Invitational, a large group winter show hosted by Smith and Vallee Gallery in Edison. Be sure to follow them on Instagram. This will be my third year participating. I had no particular plan that weekend, I just began making merely for the love of collaging and to see what bird works I could come up with. 

Note: this post has a lot of images in it. and many different birds. I thought rather than make this post any longer than it already is. I will title the birds over at the album I made. you can click on and peek at it here.

It took me a year to perfect this particular collage technique. It mimics quilting, particularly, crazy quilt style, but with paper. 

Each stitched collage is constructed with multiple layers much like a quilt, and finished by adding a backing that is then folded over to the front and stitched. This offers a framing to each unique piece. 

Backings are mostly from fashion magazines and selected usually for their bright or matching color.

this backing has the title of the bird "crow" stitched in and pulls out things blue

These four 8x8 stitched collages are what I first made that Labor Day weekend. 

Guadalupe carcara - extinctGuadalupe carcara - extinctGuadalupe carcara - extinct loonloonloon pyschobird - westernscrub jaypyschobird - westernscrub jaypyschobird - westernscrub jay seagullseagullseagull

I had been gifted an old ledger the summer before. In it was stationary from a chicken breeder with letters written in 1919! Chickens are birds...yes? There was also handwritten communications between her and her niece from 1922 with the sweetest bird rendering. Get a load of the vintage advertising.

The three of these were made from those materials:

Ads_Ledger_1913Ads_Ledger_1913Ads_Ledger_1913 ledger_letter_1922ledger_letter_1922ledger_letter_1922 ledger_plymouthrocks_1922ledger_plymouthrocks_1922ledger_plymouthrocks_1922

But then a friend of mine completely surprised me with a package in the mail.  In it was a variety of torn magazine pages, something she sends from time to time. Plus a remarkable treasure of a bird book, hand-made in 1935 by a 9 year old boy, Bobby Zimmerman - the father of a dear and mutual friend.

Also included were 2 envelopes of vintage bird and floral illustrations.

I could hardly believe it!!

She had no idea that I was working on a bird theme!

I know it takes a little something to tear apart something so dear, but the bird book was sent to me for that reason. And so I began to make. I did so in an order that I thought honored and grouped the like looking resources within that book.

I first made these three. The blue are strips from the cover of the original bird book. Each has similar strips from a variety of sources making them look quite wonderful all together.

purple martinpurple martinpurple martin SOLD red headed woodpeckerSOLD red headed woodpeckerSOLD red headed woodpecker wood thrushwood thrushwood thrush

I made these two which delightfully ...SOLD, to a collector for her holiday gifting!

SOLD ovenbird and warblerSOLD ovenbird and warblerSOLD ovenbird and warbler

I actually had a lot of interest in these 8x8 stitched collage pieces as I was making them. Which I loved so much. But, I decided to pause that interest until I knew what I planned to submit to "BIRDLAND" and what the gallery selected. This was the first time as an artist that I had to do that. 

These 5 bird illustrations are dated back to 1900:

ChickadeeChickadeeChickadee Chimney SwiftChimney SwiftChimney Swift PhoebePhoebePhoebe screech owlscreech owlscreech owl golden crowned kingletgolden crowned kingletgolden crowned kinglet yellow warbleryellow warbleryellow warbler

I turned the one below into my holiday greeting for 2020:

tufted tit mousetufted tit mousetufted tit mouse

I then began to develop a plan for the 20 bird illustrations. I planned to make all 20 in a row. I cut the one inch strips in advance, including strips from the wildflower illustrations. I selected backings ahead of time. I did that so that the making would be seamless and complimentary to each other. These were way way fun to make. 

As a collective once finished they sure made quite the grouping!


mock 8x8 squares quiltmock 8x8 squares quiltmock 8x8 squares quilt

These below were the last three 8x8's made from the bird book.


w_crayon_age9w_crayon_age9w_crayon_age9 Robin in the rainRobin in the rainrobin in the rain Bobolink PairBobolink PairBobolink Pair  

Finally, I had to decide what to do with two larger illustrations. I was OK cropping all of the other birds but these needed to be whole. These two 12x12 stitched collages are what transpired - The blackbird one had immediate interest and once I heard back from the gallery - it SOLD! On the back of it I had put the title from the original bird book and the paper fastener that young Bobby used to hold his book together.

SOLD - mama bluebird and babiesSOLD - mama bluebird and babiesSOLD - mama bluebird and babies

SOLD - blackbirdsSOLD - blackbirdsSOLD - blackbirds Bird Book 1935Bird Book 1935Bird Book 1935


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Sun, 29 Nov 2020 00:13:54 GMT
Fall Consignment At Brazen I am excited to bring in some new ideas for consignment at Bellinghams darling of a shop known as Brazen Shop + Studio. I have been with this lovely establishment from its beginnings. Time for a bit of a refresh. 

I am hoping framed art offers a ready to hang option. These two collages are from my daily journal days and I think they are a nice pairing. I love the white mat with the thin black gallery frame. 

These 4x6 notecards took off early this year. Sales were reassuring during pandemic hard times. Very cathartic in their making. The notecards represent the stitched collage work that took me some time to learn and perfect - most, if not all, of my 2020 collage work is stitched. Each card is truly one-of-a-kind, themed by color, they are assembled on kraft paper card stock and come with an envelope.

This is the back side/ a place to add a written note.

Brazen has hosted 2 solo exhibits for me, they helped me experiment with making and selling prints. They helped me launch the "simply a photograph" line. I am beyond grateful to be a part of their superb collection of vendors. In a shop local and or shop artisans this small boutique is a true find. 

Below are what is left of the prints ( subject to availability) that are 30% OFF through December 2020. This is a great deal!!

Brazen, thanks to things pandemic now offers online shopping.

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan Thu, 15 Oct 2020 23:42:37 GMT
2021 Amber The Cat Calendar Is Ready To Order! The calendar is here! The 2021 Amber the Cat calendar is here!

( some images in this post are for promotion only, they are not in the calendar )

For the second year now,  I am celebrating my cat amber with another calendar.

With the past year and things pandemic

I decided to go with a theme. 

You'll have to buy the calendar to see.


A few things are the same.

A few things are different.


This is still a print on demand circumstance.

I love that I can work with a local vendor.

Price is the same.YAY!  $24.99 ( tax included )

Local pick up is the same. Customers must wear a mask, and curbside pick up can be arranged. 

US shipping cost is the same. $8.25

if you are out of the country. then costs are based on weight and zipcode

(example: prague, $16.04, no tracking. 2020 pricing) 

STAPLED calendar style only. 

A stapled version offers the most value, the best quality paper

and 15 images of Amber!


Last year I promoted that 10% of all calendar sales will go to the Human Society where I adopted Amber, but I ended up gifting 20%. 

I will donate 20% this year. Thank you to those of you who ordered calendars in advance!

 THIS is the Process: 

1. tell me you want one

2. pay me ( pay pal is preferred or check )

3. I will let you know when your calendar is ready for pick up or shipped

HUGE Thank you to Applied Digital Imaging  

1803 North State Street

Bellingham, WA 98225


During Phase 2, we are opening the lobby (masks required) and continuing to offer curbside service by request.  We offer free Local Pickup and Delivery.  A variety of shipping options are also available.

Shop hours are 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday.








(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) cat karen hanrahan photographer washington Sat, 12 Sep 2020 15:53:39 GMT
LOSS A Virtual Group Exhibit At Woman Made Gallery During Covid times Woman Made Gallery in Chicago began hosting group virtual openings in a different way. They reduced the fee to enter and each artist would have at least one of their 4 submitted pieces be a part of the online gallery. Prior there was never a guarantee that you would be chosen. Shows were juried and curated. This pandemic method while juried was very inclusive vs competitive. Wonderful, large shows. I have been watching this gallery for many years and I have been submitting. I feel honored each and every time they include me. This will be my 5th opening with WMG

For the theme LOSS coming up this September 

I knew immediately that I wanted to share this collage narrative. 

BOTH collages were chosen. I am quite delighted. 

Thank you Woman Made Gallery!

Here is a link to the exhibit.

Artist Statement: 

I moved to a border-farming town that was near what is called the berry belt. Intense summer forest fire smoke lingered and temperatures were abnormally hot. The farm employers said, “Unless you are dead, don’t miss work.” 17 days into harvest, a young 28 year old guest migrant worker, named Honesto fell ill. 4 days later he died. His death sparked a day long workers strike and negotiations about how to give H-2A workers better representation.

I was journaling daily with collage at the time. I don’t usually collage about events in the news. Yet, my sadness for this family showed up in my creative subconscious work. A wife and 2 young ones were now without him, such a tragic loss.


CALL FOR ART: I lost my husband eight years ago, my mother just over four years, and my father three months ago. Those were my three best friends, so needless to say they were devastating losses. My parents who had been married well over fifty years, were not able to relate to the significance of my loss, and did not know what they could do to support me through it. This made it even more difficult. I became the primary caregiver for all three of them, in addition to planning all three funerals, with the assistance of my children. Every loss that we experience is individual, and how we navigate through it is also a varied experience. Those around us may try to comfort us in various ways, but often don’t know what to say or do, because we all experience grief or loss in different ways. Not only that, when we think of loss in the broader since of the word, that can encompass a great many other things. With the advent of Covid-19, some people are experiencing loss in the form of loved ones, jobs, divorce, businesses, independence, travel, family celebrations, and so on. How has loss impacted you?" -Felicia Grant Preston   

Juror/Curator: Felicia Grant Preston is a retired art instructor and visual artist. She received a BA in art from Southern Illinois University, an MS ED from Northern Illinois University, and an MA from Chicago State University. In addition, she has studied at the University of Illinois, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Governor State University and The Savannah College of Art and Design. Her work has been included in the Paul R. Jones collection at the University of Delaware, considered one of the largest collections of African American art.  Publications include the University of Delaware’s 2005 date book, Abstract and All That, University of Delaware exhibition catalog, African art: the Diaspora and beyond by Daniel T. Parker, Cover design for Mystic turf poems by Quraysh Ali Lansana, and one image in Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks, edited by Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Sandra Jackson-Opoku, 2016. For more information visit: 


I also included in my submit a shot of how smokey the area was in those times.




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan washington woman made gallery Wed, 12 Aug 2020 19:50:24 GMT
2020 JULY Events I have two virtual events this July. 

One is in Chicago. at Woman Made Gallery - the theme is HOME, i wrote about it in depth here

I really admire the way this gallery shifted it's calls for art. Each who submit were allowed one assured piece into the show. They lowered their entry fee. The response was seemingly very positive, raising funds for the gallery while allowing artists who have lost many opportunities this year to me a part of something. They have done this multiple times this year. 

The other show themed SHIFT is local, it's a small but mighty collection of those who help run Make.Shift Gallery 

I enjoyed the art call for Shift. they requested that we submit art that is "quintessentially you" which really made me smile. 

"Every month in Make.shift our gallery is filled with eye-catching and controversial work from local, regional and international artists, but what about the artists who work hard to make sure we are functioning at full steam? We are fortunate to have so much talent within Make.shift’s community. July is our month to showcase the visual artists that help to form us as an institution. We asked our staff, interns, board members, jury members, gallery attendants, and kzax DJs to submit work that defined their art. We’d like to show the work that they feel most embodies their themes and style to display the range of creativity within our space. Join us art walk Friday so we can show you what Make.shift is really made of"

I would also have opened my touring show "singularity" at a new location.

had we not still be managing things pandemic.



I am grateful for two small shops that are still carrying my work.

In spite of reduced hours and phase 2 small business compliance. 

Brazen Shop + Studio

and Main Gallery 404 in IL


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan photographer Wed, 08 Jul 2020 21:46:30 GMT
HOME A Virtual Group Exhibit with Woman Made Gallery

I am honored to be participating in the group show HOME, a virtual exhibition. with Woman Made Gallery in July!

I look forward to participating on the artist panel on July 11th. Zoom/Live!  7 of us were selected. Here is the youtube recording

Of the 4 photographs i submitted: 

THIS was the photograph the juror selected. Scroll down to read the artist statement

These are photographs of cutlery taken during pandemic times. 


HOME, A Virtual Exhibition
Juror/Curator: Jennifer Weigel
July 2020 | Facebook Live Opening: Saturday, July 11 | 2–3 p.m.

CHICAGO –– Woman Made Gallery (WMG) is pleased to present “HOME, A Virtual Exhibition” with work by 123 artists from the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Due to Covid-19 the theme of home is particularly relevant. With the Stay at Home orders everywhere, so much of life is impacted. Home is often presumed to be a safe sanctuary or retreat that one goes to reconnect with themselves, but that is not the experience for many who face trauma and violence at home or who do not have a stable home to

In her juror’s statement Jennifer Weigel reflects on the entries: “In jurying Home for Woman Made Gallery, I was drawn to the diversity of expression and willingness to share our most intimate moments: our laughs, loves, and losses. How we see our homes is very much a reflection of how we see ourselves.  What is important to us?  What dark thoughts lurk in the closet or under the bed and keep us up at night?  What lights our way to carry us through our dark times, and what gives us cause to sing and dance in the kitchen?  Home is a reflection of where we are in our lives, where we have been, and where we are going.  

Exhibiting Artists: Ngozi Akande, Elaine Alibrandi, Marjorie Arnett, Lisa Marie Barber, Sandra Barrett, Donya Beaton, Zoe Beaudry, Kari Black, Sarah Blaszczak, Susan Bloomfield, Fanny Brodar, Dorothy Broers, Marianna Buchwald, Debbie Burk, Maria Camera-Smith, Christina Canzoneri, Sara Corley Martinez, Rachel Dickson, Caro Dranow, Iwona Duszek, Mirvia Sol Eckert, Bronwyn Elkuss, Deborah Emerson, Carol Estes, Sophia Etling, Donna Faranda, Melon Fernsebner, Linda Foley, Lisa Foster, Lisa Friedman, Victoria Fuller, Elise Gagliardi, Kathleen Garness, Christine Giancola, Juliet Goodden, Laurie Hall, Karen Hanrahan, Pamela Hobbs, Katie Hovencamp, Megan Hulan, Valerie Huss, Nura Husseini, Christine Ilewski, Malika Jackson, Jennifer Jenkins, Aunia Kahn, Ruth Keitz, Jennifer Kempf, Zoe Kennedy, River Kerstetter, Mary King, Christina Klein, Mary Kolada Scott, Tulika Ladsariya, Betty Jane Lau, Beatriz Ledesma, Julie Lee, Susan E Lehman, Jill Leipprandt, Anna Lentz, Sarah Leslie, Dawn Liddicoatt, Li Lin-Liang, Dominika Lipecka, Sandra Luckett, Elaine Luther, Laura Lynne, Ellen Starr Lyon, Mandem, Claire Marcus, Juliet Martin, JL Maxcy, Maureen May, Sandra Mayo, Mary McFerran, Edith Mendez, Deborah Mitchell, Karen Musgrave, Liz Nania, Indrani Nayar-Gall, Anne Nordhaus-Bike, Lollie Ortiz, Patricia Panopoulos, Wendy Peer, Corinne D. Peterson, Amy Pleasant, Kristen Polotsky, Kit Porter, Ann Quinn, Gina Lee Robbins, Kathryn Rodrigues, Red Sagalow, Whitney Sage, Marcia Santore, Mickey Satkiewicz, Jo Scheder, Paula Schiller, Johanna Sarah Schlenk, Gabby Schmitt, Heather Sepanik, Sherin Shefik, Carol Shikany, Michelle Sierra, Payton Spinosa, Tina Starr, Kiki Steinman-Arendsee, Susanne Swanson-Bernard, Meredith Swortwood, Salma Taman, D.A. Terzian, Cheryl Thomas, Michele Thrane, Tricia Townes, Ann Tracy, Janie Tubbs, Maria V, Gwynneth VanLaven, Jessica Wagner, Juliann Wang, Jan Wiesner, Elaine Woo, April Wright.

Juror/Curator: Jennifer Weigel is a multi-disciplinary mixed media conceptual artist. Weigel utilizes a wide range of media to convey her ideas, including assemblage, drawing, fibers, installation, jewelry, painting, performance, photography and video.  Much of her work touches on themes of beauty, identity (especially gender identity), memory & forgetting, and institutional critique.  Weigel’s art has been exhibited nationally in all 50 states and has won numerous awards. For more information visit

Artist Statement

The rule is one may wash dirty cutlery only after the last clean spoon is used.  Allow said cutlery to assemble ever so artfully on the bottom of reflective stainless steel kitchen sink. Pause occasionally to observe pleasant and artful utensil arrangements. Post an image of said observation on Instagram.

Is this pandemic behavior? Not really. It’s please don’t make me wash the knives, forks and spoons just yet behavior. My rule allows this. I call it quirky. Some might call it lazy and for those that require an empty kitchen sink at all times, you might never be able to live with me.

And that’s OK.  I’ve been practicing social distancing for some time now. I’ve gotten good at the blur of lost time and nothingness. I might be set in my ways. I find my day to day has not changed much.  I do notice the remarkable beauty in the sameness of things, like my dirty utensils. I treasure my home and it’s subtle visual celebrations. I feel safe as long as I am home.


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan photographer Thu, 25 Jun 2020 18:37:29 GMT
My 4x6 Notecard Process Here is the process for my 4x6 Notecards

This work falls into the collage, stitched collage, crazy quilt style with paper collage, quilting with paper category. 

That these became notecards is a happy accident. 

No two are alike. 

I just love that they are selling.

I love that those buying them have a special someone they want to send them too. 

Card Top

I build these patterns around a select 5 sided piece of paper. Cards are made from torn apart linen and anthropology catalogs.  Some are built around a certain color palette. I use a glue stick. My studio has a cat.

meet amber. 

I am managing the selling of these in an album on FB at the moment.

simply "like" the card you want to purchase.

i will mark it sold. 

buy 4 and get a discount on price.


I stitch these with my sewing machine using a wide zig zag. metaphorically, the pieces are me "broken" and held together by stitches that have me become a new whole.


I use the bind with backing method. I try and find colors to match the initial piece. These backings are from W magazine. The paper has a light almost newsprint feel to the page. If you tore away the kraft back, you'd find a carefully selected backing. 

See below.  The backing is sized just a tad larger than the stitched collage. See the bit of yellow on the sides? The yellow will be part of the binding.

The stitched collage is then bound by folding the backing around the card.

I then attach the brown kraft note card, and stitch the two together using my sewing machine.

Each card comes with an envelope. 

This is batch #3

Finished 4x6 Notecards.

Front and backside (a place to write a note)  w/ envelope






(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Wed, 24 Jun 2020 23:51:06 GMT
What Might Have Been And What Is June 2020 I WAS slotted for an artist talk and solo photography installation for June's First Friday.

A strategizing meeting on valentines day confirmed selection of 9 photographs I planned to print on a variety of mediums and frame. The photographs were to example the unique way that I offer an image narrative.

I would have prepared a 100 image or so slide show, and it may have been rather remarkable to connect with some folks from the community who only know my work from social media.

Perhaps it will be rescheduled. 

At this show I planned to show newly developed mixed media work that incorporates my photography into my collage work. A long time vision I've had. Work that I am very very excited about.

I made these 5x7's

and these 8.5 x11's.

I've been developing 8x8 mixed media pieces

some even include small bits of fabric and or hankerchief

Still in development, are Pet Memorial or Pet Portrait Squares.

In June there was to be a group show for Community 2 Community. Something I was invited to participate in.

The group show Scapes would still have been happening in Chicago at Jackson Junge Gallery. This show has been postsponed for now. I am not sure I was juried in.

What IS happening in June is this:  `

I am in a remarkable and moving virtual group exhibit hosted by Woman Made Gallery. The show was juried. Each artist was granted a piece within the theme "Touch" 181 Artists are represented. 430 pieces were reviewed. Woman Made Gallery is already proficient in exhibits online. This show is no exception. It feels (no pun intended) so so very good to be part of something again. 

The piece I submitted is nude and is about masturbation. sometimes when I submit works of nudity I use a different name. 

A cropped version is below.

Other good June news includes Main Gallery 404 in Bloomington, IL re-opens on the 3rd. YAY!

I have about 10 of these 6.5x6.5 squares in house there. 


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan photographer Tue, 02 Jun 2020 22:34:56 GMT
Home Art Tour I have written this post multiple times and for some reason my template was being very finicky. Image files were too large, too many or I could not add content the way I originally planned. This will have to do.  My art collection will have to speak for itself. 

 This by the way is a pandemic project. I personally began my social distancing on 3/9.

Ideas exploded all over social media on ways to stay in touch. Tahnee Lathrop of Retrofit Culture posted on Instagram about doing a home art tour. I thought, "I really like that idea." Artist/ Gallery owner Jan Brandt completely took off with the idea. Gosh, talk about an art collection. Both ladies do really well with Instagram. I, on the other hand, do not. I have no idea how to get all of these images to Instagram except to share a blog post link. 

It wasn't until my cat Amber got her claw stuck in this tin mirror that I took on the home art tour idea with a sense of purpose. Now finished, I am glad that I took this on as a project. There is a lot of inspiration, calm and love in this art. Thank you fellow artist friends. 

( i know, her claw is stuck. poor thing )

( by the by, the tin mirror looks way better over here on this brown door. ) 

The project came at a good time to rearrange some art. It took me a long time to complete the project because I am picky. And then it took me longer because I couldn't decide how picky I wanted to be. and then I felt overwhelmed. UGH. I have a LOT of art. When I've moved. Letting go of art was NOT negotiable. 

My home is TINY. Basically, it's one room with a kitchen/bathroom. None of the exterior walls are valid for hanging art. They are cinder block. I use old leaning doors as a solution to that.

What makes this apartment amazing are the TWO absolutely huge windows. From my writing chair, the view has me feel like the outside is positively touchable. 

Before I begin the official narrative, two things. 

I live for visual celebrations and find a lot of joy in my home. Simple every day things like my toaster, dirty cutlery and my unmade bed are an example of what I tend to take images of. 

While photographing this project I had trouble with glare. The light in the bathroom was terrible. By the time I got to the bathroom I was feeling pretty impatient about the project. I was less picky.

I am always rearranging things. Like all the time rearranging, so the obsessive part of me wants to now take a different picture because I've moved something. 

I had to let that go. 

As I review over 200 images, I am really not quite sure how to roll it all out, but here goes. I did a terrible job identifying artists. and even misnamed some. If you see an error - please tell me. 

LIVING ROOM - works by me, micheopolis, cooper lanza, tom stella, camilla engman, karen k mueller, morris, todd schaak, tara johnson, thea burger, kate rozycki and unknown

Kitchen - many works unknown, me, kate rozycki, margaret trost,ashley cecil, william butler, zoe, michael, 


Studio/Hallway/Buffet - me, ann scott, unknown, karen blanquart, lisa calvert, klunk, dylan punke, connie beiber, mike makita,


Bathroom - costa rican painter, kit sunderland, klunk, lisa calvert, me, camilla engman, gary barton, wallace, framed cards. 

My box collection. i began collecting boxes as a teen. There is one from Poland. Others from Quebec. One, a gift from someone who lived to almost be 100.

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist home art tour karen hanrahan pandemic project Sun, 31 May 2020 20:48:54 GMT
Essence Of Bellingham 2020 it's early may, and over the weekend i tackled my submit to the essence of bellingham contest. i am pinching myself that it's my 5th year doing this. i need to be in a certain mood to do it and it takes a good chunk of time.

at least this year i had good company.

This year the annual contest celebrates 15 years and had over 300 submissions. 

i try to collect Esssence of Bellingham-esque images in a folder as I go along in my year. but then sometimes i forget to collect them in the month for which they were taken so i have to go back and find them again. I then find more that i forgot or now like - and then deciding my favorite 10 can be quite a challenge. Still,  I always love the pause and the perspectives I see about town.

My work isn't typical, it is often described as arty, or for some too up close and personal but I have almost always been awarded/recognized in one way or another which feels pretty great. The winners images are printed and hung each year in city hall. i love visiting the collection and seeing familiar local photographers and their work.

The kayak image won in 2019. the taco tule truck capture won in 2018. 

( hmmmm, just noticed that those past images are black and white. interesting. )

In past years I try to tuck in an abandoned curb couch or an image of the iconic "maude" that adorns the store front of mod socks.

somehow those images never win.

Well, I can now eat those words because the announcement was just made. In 2020 I was awarded 3 honorable mentions which include "maude". AND my cat, plus something I consider super arty!! I am so delighted!!

Below are the 10 images that I submitted this year.

To see the year of images go to this portfolio:

( for some reason when i tried to make that into a hyperlink  - it kept truncating. ) 




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan photographer sunshine Tue, 19 May 2020 16:18:28 GMT
The Loss Of May 2020 Normally in May, the community here focuses on kids art. The celebration, now in it's 20th year takes over many of the local business windows. It's a delightful, cheery and pride full display of youth art. I've participated in years past in an art project with Make.Shift Gallery, which is unfortunately closed. There is going to be a virtual attempt I hear.

Artwalk is in two days. 

If I was having a non-pandemic May - I would have had art in some of the same places as last month.

It would be the last days of the steam punk show in Chicago, and there would have been an opening reception for a new group show that has since been postponed/delayed. The boutique host shops here and in central IL would be open to the public.

All of that sounds and feels like yesterday's news. Lost. I know it's not even May yet. I am just feeling like I have little to report in the what's happening category. 

I am in general fine. Amber and I are fine. 

In these times I am making almost every day. The making includes making 2 meals a day. Giving hearth a bit more intention. Focusing on the now is perhaps a more positive focus then on what could have been. Truth be, I am feeling flat, I am feeling loss and I am trying with all of me to muster the love. I've made way more than I seem to have images for. I've not paid attention to all of the making. it's a big blur of making.

There is tension. it is self made tension partly - pandemic tension. month end quota tension. my next grocery shop tension, the must do pile of laundry tension. the social media stupid tension. the who's not wearing their mask tension, of which i feel really bad about,  i am not the mask wearing police. i just feel like if i am wearing one. you should too. and if you aren't i want to claw your eyes out. 

it's tense none the less. self inflicted or not

however many weeks now into pandemic times I have certainly been creative.









(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan washington Wed, 29 Apr 2020 21:41:18 GMT
How To Bind With Paper I am binding most edges of my collage work these days. I wanted a way to take my odd sized collage art to a more finished look without the expense of a frame.

I like the way the edges of a quilt look. I started watching tutorials. It wasn't until I found one particular tutorial that I felt inspired. She used a glue stick and folded her binding from her backing. Way simpler than traditional quilt binding. Plus, I wanted to bind with paper. 


Many have asked me how I bind my work.

Below is a tutorial of sorts. I hope it helps


This is a 5x7 photograph that I took of a rose. Pick something you'd like to frame with binding.

Find a backing that's bigger than your art. I picked a backing that matched from a magazine.  Truth be, either side would have worked. 

You want the backside to look nice and the folded edges to frame the art.

Since I super suck at measuring things.

I used a ruler width all the way around my art piece.

( that's my son's ruler from pre-school! ) 

This measurement made for a nice wide binding. A good way to practice. Today? I usually just eyeball it. 


Below are 5 easy steps:

1. Place art in center of backing and secure it using a glue stick. Be sure the side you want to show on the back is correct.

2. fold bottom binding edge up to the edge of the art. no corners are made on this first edge.

3. Side 2 - Turn piece clock wise. Fold left corner as shown. Glue down. Fold corner up to art piece. glue.

4. Side 3 - Turn piece clock wise. Fold left corner as shown. Glue down. Fold corner up to art piece. Glue.

5. Side 4 - This is your final side. Fold BOTH corners. Glue down. Fold corners up to art piece. Glue.

I didn't glue this particular example all down because I use it over and over for teaching. But you can generally see the finished look. as well as the way the back looks. 

Below are a few examples of collages with binding. I also stitch my edges.



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan washington Wed, 15 Apr 2020 23:17:32 GMT
Let's Collage Together! The last two weekends I led a handful of collage things. They were random and I just loved it!

Perhaps consulting with collage might be a really lovely way to offer what I do already with others that want a way to sit and make with a bit of thought provoking guidance and follow through. 

If we have never collaged together before you may want to review the creative subconscious mind process that I teach.

How this might work:

contact me

agree to a facilitation

send payment. at least $10 is suggested. i have pay pal.

let me know when you are ready to give yourself some time to collage. 45 minutes is plenty. Gather supplies: glue stick, scissors, a magazine to tear. something to collage on

I will send a prompt for you to think about.

follow the process. 5-10 minutes of tearing. 20-30 minutes to collage.

send me a picture of your finished collage. tell me about it.

allow me to contribute my observations

a banter of sorts may follow


( below a collage i made in february ) 

Note:  While I know this is popular right now. I'd prefer not to zoom. or face time or anything video. 


( Amber and I are here for you.)  



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage facilitate karen hanrahan Thu, 09 Apr 2020 04:41:18 GMT
APRIL #virtualbhamartwalk In times of things now pandemic our downtown business organization has taken on trying out a virtual art walk.


It's from 4-8 on 4/03/2020


folks can let their fingers do the art walking

on instagram

or on FB.

search for #virtualbhamartwalk


Check out my touring solo installation "Singularity"

the FULL 21 Collage collection can be seen HERE

8x10 ART Prints are available $25 

11x14 originals are $90 and include a black matt.

Had I been participating on actual art walk this month

The collages below would have been on display

Black and White TRIO  11x14 with black matt. $75 each. Buy all three $200

I planned to drop this collage off at @dakotaartstore_bham today for the open art call #shipoffools or "works of political expression"

I feel to be a vibrant effective leader of any persuasion, political or otherwise one carries equal measures of tranquility and fierceness within.

Note the clever hanging device ...perfect for hanging unframed 

#collage #artist#karenhanrahan #showitanyway #virtualgallery #virtualbhamartwalk happens april 3rd.

$54 plus shipping. Hanger not for sale.

SOME galleries in times of pandemic are developing an online presence. As an artist, I feel especially grateful to those who host my work.


These Art PRINTS are now available to order ONLINE at Brazen. $25 

While these unique handmade stitched collages are not in a cart yet. they too are available at BRAZEN. MANY to choose from. many are mixed media with photography or vintage hankie tucked in. i am trying to recall the price of these. I think they are $35. Check with Brazen.

FINALLY - I am also present virtually out of state. 

Jackson Junge Gallery in Chicago.

and Main Gallery 404 in Bloomington, IL 


I am pinching myself when I look up at all the things i've made and how they are available somehow for others to view, to enjoy, to share and to purchase. 

In the month of March, I made a LOT of new work. Stay tuned. I will write about them soon

Follow my social media places to keep in touch.


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Fri, 03 Apr 2020 19:46:11 GMT
My Art Life In The Time Of A Pandemic IF I was having my normal life as an artist. On this day, Wednesday 03/25/2020,  I'd be posting exciting new art happenings. I'd be sharing what's next and what to look forward to.

But then Corona-19 Virus found us. ALL OF US. 

March started to cancel itself, it then unraveled and basically disappeared.  "Wow. ALL of March is canceled." The last two weeks have been a blur of the same really...and now it looks as if April and May is pretty much cancelled too. 

To make sense of it, for me and my work, I thought I'd check into what just happened.


Existing shops that host or show my work:

March Canceled


Fourth Corner Frames. group show "LEAP" closed

brazen shop + studio. closed. developing a virtual strategy. ecards available.  ( what a great idea )

2 new projects submitted.

Current & Furbish - "Singularity" closed, partial show and prints stored loving on site


In Bow

The Lucky Dumpster. stitched nude collages - closed


morphed :: nude collage series.
on consignment in conjunction with "Force - a group show about Nature"

Summer 2017, While in NYC I got access to a few high fashion magazine that had a nice selection of nude images that I could tear apart and morph. the numbers represent the order in which they were made.



main gallery 404 - closed.

Jackson Junge Gallery - closed. Funk Machine. group show.

Virtual Exhibit Funk Machine through May 10th. See the entire exhibit here.


April Cancelled


Singularity on Tour - next stop. closed. Rock and Rye 

Topaz Salon - closed. group show. 3 collages. 

Dakota Art - closed. Ship of Fools, unjuried group show


Ramp Arts - closed - Women's Photography Invitational


May Cancelled?

Singularity on tour - Rock and Rye

Topaz Salon - group show. 3 collages 


June Pending 

Quick Silver Photo - Solo Installation/ Artist Talk

C2C - group show/by invitation

Essence of Bellingham - Photography June


Jackson Junge Gallery "Scapes" - juried group show. TBD


Galleries I have shown at before or that I love/admire


Make.Shift closed

Dakota Art. closed

Social Fabric. closed. reorganizing. making masks for local hospitals

Wink Wink

In Bow

Smith and Vallee - open virtually on instagram, doing so in a lovely way 

In Chicago

Woman Made Gallery. closed. struggling. requesting donations to stay open. current exhibit available to view online


Of course I know of and follow and appreciate many more establishments. These mentioned are however dear or close to my heart. 

I don't have a place where I SELL my art. I HAVE TOO MUCH TO SELL. I am a prolific high volume maker.

My website is a portfolio and working space for me. MOST items that I sell are in the moment when I post something. either something current that I just made on Instagram/FB Or when I share retro work each Thursday on FB.

It happens just like that. someone will see something and message me. "I want that"

Find and follow me on Instagram  

On FB - I have a profile and an artist PAGE. 

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan washington Thu, 26 Mar 2020 04:24:11 GMT
Mini 4x6 Stitched Collage Series Pricing information coming soon.

Introducing the Mini 4x6 Stitched Collage Series.


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan washington Wed, 25 Mar 2020 21:35:20 GMT
Spring Vision 2020 and Collage In The Time Of Coronavirus Our Vision 2020 workshop in early January went remarkably well.

8 of us gathered, got to know each other, and made the journals that would launch all of us into the new year. 

The group met again in between scheduled workshops to play and collage!  How fun and relaxing that was! 

the above collage is mine. it was created during our play circle. this represents for me my love for teaching and making art, and that i am on the right track as an artist. I sold this collage.


And then March arrived, and with it, a pandemic, a thing. an unexpected something to navigate. My co-teacher Sara and I decided to take our spring workshop into virtual conferencing.

Sara the master of things ZOOM led the meeting. For some, myself included, it was a first time experience of web conferencing. 

The tone of the gathering was to honor spring, to practice tarot, and to make collage in a creative subconscious way as a collective. I think we honored that intention greatly.

Afterwards I wrote Sara to say that I felt proud of us. We wondered early on, should we meet in person or gather virtually? The decision to go virtual nurtured itself. I didn't feel weird about being voice only in session. Earlier in the day I was wound up tight nervous. After class, I felt so relaxed. 

Spring Vision 2020 online was as experiential and meaningful as it could have been in person. I love how at the beginning of our session that it was still light out, but as the workshop progressed it got golden and then it got dark. I love how those involved set things up so that they could participate fully. I love how each of our collages offered a reveal of sorts. as creative subconscious collage always does. I love that we had an entire evening together.  

Below is the collage I made. It doesn't fit a journal page at about 11.5 inches tall. I love how it turned out especially my decision to bind the edges.  Later I added machine stitches to it. 

There is a moment of synchronicity about this collage worth mentioning. A few days before workshop I was working on my people project. It's a collage narration about social phobia, i don't have an artist statement about all of it just yet. Defintely a work in progress. This 18 x 24 piece is one of two that prompted the idea. 

On the afternoon of the Spring Vision 2020 workshop I found this image of an angel sitting in with my glass plates.. I had not noticed it before. I literally spoke to it. I said, " are to be part of my collage tonight?" 


This is what happened to that angel!   My collage speaks to many things for me. In relationship to the 3 tarot cards I pulled, they affirm that it's ok to boast good fortune and success. even in the times of the coronavirus. actually as things spiral. The point is noone else is going to toot my horn. The cards invited me to trust my inspiration and enthusiasm for my art. They also encouraged me to act with a smile, an open heart, and to relish my making. I love the light behind the angel. and I love all the ideas implied by all of those shapes above. Lastly the collage has me feeling like I am somehow useful in the world, which was one of the words that I called upon in session. Both Sara and I instruct using single words as a way to guide our instruction. I forgot to take an image of this after I added stitches to it. I'll try and do that and add it later. 

This is the first time that I've taught with another where we each bring our unique gifts to a common space and place of learning. This is my first time where in advance. Many signed on for a year of the expertise we hope to share. I am very grateful. 



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) collage creative subconscious collage galactica" karen hanrahan sara tarot. vision 2020 Sat, 21 Mar 2020 22:36:36 GMT
March Art Happenings This Friday's art walk....

a portion of "Singularity" should still be up at Fairhaven's Current and Furbish.

I have a piece in the group show LEAP at Fourth Corner Frames 

Look for original collages + prints, and photographs at Brazen Shop + Studio 

My crazy paper quilt squares are part of all the artists represented at Main Gallery 404, Inc. Inc.

I have an opening in a group show in Chicago!!

uh, just sayin .....pinch me that all of this is going on!!

I sent out two inquiries for new shows this morning.

I am starting to describe myself as a "prolific" maker.

In studio, there are 3 making projects in full swirl.

Feels SO good. 

Stay tuned!! 



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan Wed, 04 Mar 2020 21:48:11 GMT
MY CITY STUDIO It's almost the end of January 2020. I signed my lease in December for what will be my 3rd year here at my city studio. YAY!

Those who know me, know how much I love my home and homemaking. I was fortunate in my early mom days to be able to stay at home. I treasured those years. When I became a single mom, I quickly found I was better suited to work from home. The few failed attempts at working outside of the home affirmed this. Seemingly one of the many lessons of my life is to move a lot. I am really good at moving. I am very good at making a home just about where ever I am. Gosh knows I've proven this too.

When I moved west in 2015.  I thought I had clearly stated my life goals to the roommate I was going to share space with. I had a plan. Unfortunately, she misunderstood. What started out as a stepping stone living circumstance ended up becoming a "where will i live now" nightmare that lasted about 2 years. This post isn't about those years.

I want to celebrate how fortunate I am to be where I am living NOW. 

Dec 2017. I was awarded low income housing

2018 - I lost quite a bit of time to things emotional. I had no idea how the years prior had taken a toll on me. I was told I had PTSD.

2019 - I began having panic attacks. I got my cat.

2020. I am still here. I am still in my city studio apartment. I am safe. 

I uploaded a HUGE volume of city studio images well over a year ago, and then felt a bit overwhelmed with how many there were.  As much as I work and make art at home there will always be way too many photographs of where I live. I will try now and tell my home story as best I can.

View the entire portfolio of images that I collected here

This first image is an important narrative photograph to me. Each file folder in this file system represents a person much like myself who found their way into subsidized housing. I am just one of many. 24 months waiting. I am so grateful to be here.

The decision to take the place was easy. The apartment spoke for itself. 

The move was a nightmare. But I got to the other side of it. The collage shown here is part of the move story and will be in "birds eye view" - the 8th invitational group show at Smith and Vallee Gallery in Edison. opens 2/01/2020

much of the place is pretty institutional. and yet much of the grounds are rather beautiful. the spikey tree is a sycamore. 

MY two huge windows and west view from the apartment are core to my living experience here. I feel like I live in a treehouse. Sometimes it feels like the sky becomes part of my living space.

As an artist, the view and the light have been very motivating. This cloud inspired a similar looking collage.

The rearranging of furniture and a creating a functional living space has definitely been a work in progress. my infamous green chair is now gone. The configuration here is an early one and one of many. It's not 2020 current, but it gives you an idea of the space/ and the struggle to make sense of it all.

I love what I call "visual celebrations" or selecting unique ways of assembling items around the home or my art so that they visually please me. even everyday living like dirty dishes or cleaning the fan can be beautiful somehow.

There has definitely been plenty of opportunity to prepare home cooked meals. a favorite past time for me. I find meal prep meditative. 

I love it here. 

I have made great art here. these past 2 years have been rather prolific art making times actually.

I will have to author a second city studio post that shares images from 2019 and Amber The Cat. 


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan photographer sunshine washington Mon, 27 Jan 2020 01:02:16 GMT
Making Journals The Creative Subconscious Way Making journals the creative subconscious way all started when I found myself down a youtube rabbit hole. i had been exploring/teaching myself quilting techniques that can be applied to paper. The youtube quilt/craft personalities are quite the thing. I found I could apply some of the quilting things they do to paper. other ideas? Not so much. The dance between craft and art is a very fine line. Its important to me to stick to a process that is sustainable, and unique to me. All said, one video was sharing how to make paper, and applying that homemade paper to an art journal. Her journal was quite lovely. 

I have a long history with journal writing. In current times I have several inexpensive composition books as journals. Each help me organize or strategize a particular area of my life. One new journal had my "things sara" notes in it. My friend Sara Galactica is teaching others about tarot, and astrology. I am following along and found the need to keep my notes all in one place.

I thought wouldn't it be fun to jazz that particular composition book up a bit. I decided to use old collage work and to experiment with machine stitching it onto a notebook. What was rather unexpected was how much vibe the art added to the book. I love the feeling of a blank piece of paper compared to one that you've written on. Take a stack of paper with all of your notes and ideas on it. or a working journal and there are intentions there. You can feel them. Even if it's a grocery list! The addition of the art seemed to notch up the intention of my notebook. I found the experience vibrational and rather affirming.


I shared this experience with Sara, who also collages, and asked her about combining our instructing efforts. Could creative subconscious collage be of added value to those who are learning about Tarot?  We spent a bit of time strategizing about it. To my delight the Vision 2020 Workshop was born!


After I made my first  journal, I made one for my daughter to honor her going back to school. She loved it. 6 months into her studies, she asked for another! For my birthday my daughter gave me my first tarot deck. I had the notebook ready to take notes as I began to implement card reading into my life.


All my 2020 notebooks are now collaged. I experimented with stitching some, with just collaging others. Most of them I used old art work that I had laying around. Some I will try and sell as blank journals.

As seasoned as I am with collage work, it wasn't a surprise to me how making these books, even if it was to make them "pretty" still offered the powerful reveal that the creative subconscious collage process allows.  

This yellow collage was made for winter solstice. anticipating brighter days.

The collages below were from the journal I made during January's Vision 2020 Workshop.

As I continue to learn more about Tarot, I have added artwork to my journal. I've paireda  collage with a tarot card pull, or an astrology prompt or in conjunction with the new and full moon. It all seems pretty new to me. The tarot part. The collaging is fitting right in.

The creative subconscious collage process no matter how it's prompted is always the same. To review here are the basic elements: 

1. prompt. this could be a thought, something you've read or listened to in a song, a tarot card, or an idea discussed among friends. 

2. image search. allow 5 minutes to tear images from a magazine, or flip through a pile of imagery. let the images pick you. Trust that they will.

3. assemble your collage. give yourself an allotted amount of time. 30 minutes is enough. Working under pressure allows you not to fuss too much. The goal is to get it done. Of the pile of images you have torn, usually there are a select few that will become your collage. Trust that.

4. Are you someone who prefers a controlled collage with precise scissor cut imagery? Or are you willing to tear your resources, be a bit more free in how you make and have interesting edges in your collage??

5. Refrain from pasting words in your collage. To collage is to assemble in a personally aesthetic way. Dream and vision boards are more where words have their place.  If you find yourself attracted to words. Consider a page just for words in your journal, or add the word/s to the back of your collage. Still compelled? Ask me to show you the typography and collage technique. 

6. Assess your collage. Note the words/meanings and or visuals that are expressed in your collage. If you are in a group share your thoughts and then allow those around you to offer comments. In our workshop each person passed their journal around for others to experience up close. We found that very meaningful and community building.

7. Take a moment to glue all your corners and edges.  




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Sun, 26 Jan 2020 22:24:35 GMT
For The LOVE Of February 2020 shot out of the new year cannon beginning with the launch of a new touring installation titled SINGULARITY. The 21 piece collage collection opened at Brazen Gallery + Shop on 1/04.  I missed the opening.  As a matter of fact. I missed days and days of all sorts of stuff. I was sick for almost a month! UGH.

I taught a brand new workshop on 1/08 called Vision 2020. The workshop, a collaborative project with tarot reader Sara Galactica sold out! Many participants signed on for the 4 other workshops scheduled in the upcoming year. 

January is now coming to a close.

February is filled with so much art show love I thought I'd sum it all up in one place.

i have an opening at Jackson Junge Gallery In Chicago on 1/24. One of my nude photographs was juried into a small 16 artist group show called "Cuffing".  There were 200 submissions from around the country. This show is up through February

Birds Eye View - the 8th Invitational at Smith And Vallee Gallery in Edison, WA opens February 1st

Art Walk on 2/07 has me at: 

Singularity's next stop - upstairs at the Downtown Coop

8 unique original Valentines Day Cards will be part of the annual Love For Sale Show at Social Fabric/Downtown Bellingham

Tour De Chocolate - my crazy quilt square collages are at Main Gallery 404 in Bloomington, IL 

Nude Stitched Collages can be found at Lucky Dumpter In Edison, WA

Leap a group show opens February 29th. ( leap year!! get it? ) at Fourth Corner Frames and Gallery. Art submitted is framed by Fourth Corner Frames highlighting what they do best with local art. 

and... to my delight another tour stop for Singularity was just added to the month of February. I was invited to be the featured artist at "Current and Furbish" on the 28th for Fairhaven's Fourth Friday Art Walk.  




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan photographer Fri, 24 Jan 2020 20:38:53 GMT
Coming Soon :: Birds Eye View At Smith And Vallee Gallery 12/13/2017 ---  my number was called for low-income housing. I had applied 25 months prior. Took 2 years to be approved. Not trusting at first that I had finally secured a safe and stable place to live. It was not until 2019 that I added my current address to my drivers license. Took that long to trust. 

Now into my third lease, I am clear that I have a home. one that I can afford while rebuilding my life. and a quiet, private space and place that i am ever so very grateful for.

The details of securing here, and moving happened very very quickly. My approval date and my moving in date were 4 days apart. once here, the place was so small that I had to unpack the 30 boxes just to make room. took me another 4 days. no stranger to packing and moving. I got it done. it was intense, and complicated.

This collage was made during that very hectic and emotional time.  It represents the folks who helped me move.

This collage was recently juried into the 8th Invitational group show "birds eye view" coming to Smith & Vallee Gallery in FEB.




I pondered a variety of "Birds Eye View" pieces to submit:



I asked a friend/ collector of my work for feedback on what art I was considering to submit and she ended up buying this one below!! Love when that happens. 



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Thu, 23 Jan 2020 19:21:23 GMT
2019 Year In Review Warning. Long post. If you read it all you are wonderful!!

In the late fall I like to sit with what I might want to say to those whom are on my holiday greeting mailing list and encapsulate the year past. it's usually short and to the point. I always mention the latest happenings about my kids or that I welcome new shaklee clients, or my feelings of gratitude.  

Lately I have things to tell about myself as an artist.  In that regard this year I wrote: 

"I participated in 29 art-related events in 2019. That’s up from 19 events last year and from about 9 happenings the year before. What a year! Highlights include: A HUGE (35’x7’) interactive solo collage installation! Imagine 15 banners of individual stitched collages with long dangling strings hanging in two rows from the ceiling. Impressive! I made prints of original work for the first time, I got published twice, and answered 12 calls for art. Some art calls were highly competitive. One made it to a gallery in Chicago and SOLD. 4 establishments now carry my work. I was invited to be a gallery juror, and secured an art commission. I am looking forward to the year ahead as I prepare for a touring solo installation that launches in January. I am booked to teach 5 workshops."

I am feeling rather proud. The above doesn't really say all that 2019 was about for me as an artist. I feel like I have done SO much!

In 2017 I declared that I would collage daily. I did that, loved doing that actually, and I continued doing daily collaging through a good portion of 2018, until I felt this indescribable overwhelm for the volume of work I was making. I felt buried alive in it. I felt emotionally stopped in trying to explain it all. I had to find a way to redirect my energies. I began to explore stitching my collage work. I felt distracted by wanting to learn quilting techniques that I could perhaps apply to paper.

All said I began 2019 with a bunch of ideas. One was to upcycle a former touring installation into a quilt. As first quilts go, and one made of paper. I definitely have a lot to learn. For someone who wanted to take a step back from making/producing. I ended up making a LOT of collages!

Here is an image of the quilt squares/quilt i repurposed from "Inspirit Form"

This hung in a group show at Make.Shift Gallery


My crow photograph had a wonderful flurry of exposure and success in 2019

It was highlighted in three galleries. It sold magnificently in two of them, along with two prints. It was published in a local arts magazine. Wow. 

Project Catwalk was an idea that became a thing all unto itself. The making had what I describe as a fluidity to it. It poured out of me. A huge volume of work was created to hang in banners in a retail establishment. The signature collage sold as a print. The collection had two months of exposure to the community


One could walk through these banners of collages. the exhibit was definitely experiential! 

When I dismantled this exhibit. I chunked it down to three new ideas. Ready to hang.

The idea of experimenting with the above project was to see what I could do in high volume producing that did not include frames. Purchasing and storing frames are a large challenge for me. 

2019 was also a year where I began to add prints or a lower cost option for purchasing my work. Pieces that were offered in print were carefully selected by Brazen Shop+ Studio. A local boutique that features my work. I also added theses odd quilt square style pieces that hang by a grommet to my inventory there. 

About 30 minutes from me is a neat little community that has a collection of galleries. It is where the photograph of the crow sold. I was encouraged to vend some of my stitched nude collages at a place called The Lucky Dumpster. I treasure being part of the art scene there and to have a place where this collection could be available.

Speaking of nudity.  I use to host a collage circle.  This summer while in the very middle of a monthly virtual session on FB. I was kicked out of FB for a nude collage I posted. It was such an invasive moment. I was furious. I ended up selling the original collage.

When i decided to stop facilitating this particular circle. I made another collage that morphed a woman and a bird.

My best patron/collector bought that piece too!!

This past summer I began to develop a new touring solo installation. It takes time for a long term idea to solidify. Having experimented with the concept of touring work before it seemed like a good idea to launch another collection. this one is 21 pieces and the theme is "singularity" I am reusing the frames from before. The collection opened this past week, and has multiple bookings in 2020. It ended up being a collaborative project. 

A very good friend of mine from IL would send me these retro film images in the mail.  Quirky circa '70's imagery. I developed these 6x6 ish squares that implemented her photographs and a crazy quilt style.  I LOVE how they turned out.  They were in the gift shop at the local museum during an impressive quilt show. Once that was complete I ended up approaching this lovely little gallery from where I use to live to host these pieces. The fact that the images were from a local historian that so many know and love, it was kismet that these collages show at this gallery. 

In the fall I try and pitch the idea of selling calendars. It's not been a huge hit sales wise but I personally value the process of selecting 13 strong images from the year gone by. 2019 was also the year of Amber The Cat. I of course took WAY too many pictures of her. Prior years I selected the files and let folks print from their own calendar maker. This year I decided to investigate in a local print shop for a print on demand amber the cat calendar. Turns out its a bit pricy. Still - the calendar is really beautiful! People bought it. Not a lot of folks bought it but enough that I could then take a % of sales and make a donation to the local Humane Society where I got her. 


I was invited to be a juror for a local gallery this year. 10 of us surveyed over 100 applicants for a select number of shows. The process was rather daunting. AND also very fascinating. It had me wonder if it was a good idea to have a super regimented art/project focus for 2020. I tend to be random queen of america. I leap at the variety of opportunities that come before me. MANY do not accept me. Which is OK.  I believe the process of applying to shows is part of being an artist.

I dabbled with a few ideas that I feel I could develop in 2020. We'll see what comes of them. Two are in the realm of photography. One around the still life topic of 3. and the other around the idea of reflections. 

This "three" project has had some positive responses and this particular photo has already sold. 

The trick with all things photography is display/presentation. Experimenting with reflections I think will be great fun!

The other idea, and please notice that all of these are in the photography realm, is about something called The Empty Fridge Club. a yet to be developed idea.

This project was a happenstance making. My admiration of an artist and her illustrations for a magazine that I loved many many years ago became an ode project that I developed with collage. I basically morphed her work and photography from issues of the magazine. it was simply a story I wanted to tell.  I have to find places that are willing to share this story and these 15 collages. They are such a strong collection of work. 

I was hired to do a holiday card commission this year. An artist painted two doves. She photographed them. Added the photos to a collection of magazine pages and sent it all to me in the mail.  She shared with me a bit about what she wanted her holiday message to be about, but mostly she said. I trust you!! 

This commission was another example of "fluidity" where I just knew what to do.  While the final piece is very me. It's more so, her and her husband and their message of love. I should add that this person is the largest collector of both my collages and photography.. She got to add the original commission to her collection. 

To close, I spent a bit of time today reviewing this past decade.

( this post has taken me an entire afternoon to write! Not a bad thing to do when sick with the flu!) 

Ten years ago, I was a very different person. With a complete different set of life circumstances. I had just emptied my nest. My children now independent of me, gave me the opportunity to focus on other things.  I loved being a mom. I also knew with all of me what to do as a mom. I had a different barometer for confidence. I would not describe myself as a confident person. I am a risk taker. I am a trust my gut or trust my instincts person. I seem to live my life from one brick wall to another. Not much is by design. Gumption and perseverance are part of what fuels me, and I somehow find my way. Creating home is a huge theme in my life. I've overcome way too many years of alone, trauma, and tragedy. There were way more photography/ art successes in the early part of the decade than I give myself credit for. Including an impressive artist residency. What a grounding creative experience that provided me. When I moved west. almost 5 years ago now, I arrived wearing my "i am an artist hat". Not really a plan, more like a choice. More like a "if I don't wear this hat now. when will I?" Wearing my artist hat while risky financially turned out to be a good choice. My work is a deep personal narrative of my life. the many things I have gotten to the other side of are reflected in my art. Oddly I don't have all the words to put this past decade neatly on it's shelf.  I just know as I make. More is added to the narrative.

Outside of what is shown above, I pulled together an additional sampling of collage work from 2019. The work is very unique, and it's organic path represents a lot of what this past year was all about.

This post is way too long for my liking. It does affirm the strong creative year I had though, which I guess is what a year in review is all about. Thank you for reading all of this. I treasure your support and encouragement.

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan Thu, 16 Jan 2020 19:04:39 GMT
"Singularity" Begins It's Tour! My preparation work is finally complete!

Singularity opens at Brazen Shop+ Studio for January's First Friday.

What a great way to begin a year! 

I experimented with this touring format once before. 

I invested in 24 11x14 wood frames. Took me a year to save up for them. Each frame has it's own box. I numbered the box and the frame making it very easy to identify the art from a collection.

The original frames had a white matt, I needed black. Not a problem. "Golden State Art" whom I purchased my frames from made sure that I got what I needed.

When I realized that I was missing a matt for this upcoming opening, they were the first folks I called. I had new matts in two days, shipping was free. and this was around Christmas time. 

Below is the signature collage image for the collection.

Would you agree, the black matt and frame just makes it pop!

I upgraded the type of tape I used for mounting art. Thank you Dakota Art Supply. I had issue with pieces falling off the matt mid show in prior hangings. this new tape is awesome. I am clear there will be no slippage. 


I also redesigned the tag system. 

prior I laminated tags and hung them individually with that gummy ticky tack stuff. lot of effort. tags got lost. i typed the wrong things on tags. and i felt bad that i had used something plastic.

my new tags use very inexpensive utility tags. cost me .54 for 24 of them. 

utilizing a friends old Remington, I typed my concept for each piece on a tag

I then hung them with back pear shaped pins from the saw tooth on the back. 

the concept looks uniform. 

I love how the idea turned out! I hope you do too.

A VERY special shout out goes to two friends: sara and gary, who spent time with each collage and gave me three words in reaction. I then added my own three words for a collaborative commentary. I began developing this exhibit months ago. 


BOOKINGS for this show are:


JAN - Brazen


FEB - Downtown Coop - upstairs

MARCH - Current & Furbish/ Fairhaven 


APRIL & MAY - Rock & Rye - cancelled due to virus

APRIL - Virtual Art Walk


AUG & SEPT - Cordata Coop. 


Yes the work is for sale!

original collages are $90. 

( this price does not include the frame. I reuse my frames )

8x10 prints are available. $25

*as originals sell, they will be replaced with a print. 


Not able to attend an opening?  The show is here in it's entirety. 






(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Thu, 02 Jan 2020 21:50:51 GMT
Registration is NOW OPEN for Vision 2020 Workshop  

Registration is now open for Vision 2020. "Illuminating The Wisdom Within"

and I am pretty darn happy about it!

My very dear friend Sara, and host of this fabulous collaboration/workshop writes in her newsletter yesterday:  

"If you're anything like me, you're still filtering through all the BlackFridaySmallBizSaturdayCyberMondayGivingTuesdayWTFWednesdayThirstyThursdayDEALSDEALSDEALS emails coming your way...."

We then proceeded to have an email banter about the stupid or "bonkers" as she put it, that's become the weekend after Thanksgiving. We found solidarity in our complaining. 

Our like-mindedness is one of the very many reasons I am partnering with Sara in this workshop endeavor. 

We both have so much to offer. Why not offer together? 

Here are the details about the workshop and open registration.  Space is limited. 

My part is to teach the creative subconscious collage process that I love and trust so much and have that process apply to a specific journal that can be used throughout the year to explore Tarot. 

The timing of this in the beginning of a new year could not be more perfect. 

In the first workshop we will steep in good company, share our expertise and make our journals. 

We will then meet 4 more times throughout the year to affirm and continue the process.

Journal covers are new to what I make. They are a rather random idea that found me in 2019. They are still a work in progress. Currently, I am using older collage work and repurposing them.

I use composition notebooks in my life. I have 4. One for finances/work, one for health/life, a newer one for things "Sara" or learning more about Tarot, and one for my writing work. Dividing them into themes seems to work for me. 

As it would happen -- a few have met their end. The first that i made. ( below ) took a notebook from new. and stiff. to something vibrational. and had it feel like a working notebook. I don't know how else to explain it but I love the vibe!! 







(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan sara holodnick tarot vision 2020 washington workshop Tue, 03 Dec 2019 19:32:59 GMT
Coming Soon A Collaborative Workshop :: Vision 2020 I am up to something rather exciting. limited registration for it opens 11/28 but i thought i'd give some of you a heads up about it, click here to learn more and to get on the mailing list!

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) collaboration collage karen hanrahan washington Fri, 22 Nov 2019 06:52:41 GMT
An Ode Collage Project I used to be a wellness blogger. I began researching blogs as early as 2005. By 2007 I was writing my own posts and through 2012, blogging and bloggers were a part of my everyday life. During that time I faithfully read a particular blogger named Amanda Soule, the name of her blog was Soule Mama. Amanda wrote about her family life in Maine. She was authoring books on crafting with children. She included her very large following in details about unschooling, her pregnancies, her various making/crafts and cooking, and her honest commentary about life. Things like having popcorn for dinner. again. Eventually they bought a farm and it was wonderful to be a part of as they made it their own, and learned along the way. I loved Amanda's authenticity. I'd never been to Maine. I felt like she took me there. I felt like all of us who read her were part of her family somehow. She hosted sponsors on her blog. Very select vendors paid a fee and got to benefit from her traffic and her audience. This method of monetizing her blog matched her sensibilities. I liked this. I liked her blogs crisp appearance and how consistently she posted. In March 2019, she stopped writing blog posts. I felt a real loss of sorts that I found hard to explain. I was with her and her family for 12 years. i was going to miss her. She left her blog for a variety of reasons. Where before she would write about her children and their dynamic as a family. Now with one off to college ( oh my gosh ) she wrote. " they are no longer her stories to tell." The tone had shifted as to what to write about. Gosh, I know that feeling. 

Along her way, Amanda adventured into independently publishing an ad-free magazine. It was called Taproot. In it's beginnings, and curious to be a part of it all, I subscribed. Unfortunately, after 8 issues, the cost even in an annual reduced subscription was out of my league. I did however affectionately observe the publication continue to become online. As it grew and succeeded, I felt proud somehow, like a "good for you" feeling. I loved the earthy, caring, very beautiful and thought provoking content. Original poetry, stories, illustrations, and photography filled its pages. The 8 issues I did have stayed in my home library all these years. 

All said, the above back round story is what brings me to the purpose of this post and project. 

After moving to Bellingham, Wa in 2015, I noticed a FB event announcement about an illustrator named Phoebe Wahl. I thought to myself, how is it that name rings such a bell. Later more local happenings occurred for Phoebe, including the opening of a brick and morter store, known as Phoebe Bird. A fellow artisan was one of the vendors at the opening! As I looked at the store offerings, there it was again. Something familiar. and then it hit me! Oh my gosh!! It's that lovely young artist from Taproot magazine! Wow! I was quite endeared to Phoebe's early work. She illustrated life and family in the PNW. Both Maine and the PNW were not familiar to me, but she made them come alive. Especially the homes in the woods. I love trees! 

I pulled out the 8 Taproot issues that I had carried with me for so long. My desire to tear them apart and collage with them was very real. Now seemed like a good time. Phoebe's work of course were pages I immediately pulled. As I looked at the pile, I found pairings and colors that would blend well. I started to make.

As these progressed I thought I should introduce myself to Phoebe and ask her permission before I made many more.  Add that I was an awkward geeky fan. I also wanted to wish her well.  It took months to finally have 10 minutes with her, but in that meeting I showed her the beginnings of my work and got her blessing.

Now I could finish the series. 

Behold the 16 stitched collages that morph Taproot magazine elements with illustrations by Phoebe Wahl.  My intent for the project was to honor the years I spent with this magazine and it's contributors.

The rich, natural, vibrant tone of the publications really presented themselves into the pieces. 

I am very happy with the collection so far.

I plan to do another collection soon.



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) amanda soule artist collage illustrator phoebe wahl karen hanrahan taproot magazine washington Mon, 18 Nov 2019 20:35:09 GMT
Make.Shift Gallery Juror I was invited to juror for the 2020 line up for Make.Shift Gallery.

I am honored to have just completed that task

over 100 artists submitted.

10 of us participated in the process

I learned a LOT

The year ahead looks very exciting for the gallery. 


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan makeshift gallery washington Sun, 03 Nov 2019 22:44:43 GMT
November 2019 Art Walk Nothing like an Art Walk on the 1st of the month to get your creative inspirations going. 

All that art work is up for the entire month. There is even a wine walk this month. 

I was part of the 6x6 fundraising event hosted by Dakota Art Gallery for Allied Arts. Impressively hung, there were over 300 6x6 tiles. Priced at $25 a piece. It's a great way to purchase some very great art at a reasonable price. 

I cropped this self portrait piece for the event. Cut it to just below the bottom lip to make it square. It's a mixed media art piece with a photo of mine, collage, stitching and that dynamic black paper. 

Wink Wink Boutique hosted over 50 submissions for the Natural Nude Project. The show was private and anonymous.  

If you recall I had a solo installation at Wink Wink last November with some of my nude stitched collage work. That collage work is now at The Lucky Dumpster in Edison/Bow.

I have my own "bin" for my paper quilt square work at Brazen Shop + Studio. Prints too.

and just a heads up,

I will have a solo show there come January.

Talk about exciting!! Stay tuned!

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Sun, 03 Nov 2019 21:28:18 GMT
Artists Collaborate To Design Holiday Card This commissioned collaborative art project was rather profound. 

I was paid to combine our two creative efforts and make something original. 

I would love to do more work like this. I found the process very invigorating. I feel especially proud of the finished result. More so, what an honor it was to be part of this project. 

She painted the beautiful whimsical dove. Photographed it. Popped the photo and other collage materials in the mail and said, "I trust you"

From what she sent me, I then made the finished collage. Complete with ribbon and stitching. The piece came together with such a knowing. It flowed from me effortlessly.

Together we made her holiday greeting! 

Determined to use all that had been sent to me, I then made a smaller whimsical piece from the ballerina. with white stitching, ribbon and lace and dangly threads. I used everything but those small bits of scrap. 

( before, after with stitching, and back side. )

When I emailed her the images of it completed, and asked her what she thought ...

She replied, "It's beyond my expectations! It's perfect perfectness! We are absolutely delighted"

She then sent images of her smiling face, and her husband with a thumbs up. ( so adorable. )

She then wrote, "So fucking happy with what you did!" 

Now I was smiling!!

Her intent was to create a message of peace and joy. a message of love.

As it often does, the materials she tore out of magazines reflected that. at least to me, and obviously to her. 

I feel the finished collage is symbolic, cheerful, and very vibrational.

I chose to combine the two doves because of who they are as a couple. side by side. in this thing known as life, together. 






(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan washington Sun, 03 Nov 2019 19:23:27 GMT
The Empty Fridge Club This is a long overdue post. Overdue in that I wasn't really sure how to write it. So I didn't.

In 2015 I qualified for the SNAP program. Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or Food Stamps. A long distance move, a bad roommate, safe and secure housing woes all had me leaning on the supplemental program as my budget for food for the month. My award was the highest the state would allow for someone single. About $6 a day. Over the last 4 years I made that budget work for me. When the pantry was bare, or the vegetable drawer neared empty. Instead of feeling that things were scarce. I played a game. How long could I make do with what i had? I called it the Empty Fridge Club

I played this game to stretch my food dollar, to use ever last penny, and to not waste food.

Admittedly, I also played this game because I disliked the task of grocery shopping. I was never one to hop in the car for a needed lemon. I knew folks who did that.  I knew of people who would go to the store more than once in the course of making dinner. Why? I personally that that was pretty ridiculous and a really irresponsible use of gasoline. 

Grocery shopping on a budget requires decision making and planning. Often I got that right. But when I was having an off day emotionally, the grocery store challenged me. I would stare at the bulk bin trying to decide what sortof almond to buy. Sometimes I couldn't decide. I've left the store because of my overwhelm. I've cried while checking out when I couldn't remember my PIN #'s. Sometimes the store would set off other triggers. This would be frustrating. Obviously I can't avoid the grocery store. Sometimes I've wanted to. 

I've been single since 1997. There is noone to help. I had to plan, commute, execute, pay for, commute, haul and unload and organize. Sometimes the task would just wipe me out. Going to the store less and buying enough for at least 2 weeks was one solution to that. Each place I've lived offered unique challenges. Currently, it's a small fridge and a commute to the parking lot where I park. I have to use a cart. One place it was mice. I had to think differently about my pantry. Another place I lived I had to haul groceries up 23 stairs. Depending on how large my shop was. That was a lot of trips up and down the stairs! 

For one period of time the nearest grocery store was 45 minutes away - each way. My gasoline budget allowed 4 trips into town a month. I had to manage appointments, errands and such all in those 4 trips. Remarkably. I did.  If I forgot the butter, it was going to be 2 weeks before I'd get some. I had to "make do with what i had" 

The making do way really surprised me! Over the years I made some rather amazing dishes with very little. Instead of saying all I have is one egg, an onion and a bell pepper.  I could say LOOK it's an omelette. It was another day I that I didn't spend. It was a way of finding abundance. with very little. 

I love to cook, I cook scratch and I eat for health. I live alone. Posting an image of what I was having for dinner on social media would often spark a response. It made me feel less alone at dinner time.  When I started playing the empty fridge club game. I wrote a tag.( #emptyfridgeclub ) Folks noticed. I later found out that my posts were inspiring to others. Especially regarding food waste. I would get my fridge and pantry to empty. I would use all that I had. Others would think of me as they faced the same circumstance.  I love that. 

Emotionally. A full fridge speaks to abundance for me. It's comforting. When the fridge is full. I have nothing to worry about. In my past when things weren't going very well. A full fridge consoled me. At least I could eat well.  

Today as I write, I am working an empty fridge. I thought I would have to go shopping yesterday. I surprised myself and instead found 2 more days of meals. I made a soup from potato and acorn squash. Not how I planned to use those ingredients. The soup turned out amazing.  And there were left overs. YAY! This making do stretches my food award. It keeps me within my budget.

I started documenting an empty fridge before I was awarded food stamps. I found within the fridge a sense of order, bright colors and the shapes were rather intriguing. I can't possibly share ALL of those images in a blog post.  This was part of why I didn't write about it. I felt overwhelmed by all the images.  I recently thought. What if I tell the story. and link instead to a portfolio of images that will grow as time allows. or as empty fridge captures are taken. This idea felt like a way to manage the story. I feel so good telling it. 

we have below. pickles, rice, zoodles, 4 radishes and onions. in the freezer: 2 jars of aronia syrup, catnip, and curry sauce. and empty ice tray.

Meet "Gert" My granny cart!! 


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) karen hanrahan photographer Wed, 16 Oct 2019 21:05:38 GMT
We Use Pine Pellets For Cat Litter Meet Amber. My feline companion and friend. She came into my life early 2019. She's a quirky, nervous, petite cali/tabby mix. I just love her. I post a lot of images of Amber on Facebook and Instagram, perhaps I take and post too many, but she's become rather beloved.

If interested I made a calendar with images of her to raise money for the Humane Society where I found her. It's for sale through December 2019. 

I wanted to write a post about using pine pellets as cat litter because to me it's like the discovery of the century. I am very happy with this method

When preparing to have a cat again I began researching alternatives to cat litter.

I wanted to avoid a plastic litter box.

I wanted to reduce the expense of litter.

i wanted something higher performing, but not a clumping product. 

I came across a variety of folks that use pine pellets.

and thought i'd try it.

When I saw that the humane society used pine pellets and metal pans I knew I would be able to transition her seamlessly. I also found that detail affirming. 

I absolutely love this method!! How is it I never heard of it before? 

Below are the details of how I use pine pellets for cat litter. 

I bought this stainless steel full steam pan online. it's 4 1/2 inches high. they come in 2" and 6" depths. IF I had the clearance for a 6" one. I would have gone that route.  

The image you see of it here is after I dumped the pine pellets from a week of use. see how clean and dry it is? I didn't clean it. I just dumped out the sawdust. the pan carries not an ounce of odor. 

I purchased two of these large stackable storage bins. I knew I'd be buying both pine pellets and dry food in bulk.  These bins are amazing. They are pleasant to look at. They stack. They keep bugs out. The twist off lid is easy to work with. They hold 30 lbs. One bag of pellets fits inside perfectly. This means that I am dealing with the management of this rarely. I bought 4 30 lb bags when I got Amber in Jan 2019. I have one bag left. It's almost October. Each bag was $4.99. ( that price is NOT a typo ) That basically means that it cost me $20 for a years worth of pine pellets. WOW!! I keep one bag in the storage bin and the rest are stored in my car. I live in a very small alcove apartment. Storage is challenging.

I also bought a big scoop. I experimented quite a bit with the sweet spot re: how many scoops to use. I use 2. If you are use to using regular cat litter you think you need to have a depth of product. Thats not so with pellets. When a cat urinates onto the pellets they turn into sawdust. so, the pellet matter expands. what started out as 2 cups of formed pellets doubles once it becomes sawdust. 

If you google about others using pine pellets there is this sifting process. I followed that methodology in the beginning. It was a real pain. Sifting helps separate the formed pellets from the sawdust. This way you don't waste any pellets. People were doing this by hand. I searched online and found a video sharing how someone made a sifter from two plastic bins. How could i do that with stainless steel? I began to experiment. I sourced a 2.5" full steamer pan, the kind with holes in it. I placed this inside the 4" full pan. This worked in theory in that when she used the box, the saw dust filtered to the pan below through the holes. But a 2.5" pan was not deep enough and sometimes she would pee over the side of it. Also after a few days the sawdust matter would touch the bottom of the pan with the holes in it. this meant when you pulled the pans apart to clean it. you needed to have a spare pan to place it in - otherwise you got cat pee sawdust everywhere.  This made for more clean up than i wanted. I have specific restrictions to the space where I could place her box. So, I completely nixed the sifting idea. Not really necessary.  

IF I didn't have a space/height restriction I would buy two 6" full steamer pans and one 4" steamer pan with holes in it. I'd stack the two full ones and have the ones with holes on the top.  When it came time to clean. I'd unstack the empty bottom full pan. I'd put the pan with holes in it and remaining pellets on top. I'd dump the saw dust. and add that pan to the bottom of the stack. I found a restaurant that let me source all these different stainless steel pans. 

The image below is a weeks worth of sawdust. The matter is perfectly dry. I remove her solids daily and flush them down my toilet. By the time a week goes by the saw dust trail is a bit messy. it's time to clean the box. There is a small hint of odor, but nothing like how the cat box would smell from other cat litters.

Here is my set up. This is all in my bathroom. The box is set up against the short wall that houses my linen closet. The door of the linen closet needs to open unencumbered. I am still messing around with the rug. but so far this positioning is the best. I have to laugh. All my other cats had to christen a fresh box. This was the first time that Amber did and I was taking pictures of my process. Too funny. Perhaps she knew her picture was going to be on the interweb. "look mom, we uses pine pellets!"

You can see the moist spot after she used the box and how it alters the pellet. 




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) amber cat karen hanrahan pine pellets washington Mon, 23 Sep 2019 00:24:49 GMT
What's Next For 2020 I have been in an internal space lately.

9 months into 2019. The year has been a flurry! A good flurry. Despite good, I also hit a spot of stuck. Too many ideas swirling in my brain. So I took some time to just think.

This intentional bit of quiet spired a variety of creative decisions that will move my art into the new year.

My first bit of exciting news is that I have a new solo installation that will launch in January at the hip boutique gallery known as Brazen Shop + Studio.



"Singularity" is a comprehensive installation.  21 11x14 framed collages.

A three word collective narrative will accompany the work.   

Since the collection is touring, I am prepared to sell fine art prints.

Singularity has 3 other bookings into 2020 so far. 


I dismantled my 2019 interactive collage installation known as Project Catwalk and curated the organic work into three smaller banner themes that can be shown individually or as a group.  The Eyes Have It, Fluid and Sci-Fi.  The uniqueness of these is how they connect together as banners with pear shaped pins and require no frames. I am hoping for some flexibility.


( The Eyes Have It )

( Fluid )

( Sci-Fi )

My touring black and white collage trio is ready for it's next host. These have shown for several years and have been as far as Seattle. 

In development: 

I plan to take these two 18 x 24 collages to the next level. The theme is People. I hope as the work develops to begin a narrative around the topic of social phobia. I think it could make a provocative solo presentation or bring a dynamic to a group show. Right now I envision these large pieces cut into quarters and framed, but hung in groups as if they were whole. 

I plan to continue making these crazy quilt style pieces. They were such a blast to make. I may embellish them with hand embroidery. A new skill. or even theme them. seasons? holiday?

I've been playing around with the still life theme THREE with my photography. Right now the idea is having them printed into small squares. perhaps repeating them and creating a pattern.

I want to do something with these photographs below that look like collage. They are reflections in glass.  

Can you perhaps see why I feel a tad overwhelmed by how many creative ideas I want to bring into fruition?

At the same time, I sure am looking forward to how positively dynamic the year ahead is going to be!!  




(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) art artist collage karen hanrahan photography strategy vision washington Wed, 18 Sep 2019 23:55:26 GMT
Amber The Cat 2020 Calendar The calendar is ready! The calendar is ready!!

The "Amber The Cat " 2020 Calendar is READY!

I have secured a print on demand circumstance for my 2020 Calendar. 

The theme this year is my beautiful cat Amber. 

The calendar is printed in the US in the town where i live. 

I am excited to share that I will be donating 10% of ALL calendar sales to the humane society where I adopted Amber. I will base that on sales up to mid-december. 


Add 8.25 to ship direct. US only.

( shipping cost for orders outside of the US are determined individually by weight and postal code) 

example: Prague - USPS First Class Mail International - no tracking $16.04


Dimensions: 8.5x11

There are two style options: spiral or stapled

the stapled is thicker and has a 2021 year at-a-glance back page. 

the pages of the spiral are lighter weight and has one less photo. 

if thicker pages are important to you in the spiral style. Add $1.10


Calendar with local pick up. $24.99 ( includes tax ) please specify stapled or spiral. include your phone #

Want heavier paper for the spiral? $24.99+$1.10=$26.09

Want it shipped?  $24.99+$8.25=$33.24. For the spiral with heavier paper $26.09+$8.25=$34.34

Shipped out of the US? Costs to be determined.


Want to buy one? 

Payment is through pay pal ONLY.

Find the "send $" tab at paypal  you can find me with this  email address .

locals - be sure to give me your phone#

include your address if we are sending it to you

Once a payment is made I will place your order with the printer. 

Allow 2 days for local pick up

Applied Digital Imaging in Bellingham. Hours M-F 8:00-5:30

PU will be in your name c/o Karen Hanrahan


View complete image portfolio of the calendar here.

I will be donating 10% of ALL calendar sales to the humane society where I adopted Amber. 


Hi. I’m Karen. 2019 began purrrrrfectly with a new furry feline member to my family, a petite cali/tabby mix. I named her Amber after her gorgeous auburn patches. I got her from the local humane society. When we first met she sat by me. I loved that. I would describe her as a super curious, affectionate, drooling purr monster. She has some odd/obsessive behaviors that took some getting use to. Much like me, she’s rather nervous, and at first, that felt a bit like looking in the mirror. She was supposed to be an emotional support for me, not the other way around. I wasn’t sure I could manage a high need pet. Over time though we truly found our way. I can’t imagine my day to day without her. Obviously, I am taking way too many images of her. In sharing my imagery, many in my social media community experienced our bonding and were endeared to her and our story. In July she got sick and I felt scared. The outpouring of support was remarkable. I thought a calendar might embrace that care so many offered the two of us. Originally from the Midwest, I arrived to Bellingham, WA in 2015. I have been a solo wellness entrepreneur for over 25 years. I am the mother of two adult children and a prolific narrative artist. When not taking too many pictures or preparing for the next art walk, I love to cook, take road trips and go antiquing. I spend a fair amount of time defending my feet from my Amber, who “just wants to play.”               


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) amber the cat karen hanrahan photographer sunshine washington Thu, 05 Sep 2019 21:06:31 GMT
Main Gallery 404 In 2009 my daughter started college. I bought a little house in Central IL to be near her. I had just started to teach myself digital photography. I began exploring involvement in the art community. I was looking for a place to belong and become a part of

At the time, Eaton Gallery hosted something called an art salon/artist talk. Pam Eaton invited me to speak as a new and emerging artist. During that meet one of owners of Main Gallery 404, a different gallery nearby, bought one of my photographs. She was my first art patron! Imagine my delight!

Main Gallery 404 was a beloved hub in central downtown. Artists paid a small fee for wall space. A single artist was highlighted monthly in it's fabulous window. On art walk, the place was packed and I always made sure to stop and support the many artists I came to know there. As time went on my patron and her partner sold the gallery. In current times a new owner, Rachel, is now running things. She too is an artist. We admire each others work. I am excited to see the direction the gallery is taking.  

Remember that first art salon I attended? I met someone very special that day. 10 years later she's a very dear friend of mine. Despite the distance between us, she and I remain in touch. I get mail from her monthly and inside she sends me these random old photographs. Like pictures of her moms two cats, or the air show, or over exposed geese. I have affectionately used many of the photos in my collages. The work is unique. One of a kind. Ruth is a historian, a writer, and a person with a huge heart. Her friendship means the world to me. When I lived near, she and I spent a lot of time together. Road trips in autumn with a stop for pie and coffee. Just because. Things like that. I can't do that with her any longer but I can tuck a part of her into these unusual art pieces. It felt really good to include her.

I asked Rachel if I could be represented by Main Gallery 404. She said yes. The terms were fair. Now Ruth can see them in person, and others from the community who love Ruth as much as much as I do can see them too.

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist illinois karen hanrahan main gallery 404 Wed, 04 Sep 2019 02:21:32 GMT
22nd International Open At Woman Made Gallery - Chicago 8/09/2019. Update. This SOLD to a member of the board of the gallery. 


It is such an honor to be part of this exhibit. especially with this particular photograph which on it's own has had a superb year. 

Here is the artist statement I submitted:

Upside Down Crow

The reality of upside down crow was a happy accident.  I printed the image on metal as an experiment. The tail of the crow got cut off. By turning the piece upside down The crows reflection became whole.

At the time this photograph was taken I was at just on other side of pending homelessness.  Three years of unexpected events had resolved. I was awarded housing. I was safe. I would no longer have to worry about a place to live. Crossing this physical threshold was monumental. Once I was in my own space. My emotions spiraled. My mental state turned upside down. My years of flight and fight took its toll.  I did not recognize myself in the mirror.

Surviving trauma can express itself in unexpected ways.  Looking from a different perspective often offers a reveal. Reflected beauty gives perspective. 

“Being upside down isn’t all that bad,” says the crow.  

Karen Hanrahan lives in the Pacific Northwest. She is a narrative artist known for uniquely capturing day-to-day moments with photography and subconscious collage.

16 x 20 Photograph On Metal

Price $300

Below is information about the show sourced from Woman Made Galleries Website. The opening reception is August 9th. I will be there in spirit!!


22nd International Open

August 9–August 31, 2019
OPENING RECEPTION:  Friday, August 9, 6-8 pm

CHICAGO — Woman Made Gallery is pleased to present its ‘22nd International Open’, an exciting exhibition juried by Dolores Mercado. Included are works by 40 artists exploring conceptual and material boundaries through video, photography, mixed medium assemblage, collage, painting and sculpture.

Exhibiting Artists: Lisa Barcy, Siara Berry, Dimelza Broche, Christine Bruening, Chicagokim, Jiwon Choi, Jeanie Choi, Kylie Renee Clark, Parmalee Cover, Megan De Paula, Christina Dietz, Char Downs, Susan Fecho, Judith Roston Freilich, Amalia Galdona Broche, Lea Goldman, Gwen Gunter, Karen Hanrahan, Cindy Hansen, Carol Hayman, Amanda Jean Iverson, Jamie Kost, Laurie LeBreton, Cynthia Lee, Stephanie Lerma, Ellen Starr Lyon, Emily McKenna, Terri Messinides, Kathy Nida, Mary Phelan, Amy Pleasant, Cheryl Prisco, Sekana Radović, Shani Richards, Evie Richner, Nichole Riley, Lisa Venditelli, Dominique Vitali, Mia Weiner, and Casey Weldon.

Juror: Dolores Mercado is the Associate Curator at the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) in Chicago, Illinois, and former Associate Director of Education and Senior Arts Educator. She studied at the National School of Painting, Sculpture and Printing La Esmeralda in Mexico City, The Academy of San Carlos from the UNAM in Mexico City, The School of Video of the University of Guadalajara, and at the School of Visual Arts of the University of Guadalajara.

Mercado was the Curator of Women Artists of Modern Mexico: Frida’s Contemporaries; La vida sobre papel: Judithe Hernández; Contemplations: Dan Ramirez, Works from the Permanent Collection; Deportable Aliens: New Work by Rodrigo Lara Zendejas; La Muerte Niña: Day of the Dead; Carmen Parra: Suave Patria; Rito y Recuerdo: Day of the Dead; Quilt Me A Story: Nuestros relatos (Immigration Stories); Maquila Blues: Oscar Moya; Fragmentos: Pilar Acevedo; and Abyss: Rocío Caballero among many others. Mercado has also Co-curated Memoria Presente: An Artistic Journey; !No se olvida! Remembering the Tlatelolco Massacre and Rastros y Crónicas: Women of Juarez, and others. She has hosted Camino Tierra Adentro radio program at WRTE 90.5 FM (1999 to 2004, MFACM), and Alquimia radio program at WRTE 90.5 FM. (2004-2006) NMMA. She was a coordinator and collaborator for the Women Artists of Modern Mexico: Frida’s Contemporaries catalog and Coordinator for Nahui Olin: A Woman Beyond Time catalog, NMMA.

Mercado has been in charge of several Symposiums, Conferences and Events and has participated as a panelist in Art in Response to Violence, Northeastern University; Ni Una Más: Remembering the Missing Women of Juarez, DePaul University; and Translating Tragedy into Art, a conversation with Filmmaker Carlos Carrera. Dolores Mercado has exhibited in the US, Mexico, Spain, Canada and Nicaragua.

(Banner image: artwork by Emily McKenna)

All events are free and open to the public. Donations are always welcome and appreciated:

Woman Made Gallery
2150 S Canalport #4A-3
Chicago, IL 60608

Gallery Hours: Thurs–Fri noon–6p.m. | Sat–Sun noon–4p.m. | Admission: Free

Enter through Parking Lot at North Entrance on 21st Street
Dial 271 on Callbox … and then press ‘Call’


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist exhibit karen hanrahan photographer woman made gallery Wed, 31 Jul 2019 19:17:10 GMT
Singularity Welcome to my next touring solo exhibit.


The opening will be in January 2020.

Stay tuned.


Creative Subconscious Collage offers voice to the inner depths of the mind.

The making often reveals itself in themes. 

Singularity represents the theme of things singular.


Often I use the three word method for defining a mood, an idea, or in this case these collages. 

I asked two respected wordsmith friends to allow "Singularity" to speak to them.

Both know me a person, and as a creative.

I added my own three words to offer a collective.


I believe art is something uniquely encountered by the individual viewing it.

I value tremendously the varied experiences that my art provokes in others.

I value it even more when those impressions are shared with me.


Is there a collage or two, or more that speaks to you?

What does it say?   


About the artist.


Thank you Sara and Gary for your word sharing.





Karen - Ethereal. Arise. Delicate.

Sara - Sensitive. Introspective. Ethereal. 

Gary - Taste. Shimmer. Darkening.










Karen - Wispy. Comfortable. Cheerful.

Sara - Obscure. Clip. Connect.

Gary - Pressed. Crisp. Not.










Karen - Tormented. Story. Nebular.

Sara - Expand, Contract. Protect.

Gary - Convection. Torn. Hide.










Karen - Peachy. Floral. Blooming.

Sara - Bud. Bloom. Ripen.

Gary - Blossom. Fruit. Repeat.










Karen - Whimsy. Folk. Divided.

Sara - Boundary. Cracking. Opening.

Gary - Spring. Brightening. Midstream.










Karen - Statuesque. Fiery. Stoic.

Sara - Illuminate. Reveal. Topple.

Gary - Ageless. Tilting. Finite.










Karen - Silence. Horror. Secret.

Sara - Predator. Prey. Hunger.

Gary - Toothed. Sheathed. Both.










Karen - Flow. Perspective. Inverted.

Sara - Plan. Prepare. Wait.

Gary - Windows. Light. Sheer.










Karen - Leap. Direction, Persevere.

Sara - Reflection. Abstraction. Freedom.

Gary - Upside. Rightside. Yes.










Karen - Structure. Divide. Decide.

Sara - Solitude. Decision. Journey.

Gary - Arcs. Firm. Torn.










Karen - Whimsy. Unexpected. Sunday

Sara - Delight. Distract. Deflect

Gary - Happy. Gift. Spreading.










Karen - Elegant. Driven. Poise.

Sara - Reach. Dream. Disappear. 

Gary - Swept. Down. Prize.









Karen - Wish. Blossom. Becoming.

Sara - Presence. Connection. ideation.

Gary - Arc. Up. Everywhere.










Karen - Elegant. Driven. Poise.

Sara - Ground. Charge. Move.

Gary - Standing. Grounded. Flying.









Karen - Sculptural. Torment. Circular.

Sara - Carved. Balance. Totem.

Gary - History. Linear. Balanced.









Karen - Private. Covert. Mask.

Sara - Remembering. Healing. Resolving.

Gary - Youth. Light. Enlightenment.










Karen - Floating, Climb, Mermaid.

Sara - Descend, Succumb, Allow.

Gary - Down. Down. Tranquil.

17.Karen - Floating, Climb, Mermaid. Sara - Descend, Succumb, Allow. Gary - Down. Down. Tranquil.










Karen - Laughter. Peek. Blue

Sara - Torment. Support. Refuge.
Gary - Peering. Joy. Unconventional.










Karen - Monster. Reject. Floral.

Sara - Bold. Direct. Unafraid.

Gary - Clarity. Turmoil. Cleaved.










Karen - Possessed. Reject. Floral.

Sara - Forward. Backward. Here.

Gary - Coming. Going. Unsure.









Karen - Contemplative. Shadow. Friend.

Sara - Inhabitated. Whole. Holy.

Gary - Shadow. Claimed. Home









Below is the entire portfolio. or click here to open each one larger.

(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan singularity washington Sun, 21 Jul 2019 18:24:21 GMT
Revisiting Creative Subconscious Collage I started teaching my creative subconscious collage workshop in 2000.

Goodness, that's 19 years ago now.

I developed the workshop based on a book, but really my workshop structure was based on words. Each word, as a prompt of sorts, would/could have it's own meaning. That meaning shifted depending on the person. 

Later, in collage circle I used words as themes for the month and/or as ways to open and close a session. Just like the book I originally resourced, I found a third party source of wisdom to inspire my facilitation. This had me not making things up as I go. This kept the process of sorts grounded.

Speaking of process. It is absolutely uncanny to me how after all this time that a prompt will yield collage work that has profound insight into a particular theme or person.

All I can really add to that thought is what makes this type of collage work so so very interesting and successful over and over is trusting this process. 

Below are 5 collages I just made. 

For the sake of privacy I am shifting the word prompts up a bit. The words below share the same meaning:





( that's me!!) 

From the making of these collages other words found me: 



holding on





Those additional words also fit into the theme. 

I think the collages speak for themselves. 


(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist collage karen hanrahan washington Tue, 16 Jul 2019 22:45:44 GMT
Coming July 2019 I wonder if a single post like this listing a blast of current things happening is a good idea?


July Openings - ART WALK July 5th

Regeneration - Making Sense Of It All - Make.Shift

You Can Take It With You - Fourth Corner Frames

Solo Installation - Bayou On The Bay

In Shops Now

NEW Stock - Brazen Shop + Studio

Christmas in July and other - The Lucky Dumpster - Edison/Bow


Mixed Media - Gift Shop At Lightcatcher Museum in conjunction with the quilt show

Permanent Exhibit - Photographs at Sumas Historical Society And Museum



(Collage Artist And Photographer Karen Hanrahan) artist karen hanrahan washington Wed, 26 Jun 2019 23:14:08 GMT
Group Show :: Regeneration :: Making Sense Of It All At MakeShift  

Regeneration :: Making Sense Of it All

Do you ever feel like you want to tear it all down and start over?

This July at Make.Shift Gallery, five Bellingham-based artists explore the process of beginning again. Lurm (aka Adrien Converse), Johnny Gialanella, Karen Hanrahan, Jess Molnar, and Monica Ramey each bring a unique approach to the process of breathing new life into old objects and images.

Lurm’s “Art Breeding” series involves cutting up and reorganizing the artist’s older works into a brand new creation -- each “child” piece comes from the materials of two “parent” works. Gialanella’s digital collages historical images into a modern narrative exploring themes of inadequacy, longing, and mental h