Karen Shifton

         Karen grew up in the Pacific Northwest. She is the eldest daughter in a family that has always believed in the value of items fashioned by hand. Her mother sewed, her grandmother knitted, and her dad whittled and created new tools out of old ones. Her aunt tried just about every craft known, before settling into quilting. Karen made cloth dolls as a hobby, to create a few presents for her children. Cloth dolls became a more serious outlet for her artistic endeavors when she discovered that making them encompassed many distinct skills. She incorporated knowledge from childhood lessons plus college training in drawing, painting and sculpture. Part of the challenge has been to create something exceptional from what is nearby, and to do it in an original way. Over the years Karenís dolls have received various awards and recognition throughout the US and Canada. After many years of making dolls for a retail market Karen expanded herself into the realm of pattern designing and teaching. She welcomes each teaching engagement as an opportunity to meet other doll makers from around the country and to share her knowledge of dolls. The purpose of Karenís dolls has always been to make life a little more lighthearted and less serious. She has expanded this principal and now includes teaching her students some NEW skills and adding to their confidence. She has and continues to make her creatures in the Puget Sound area of Washington state where she lives with her husband, daughter and three old cats.