paper Gold Canyon, AZ
Member Profile

K.P. O'Hanlon Studio
Karen O'Hanlon

Karen grew up in California. She always enjoyed creatng gifts for family and friends. In 1972, after attending college, Karen became a flight attendant for Western Airlines. In 1987 Western Airlines merged with Delta Air Lines. The merger allowed her to travel internationally. Her regular route was Narita, Japan, which exposed her to many different arts.
In Narita, she studied traditional Japanese paper art. There was a restaurant that was owned by Yoko Kimura, who would close from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. so that she could instruct flight attendants from all over the world how to make washi eggs. Karen was fascinated with the "washi ningyo" (three dimensional paper dolls) she saw in a glass case and wanted to learn how to make them. In 1995 sensei Yoko introduced her to maaster paper artist, sensei Yuriko Kodoma. Sensei Yuriko instructed Karen in the construction of the "washi ningyo". So that Karen could appreciate the kimono, sensei Yuriko made pattern pieces from a Japanese bus schedule, which was card board. Karen focused on the kimono which took five years to master. The kimono is not origami. Origami is one piece of paper folded into objects. In contrast, the kimono is constructed of twenty-two pieces of Japanese paper which she precisely cuts, folds, layers, glues, mounts and frames in a shadow box frame under glass.
Karen has expanded her use of Japanese paper by creating ginger jars in order to stay with the Asian theme through out her art. The technique is iris folding which originated in Holland. She uses approximately 40-50 folded strips of paper. The strips are taped and glued into place over a pattern creating a spiraling design that resembles the iris of an eye or camera lens.
Karen works in her home studio in Gold Canyon, Arizona. She feels honored and priviledged to have been able to study the art of the kimono under sensei Yuriko Kodama. There is only one other artist in the United States who studied the art of the Japanese paper minature kimono under sensei Yuriko Kodama. Karen plans to pass along the art so that the art lives on for future generations to enjoy.