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Karen Keenan

Duluth, MN
North House Folk School photo of instructor, Karen Keenan

As a child, Karen was interested in her mother’s hair brooch from Våmhus, Sweden. Years later, with many needlework projects under her belt, Karen read about the tradition of Swedish women entrepreneurs in the 1800’s who traveled from their homes in Sweden to major European urban areas to make hair jewelry for others. At the time, Karen was unaware of where this growing curiosity in hairwork would lead. Then, in 2018, supported by a Reviving Folk Arts in the Midwest Fellowship through the American Scandinavian Foundation, Karen traveled to Våmhus, Sweden, to learn how to make table-made hair jewelry. In October 2019, the Nordic Center in Duluth, MN featured an exhibition curated by Karen of hair jewelry called Woven: Traditional Swedish Hair Jewelry. As an accompaniment to this exhibition, Karen offered a course on how to make a table-made hair bracelet. Karen continues to be fascinated with hairwork and is eager to share what she knows with others. When not doing hairwork, she can be found playing flute, making and teaching pottery, or digging in the garden.

Visit Karen Keenan's Website

Current Courses Offered by Karen Keenan

2.5 Days
Woven hair bracelet

Woven: Traditional Swedish Table-Made Hair Jewelry

Beautiful objects can be made with common and unusual renewable resources. An almost forgotten form, hairwork, the unique folk art of creating jewelry from human hair, is loaded with Scandinavian history and culture. In this course, students will  learn how to set up and make four patterns on a traditional…
Fri, Oct 23rd, 2020  –  Sun, Oct 25th, 2020
Day 1: 1pm-5pm; Day 2 & 3: 9am-5pm
Instructor: Karen Keenan