Karen Dam certainly gets around in the world of textiles. If you go to church to hear Sunday’s lesson, for example, there is a strong possibility that the chasuble – white, green, violet or red, depending on what part of the church year we are in – worn by the celebrant was woven by Karen Dam using the special damask weaving technique.
The rugs she makes are mostly double-woven rugs made of flax and wool and the colours blue, green and red are often present.
“I like bright colours,” she says, referring to the sky and the sea, which are a source of inspiration to her for shades of blue and green, while berries and heather, for example, are sometimes the inspiration for the shades of red and violet that she uses. The rich array of autumn colours is another strong influence on her textiles. She uses these same colours in plaids as well as in cotton and flax place mats, woollen sweaters with leather trim or wool and silk scarves.
Karen Dam has been weaving since 1970 and opened her own workshop and shop at her home in 1987; these days, she says she is “pretty much booked up”.
During the summer, she has lots of orders to fulfil when people come into the shop and fall in love with a jacket that she does not have in the right size. So, she has to go to the loom and make the customer a jacket that does fit.
People can also have rugs and soft furnishings made to order if they want a particular colour or size.
When making textiles for church use, she likes to visit the church to make sure that the textiles will harmonise with the setting.
She has an arrangement with a shop in Hørsholm, Bornholms Kunsthåndværk, which sells items for her, and she has exhibited on Bornholm as well as in Copenhagen, including at ‘Magasin’ – Scandinavia’s largest department store – on Kgs. Nytorv. In 2002, she was one of the island’s textile artists displaying her skills at the Bornholm Museum.