Karina Thompson

In June 2020, we interviewed Karina Thompson as part of our series ‘In Conversation With…’. Below is an overview of Karina’s interview. You can find the recording of the interview on our IGTV. Find us on Instagram at @junctionartsUK

Karina is a textile artist with over 30 years of experience. Junction Arts has worked with Karina on two banner making projects, both of which she spoke to us about.

Karina has many different strands to her work; she makes large scale textile artworks, helps communities to express themselves creatively, does some research work – specifically electronic textiles and also teaches. Karina also offers technical support for a sewing machine company.

Karina’s Mother is an embroiderer; she trained at Goldsmiths in the ‘50s and trained under Constance Howard. Constance is prolific in the embroidery and textiles and has fantastic coloured hair.

Karina was able to get a lot of fabric through her Grandmother who worked in a department store and was able to source the fabric from window displays.

Karina learnt to sew at an early age on a hand-cranked sewing machine making dolls clothes and other things. Early on, Karina realised that needle and thread was a drawing tool.

Karina attended art school and did a BA and an MA specialising in embroidery. After her MA she got a residency with a community and participation element. Karina feels that she may not have been very good as it was her first job but this project started the process of making her own work and helping other people make. This was 32 years ago now.

In the ‘90s there was a Catatonia album ‘Equally Cursed and Blessed’ Karina feels this sums up her job!

Karina felt she was inspired in her own work by the projects she did with Junction Arts.
The first project was making a new banner for New Bolsover Model Village.  https://junctionarts.org/community-projects/10160-2/

Before this Karina hadn’t had much to do with marching banners. The idea of a message on a piece of fabric is really interesting to Karina and her practice. Communication is a strong theme for Karina which she has taken into her own work.

When Karina is developing ideas she puts them in ‘jam jars’ in her head, sometimes they sit quietly and others are like blue bottle flies trapped in the jar that drive her to make work.

Karina’s project ‘Recovery Quilts’ began after a period when she wasn’t very well and had ‘makers block’. The series began with a quilt which said ‘what are you going to do with all your anger?’. This was the beginning of her using messages in her work.

Karina’s recovery quilts appear colourful and bright but they are not necessarily easy or nice messages. Karina uses Japanese fabric called Yuzen that gives a luxurious feel with lots of metallics and bright colours.

In 2018 Junction Arts approached Karina to work on the national PROCESSIONS https://junctionarts.org/community-projects/processions/ project marking 100 years of some women getting the vote. Karina felt that this was a landmark project to be involved in and spoke about making the banner and the tricky task of combining different groups of women’s ideas into one unifying piece.

During the COVID-19 pandemic Karina has been making ‘COVID Quilts’ one saying ‘Go Home. Call your Nan. Tell her you love her.’

Follow us on instagram @junctionartsUK

Follow us on instagram @junctionartsUK