Working with materials that are intrinsically seductive, sensuously attractive and easily made beautiful, has led Karin Birch to vigilantly ruminate on meaning, on how art requires more than surface appeal to engage the emotions and the mind. Material alone may mesmerize for a moment, and visualized time caught by hand-work is captivating, but there must ultimately be fertile ground for deeper and more meaningful experience. Her varied materials allow her to synthesize the naturalness and fluidity of paint with the patterned regularity of textiles, resulting in a depth of aesthetic complexity absent in a simple painting or textile piece. Her work proceeds from slowness, from observing, imagining, and from a fascination with pattern and line.
“Hand embroidery and hand stitched beadwork, in the fine art context, are engaging to me, as the maker, in several ways. First, the meditative process of being outside of time, quietly, repetitively, filling in space. Second, the challenge of making aesthetically demanding and ultimately meaningful work using simple materials and processes in a very low tech labor intensive way. And third, the pure beauty and sensuousness of the materials including the tactile surfaces, color and the effect of light and movement.”