Karen’s diverse background started as a fashion and accessory designer with Tail Feathers Fashions Ltd in Vancouver, Canada. Her romantic designs quickly became collectibles and drew critical acclaim from top fashion editors, magazines, newspapers and television shows.
After a painful divorce Karen relocated in Florida and used her animal art as the foundation for the wildly romantic costume jewelry line, Tigre Lis Enterprises. The designs were sold to upscale retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, amongst other retailers throughout the US. The company opened showrooms and offices in Canada, New York, Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles. The designs met critical acclaim internationally and Karen was one of the American designers invited to present her line at a top fashion venue in Paris. Tigre Lis has been collected by celebrities and appeared in some of the world’s top international fashion magazines such as Vogue, Marie Claire, Woman’s Wear Daily, Woman’s World, Seventeen Magazine and Family Circle.
She then branched out and developed custom collections and signature pieces for celebrities and major corporations who wanted to market their “brand” through the lucrative gift industry.
During this period a number of things happened that created a change of focus and new direction. She wanted to help other people who were struggling so she authored a book called “ Barracuda in Bunny Slippers.” It was a self-help guide written with the premise that it is never too late to become strong enough to start over and go for your dreams.
Karen outlined how she developed her business from scratch, with no funding and against a lot of supposedly insurmountable odds. She shared how she had then found herself feeling less and less fulfilled by her apparent success and participation in the fashion industry. What had always been her true passion was her love for animals, birds and the environment, not the latest fashion trends and style. She realized she no longer truly cared about what anyone wore.
At this crossroad she received several unsolicited letters from health care professionals working with Autistic children. Both letters were written independently from each other and came from different parts of the country. Both professionals had taken the time to write because they felt they were witnessing something remarkable. They expressed their wonder at the fact that Karen’s creations got their patients communicating. The Autistic children who were usually totally uncommunicative wanted to know more about what Karen’s animal characters were thinking. Something had touched their hearts and caused them to open up.
At the same time Karen was contacted by an agent who had worked with one of the most successful companies in the field of animation. He was retiring but had become aware of her work and reached out to offer his encouragement. He told her that he felt she had a special talent – she had her own “voice.” He said “There are a lot of good artists but very few possess your ability to give life and dimension (heart) to a character.” He then generously passed on valuable guidance she would eventually need in developing product for the licensing industry.
Concurrently she experienced a series of spiritual dreams. The most vivid involved the Florida Manatee and it was a heartfelt cry for help.
She had reached a spiritual turning point – she changed focus, decided that she wanted to devote herself to expressing a celebration of life – she wanted to use any gifts she might possess to open hearts.
She was then approached by one of the Country’s largest greeting card companies who asked if they might license her images. She decided instead to open her own card line and Wild Jungle Chicken Inc was born. You can visit it at www.wildjunglechicken.com
Karen now creates from her beach house on the tiny island of Indian Rocks Beach in Florida. Her sailboat “Free Bird” bobs on waves lapping against her dock. Dolphins jump in the bay. Exotic tropical birds stand around posing and offering unsolicited advice as she paints. Some of them think they’re pretty funny.
Her multi-talents in writing, painting, her zest for living, her lifetime passion for animals and her ability to see the positive through failure has brought her continued success.
She believes we are in this life together. What we do in some way affects others. Smiles are contagious and one of the nicest things we can do daily is to pass one on.
It’s said, “ All the world’s a stage.” Karen hopes that instead of getting too caught up in the drama – we can learn to appreciate life’s gentle comedy. She now gets cards and letters from people around the country who collect her art and have been touched by it in some way.
Karen works to support sanctuaries for sea birds and dolphins. She is currently working on a book about Mermaids and Manatees and hopes that it will someday become an animated film… and that it can provide hope for Manatees. She appreciates the support she receives. If you enjoy her work and would like to help, she would be grateful for any contacts that might be of service in forwarding it.
Karen is a spiritual dreamer who spreads the light.