Meet the Maker: Karen Mabon

We can remember the first time we clapped eyes on one of Karen Mabon’s scarves, the cute characterful illustrations sending our imaginations racing and silken fabric setting our hearts a-flutter…

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Using a combination of modern techniques and traditional processes, British artist Karen Mabon’s scarves are printed in Italy and brought to life on the finest silk through layers of hand-drawn images—the lustrous texture of the silk-twill blend allowing the beautiful, bold hues and unexpected illustrations to truly come to life.

Instantly uplifting, with their vibrant colours and whimsical designs, the creatures and figures across Karen’s silk scarves bring a little of the unexpected into the everyday, whether drawn and knotted, devil-may-care, over the shoulders, fluttering in the breeze fastened to a bag strap, or tied around the neck.

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We spent the day watching Karen paint and create in her studio. There, amongst the paint pots and blossoming prints, we got to know her a little better.

When I was little, I thought I’d be… an artist and I still can’t believe it came true!

To me, style is… being authentic and not dressing for anyone other than yourself!

My wardrobe is… not so much of a wardrobe as a pile on the floor I have to wade through. I also have ‘the chair’ which is a kind of purgatory for clothes which are too clean to be in the washing basket yet too dirty for the wardrobe.

The best way to wear my scarves is… with reckless abandon!

My studio is… where I go to get lost.

My design process starts with… me wishing I had something that doesn’t exist yet.

My favourite design moment is when… the first fabric samples come back from the printers! I get butterflies opening the packet.

Illustration is… about communication and making images that people connect with personally.

My typical day starts with… Instagram. I know, it’s really bad. I wish I was less of a millennial.

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My inspiration for the Anthropologie pieces started with… a visit to the V&A museum; I’ve recently moved to London and I still can’t get over the fact that it’s so massive and free!

I’m happiest when… I am with friends, or watching Love Island. Ideally both together.

I’m most proud of… somehow managing to create a job for myself which involves drawing and dressing up in Anthropologie clothing.

The soundtrack to my life would be… I’m going to say Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen’ because I find myself quoting lyrics from it on at least a monthly basis when attempting to offer up advice to friends.

My spirit animal is… Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill. I find his incessant ability to stumble into awkward situations highly relatable.

Curiosity piqued? Discover more of Karen’s collection of silk scarves here.

Photo Credit: Alannah Cooper.

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