Karin Kohn of A Window into Whimsy is a self-taught artist who finds her joy in combining bold colors with daring patterns. She got her start by making bags and other accessories for friends and family. As more requests came in, she began doing art shows. Having grown up attending shows with her mother, she was very comfortable in this setting, and fell in love with the possibilities that came about by combining her love of color, art, and social interaction. As she discovered herself as an artist over the last decade, she has added many items to her repertoire, including mixed media artwork, many sewn fiber items, and a variety of graphic designed items. She was a member of the Board at the Fulton Street Artisan Market, and takes great pride in the Grand Rapids local area art movement. She takes great delight in participating in the Festival of the Arts in downtown Grand Rapids, which she has attended since she was a child. Her work has been featured on the cover of On the Town Magazine as well as The Grand Rapids Press. Never losing the passion for her work, Karin is still driven by the love of color, the thrill of discovering a new technique or piece, and the joy of seeing a customer smile.
As a little girl, I watched my mother sell at craft shows with her best friend. I had no idea that those memories would grow to be my destiny as a creator. As a new mom in the late 90s I was given a sewing machine, and my love for creating grew from there. Starting with totes and small accessories, I made for friends and family. Any seamstress will tell you...collecting fabric is as much of a hobby as sewing is! So, to buy more fabric, I sold my wares at local art shows and markets. That was over 15 years ago, and honestly, I can’t imagine a life with out it. Not only do I love coming up with new items to sew, I continually try new exciting techniques... so you never know what you’ll find in my selection. Just know this... it will be colorful, happy, and whimsical. And hopefully it will bring you JOY, because that is my main goal!
What makes your art work unique or distinctive? I am often told that the thing that makes my booth at shows inviting is my love for color. I make a happy space for those to enter and look around. Even while picking out fabric to create with, my eye catches color more than pattern, and that reflects well in everything I create.
What inspired you to start creating your art work & how did you turn it into a business? My (ex)mother in law, an amazing woman, purchased a sewing machine for me when I was a new mom. I hadn’t considered it before then, even though a grew up with my mother sewing all of the time. As a new mom I found so many projects that I wanted to complete. After sewing for family and friends, I started to sell small items in the local country club where we were members, and it grew from here. 15 years later I can’t imagine life without art shows and seeing the smile on a customer’s face when they find that perfect piece.
What do you most love about the creative process? Honestly, any seamstress will tell you that buying fabric is a completely separate hobby... and boy do I excel at it! I love picking out just the right colors and pattern. A close second would be that feeling when a piece is made, and it came out even better than you ever thought it would.
What do you least love about the business side of creating & selling art? Honestly? The post office. I really dislike bringing packages to the post office. I much prefer getting to chat with the person who is purchasing and see why they love it so much!
What do you enjoy doing besides making art? My husband and I have 6 kids between us... and that keeps us pretty busy. In our spare time we love to go camping in our little happy pop up camper. In the winter when we can’t go camping, my husband and I have season tickets to Broadway Theatre Guild in Grand Rapids, which I think is the best money I spend all year! Who are some of your favorite artists? Juicy Christians out of Grand Rapids is AMAZING! (We agree! She's also a Yellow Door Artist!) What are some of your favorite reads? I am part of a book club and honestly, my favorite part is the discussion afterward. I don’t have a favorite genre or author. For me it is the learning I can do while reading and discussing it after. Quotes you love or live by? "Create your own sunshine" & "Be the reason someone smiles today."
You can see more from A Window Into Whimsy at Yellow Door Art Market and online!