KAREN MCCARTHY is a natural fiber artist from Bluffton, SC, who has found her true passion designing and creating pine needle baskets. She uses traditional Native American coiling and weaving techniques to create one-of-a-kind baskets that are embellished with beads and unique findings. Pine needle basketry resonates with Karen’s love of the outdoors and she enjoys spending time gathering and preparing pine needles that are indigenous to South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. She has studied pine needle basketry from some of the most highly acclaimed and talented creators of this art form, including Nadine Spier (San Diego, CA) and Clay Burnette (Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts) and she has been creating baskets for the past 8 years. Her interactions with these artists have challenged her to push the boundaries of this art form. Her work is currently displayed in two local galleries – Beaufort Art Association and Hilton Head Art League.
One of Karen’s passions is teaching pine needle basketry. She recently retired from a 30-year career teaching high school and college mathematics, which included being a founding member and teacher at the prestigious Cortina’s Visual and Performing Arts School in Los Angeles. Her unique teaching style allows her to motivate and inspire students of all levels. Karen finds it very exciting and rewarding to share this art form with her students and to see their enthusiasm as they progress and create beautiful pieces of their own.