by Ken Kemp
Energized by light and color and design, from the earliest of days, K. Zurmely (Karen) enjoyed putting together patterns and blossoms and shapes into a welcoming space.
Her creations have become popular as auction items for some favorite non-profit events. Her unique designs catch the eye, invite engagement and then capture the heart.
The three pieces we share here are colorful collages – inspired by Marie Antionette, the indulgent and last Queen of France. The monarch’s fashion creations were more than decadent. They were the subject of fascination and endless curiosities. The Marie Antoinette's head-dresses inspired a generation of extravagant floral and feathered hats in Paris and beyond. Today, they seem excessive, and Karen has taken it all to a new level.
Karen combined the Queen’s style and her fascination with three-dimensional art. She calls the creative process “tactile engagement” – the touch and feel of the combined objects gives her direction and inspiration. As we inspect the detail in each, we find nostalgia, warmth, and shared memories from periods not-so-long ago gone by.
The Woodland Nymph Collage
Inspired by walks in the woods and exploration in the forest, the Woodland Nymph is a playful reminiscence of nature. You’ll find artifacts past and present – like an eye chart, a necklace, a broach, a boy on a sled, Tarzan and an articulating fish and more.
Study the detail in the collection of photos. See what you find, and what memories and stories are triggered in the discovery.
The Marie Antionette Collage
When I first saw Karen’s Marie, I blurted out, “Wow! Over the top!” Thankfully, Karen laughed. This Marie is more than a floral arrangement, more than a caricature of the former Queen. Like the Woodland Nymph, it is a beautifully arranged collection of nostalgia nestled in the carefully arranged blossoms. Karen has an eye for treasures kept in closets and drawers and cases that may otherwise be forgotten, but here, they are brought back to life.
Enjoy the flowers - but look closely in the gaps. You’ll discover an old pocket watch from Grandma’s house, a chocolate (made of blown glass), photographs with color consistencies and movement and flow.
A 70s Thing
This one is Karen’s Covid 19 project. It began with a family Zoom call just a few months ago. Karen invited her family members to call out memories of the 70’s – inventions, news events, politics, movies, music hits, family memories. She then took those ideas and began collecting and assembling “A 70’s Thing," featuring a classic 70s model with full, long, straight shiny abundance of flowing hair.
Check out the detail. Nixon. Apocalypse Now, The Brady Bunch, Peanuts. What else do you see?
Karen's work is a joyous celebration of wonder and memories. We're looking forward to hearing more.