Karen Christensen is participating in an Emerging Artist show at Fort Gallery this week

Retired nurse ventures into world of mason jar art

Langley's Arts Alive Countdown: Wondering what to do with those old mason jars? Karen Christensen has an idea that people are eating up.

A retired registered nurse, with  a passion for art, a drive for creativity, an art studio/workshop in her home, and an appreciation for succulents has merged several of her interests into a new endeavour being showcased at this weekend at Art’s Alive.

Karen Christensen, a 63-year-old Newlands area resident, is one of  close to 200 vendors who will be showcasing her latest wares at the 23rd annual arts festival being held in Downtown Langley City this Saturday, Aug. 20.

“My art tends to be whimsical and I love working from my imagination with a balance of simplicity and fine detailed lines,” Christensen said.

Although she’s explored a number of different art forms through her years – everything from pen and ink, to graphic design, to art cards showcasing her photography and art, to watercolour and acrylic painting – she’s recently found a niche combining succulents and mason jars.

“This is a fun endeavour,” said Christensen, explaining that she will be showcasing various sizes of succulents and painted jars at this weekend’s show.

“Well, I love succulents. I love Mason jars. And, I love Annie Sloan chalk paint. So I put the three together,” she said, elaborated how she makes every piece a little different.

The process typically starts with the painting of the jars with chalk paint and apply clear wax.

“And, then, I sand areas to give a distressed look. I also use dark wax to antique the jars. I also put jut or cord around the mouth of the mason jars,” she explained.

The final touch, Christensen said, is planting a variety of different kinds and sizes of succulents into the jars.

More recently she’s also applied her painting and wax techniques, turning the jars into vases versus planters.

“I spend numerous hours creating. I have no set time to do my art, just when I feel like it. Which is most of the time. I love painting, waxing and distressing the jars. I love creating… It fits fine with my lifestyle. My time is my own,” she told the Langley Advance.

The succulent and mason jar containers are a relatively new undertaking for Christensen, who rolled out the idea in May.

But, she said she’s been having some success selling them for between $10 to $30 each at the local farmers market. and is excited about the opportunity to reach thousands of art lovers this weekend when they flock to Langley City for Arts Alive.

Testing her sales pitch, she said: “Your patio table would look great with one of my succulent painted mason jar. Succulents are low maintenance and easy to take care of. They love the sun.”

In addition to this weekend’s booth at Arts Alive, more of the Langley artist’s works are also on display this month in Fort Langley.

Christensen is one of the emerging artists showing in an open studio program at Fort Gallery between Aug. 10 and 28.


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