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West Dorsettinyhouse

Do you dream of building your own home and wonder about off-grid living? Then join us for a two-week practical course in West Dorset.

In this hands-on course we will build a small house structure in local timber and make it weatherproof using corrugated roofing, natural-fibre insulation, and wooden cladding.

You will have a go at the various tasks involved in studwork, insulation, fitting windows and doors, cladding and roofing. You will be guided in the use of both hand and power tools. Alongside the building work we will talk about the design process and reflect on how you might decide to build your own. The course intends to build your skillset in no-waste production of affordable housing – while you have a good time. Everyone can do it.

By the end of the course participants will have explored all the basic elements of creating a tiny house, including:

  • Basic building design and understanding the advantages of different layouts
  • Building a simple studframe for a building that fits a 2.5 m x 5.4 m trailer.
  • Sourcing and installing cladding and insulation
  • Sourcing and Installing windows and doors
  • Building a simple roof
  • Using hand and powertools safely and working as a team.
  • Making informed choices about power and energy systems.

As a part of the course special guests will deliver sessions on issues around sustainable Tinyhouse living such as energy and water-use, planning and community building. Guests include:

Victor Crutchley will take us for a walk through his woods at North Eggardon Farm. He will talk about the diversity of the woodland environment, his way of growing trees for timber and explain what is involved in timber processing. www.northeggardoncarthouse.co.uk

Pat Bowcock from Ourganics – Evolving Systems will share experiences from her life in off- grid permaculture. Pat is one of the leading lights in permaculture design teaching and is a great guide in the principals of People Care, Fair Share and Earth Care. www.learnpermaculture.com/ourganics-evolving-systems

Chris Rudge who since 2006 has advised and installed Off Grid power for people and organisations in need of it, will share his knowledge on various sustainable energy systems to heat and power your Tinyhouse. www.offgridsystems.co.uk

The course is run in collaboration with Tim Crabtree of Dorset Woodhub and Wessex Community Assets (WCA)and is part of the Raise the Roof project. It will be led by designer, maker and constructor Karen Hansen.

Karen Hansen has worked in design and make with natural materials in West Dorset for 25 years and her experience in construction is based on carpentry, traditional timber-framing and strawbale building. After reconnecting with her danish roots she now works with material culture in education and to establish communal work practices that enable local action for sustainable living. The structure is built to her design and she is covering all material cost involved. www.karenhansen.co.uk

The practical details

The day program will run from 9.30 – 17.00 and be at a pace where you can both be active and have time to reflect.

Week 1: 26-30. July with guest speaker Victor Cruthcley and Pat Bowcock

  • You will learn about the woodland environment and be introduced to timber growing and selection for construction uses.
  • We will make the panel structures for the house, erect them and carry on with the roof.
  • We hope to celebrate with a topping out ceremony.

Week 2: 23-27. August with guest speaker Chris Rudge and Pat Bowcock

  • You will learn about sustainable material choices and consider circular economic solutions.
  • We will install the windows and doors and the structure will be insulated and made weatherproof.
  • We will line the interior, making it ready for fitting out and talk about energy systems to run the home.
  • We will celebrate and relax.

Course Fee

The course fee is £720 for both weeks and will cover lunch and all tools and building materials. You also have the option to join us for a single week at £420. We recommend you come equipped with safety boots.

To apply, please email training@wessexca.co.uk

Places are limited, but feel free to get in touch even if you can’t afford the fee. We are working at finding ways to offer bursaries.

Site and Accommodation

The course will take place in Nettlecombe near Powerstock.

You can camp for free in the nearby cider orchard. Alternatively, you can choose to pay to stay at Ourganics in Litton Cheney (hot showers, kitchen facilities) or in one of the Shepherds huts at North Eggardon Farm. Please enquire for further details: training@wessexca.co.uk


WCA was founded in 2005 and is a community benefit society run by locally-based practitioners who help social enterprises in Devon, Dorset and Somerset to access land, finance and other resources. It was a key organisation in the development of community land trusts in the UK and has supported over 100 community enterprises in fields such as local food, renewable energy, employment workspace and affordable housing. The focus is now develop a training programme in sustainable construction, that will enable people to engage in the design and practical building of their own homes.

This course is run as a follow on from the Tiny House Course of 2020 which was held at North Eggardon Farm. 14 Dorset based unemployed  people who was offered free training in sustainable construction joined forces with the tutors Karen Hansen, James McLellan and Victor Cructhley to build a Tiny house which is now on its way to be erected as a dwelling for a homeless person in Somerset. 

Tim Crabtree- developer of research and innovation within WCA is coordinating the Raise the Roof partnership with Common GroundThe Arts Development CompanyDorset Woodhub and Bridport Town Council, and the project was fortunate to secure funding from the Golden Bottle Trust, Dorset AONB and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (the latter provided funds from the Education & Skills Funding Agency matched by the European Social Fund) to start off  the process of prototyping initial designs and testing local supply chains. www.wessexca.co.uk/2020/11/raise-the-roof. The Raise the Roof project are developing further pilot projects and training programmes which are under way for later in the year. www.raisetheroof.info


TINY HOUSE, DORSET tiny house dorset

The free training course for unemployed people introduces participants to sustainable construction, and basic timber and carpentry skills, through the building of a ‘tiny house’.

This programme is linked to the Raise the Roof project, that has involved local organisations such as Bridport Town Council, Common Ground and the Arts Development Company working with the architects Assemble Studio. The aim is to develop the infrastructure to enable the building of affordable housing using sustainable materials grown in Dorset. The tiny house coursetinyhouse dorset acts as a pilot and creates an opportunity to prototype new designs and work processes. When completed, the tiny house will be donated to a homelessness charity to provide accommodation for an entrenched rough sleeper.

The course is taking place in a workspace provided by local farmer Victor Crutchley in West Dorset, with timber sourced and processed from his own woodlands. The skills learned on the course will be applicable to a wide range of contexts, from sustainable construction, to joinery such as doors and windows, to designing and making furniture. The course will include a basic introduction to building design, as well as forestry and timber processing . 14 Dorset-based people will join the team of builders and course tutors that include furniture designer and constructor Karen Hansen, carpenter James McClennan and sawyer Adrian Janssen. The project coordinator, Tim Crabtree, is the founder of several local social enterprises including Dorset’s farmers’ markets, the Local Food Links school meals service, Dorset Community Energy, and Bridport Area Development Trust.




20191218_144004 (2)skraldTESTLABORATORY

I am currently working in the Testlaboratory at Sydhavn Recycling Centre i København, Danmark.

The challenge I have set myself is to develop circular economy projects and explore material-lifecycles.




The Animal Totem was created through working with all the children in Eastover Primary School, Bridgewater. Based on their drawings of the class animals, the children worked with woodcut and print. Their work was drawn up and carved on to the Sweet Chestnut pole. The pole is now part of the school playground where it stands as a symbol for creative collaboration.

The project was supported by SPAEDA and InspirED

www.spaeda.org.uk      www.inspiredsomerset.org.uk

EXHIBITION 19 March – 21 April 2018


Contemporary Applied Arts presents Colour Theory, a kaleidoscopic selection of exquisite decorative and functional hand-crafted objects to celebrate spring.

This is the first in a series of showcases and exhibitions celebrating CAA ‘s 70th anniversary year, in which the gallery will focus on the innate harmony between the work of all their maker members and on the non-hierarchical approach of showing remarkable objects of varying materials and styles side by side, which is so characteristic of the multi-disciplinary organisation.



SUSTAINABLE DESIGNb-chair-5111.karen-hansen-png

B-Chair is made from fresh Dorset green roundwood poles which are split, shaped and airdried. After this initial drying the back components are planed into taper and steambent . This process allows me to use young trees and thinnings from local woodlands in sustainable management. The wood is part dried during the steaming process and the final drying is done in a kiln without waste. All prepared components are assembled with the Somerset Lime seat-boards. These seat boards are machined using CNC router and finished by hand. The chair is sealed with hardwax oil which is easy to maintain.

B-Chair can be used with A-table or any other table of your choice.

Beautifully comfortable an available to order.





The new version of the B-Chair has been made from Ash harvested at Prime Coppice in Dorset. The roundwood poles were split, shaped, steambent, dried, reshaped and assembled with the Somerset Lime seat-boards.

The chair will be on show at Bridport Arts Centre as part of the winter selection of work by 50 Dorset Makers

Open Tues-Sat 10am-4pm

Bridport Artscentre



MARSHWOOD ARTS AWARDS FINALArts-Awards-17-Your-Private-View--------------------------------invite

Celebrating Creativity across the South West.

The exhibition is the fourth in a series that began in 2008, showing judged and selected entries of work from the best of four categories in Painting & Drawing, Photography & Digital Media, Sculpture and Applied Arts.

The show is designed to highlight and support the creativity across the arts and is hosted by Bridport Arts Centre.

Open daily, 10am-4.00pm, closed Sunday and Monday

Free entry





MAKE ROOM features traditional and contemporary furniture by award-winning Devon Guild Members and explores the processes of their making as well as influences, inspirations and practices.This furniture exhibition is a much anticipated biennial fixture in the Riverside Gallery programme.

Open daily, 10am-5.30pm, Riverside Gallery. Free entry.




The best new work from Devon Guild of Craftsmen Members.

Every summer, the Jubilee Gallery plays host to their annual Members’ exhibition. The show provides an opportunity for the Devon Guild membership to create new and exciting work, highlighting some of the best contemporary craft from across the South West. The work on display is selected by a panel of Members and independent panelists.

Main Gallery. Open daily, 10am-5.30pm. Free


Exhibition 1-2 JULY 2017



A pop-up exhibition in Wolfeton Riding House where examples of work by some of Dorset’s nationally renowned designer makers, working in ceramics, glass, paper, stone, textile, wood, minerals, and metals shall be shown. The 50 makers exhibiting on this weekend shall be featured in the publication ‘Fifty Dorset Makers’ which will be launched and available for sale.


EXHIBITION 23 Feb – 14 May 2017

design museum dkUNFOLDS

The Danish Cabinet Makers Association FOLDER SIG UD – UNFOLDS

The Danish Cabinet Makers Association is celebrating its 25 year anniversary with an exhibition showing and demonstrating the essence and pleasures of high quality craftsmanship. The viewer is allowed to touch, smell and unfold the work on show.

The exhibition presents 25 unique works produced by some of Denmark’s most talented furniture makers who have used the ‘cube’ as their reference point.

The Association was formed with the purpose of bringing together progressive cabinetmakers and like-minded craft-professionals to develop and exchange knowledge. The organisation works to promote, develop and preserve the best of Danish craftsmanship in wood.

The exhibition runs from 23.Feb to 14.May 2017




STANPIT, CHRISTCHURCH, DORSETgroup 3 news update 17 png

Commissioner: Christchurch and East Dorset Council

The recent installation of benches at Stanpit Recreation Ground in Christchurch sees the completion of work begun in 2014 and done in consultation with the ranger team and Friends of Stanpit Marsh, to renew and develop the entrance, signage and seating facilities on site.

The site-specific and unique designs reflect the natural environment and tell the story of the richness of life seen through the year.


Stanpit Marsh is situated on the north side of Christchurch Harbour, just below the confluence of the rivers Avon and Stour. The 65 hectare site has an unusual combination of habitats including salt marsh with creeks and salt pans, reed beds, freshwater marsh, gravel estuarine banks and sandy scrub. It was designated as a Local Nature Reserve in 1964 and in 1986 as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Marsh is home to over 300 species of plants, 14 of which are nationally rare and endangered. The diversity of plants supports a strong community of wildlife: invertebrate fauna includes a great number of butterflies and dragonflies and there have been 313 bird species recorded, some of which breed on Stanpit but most arrive with the spring or autumn migration.


Reading Circle.

‘The carvings on the backs of the Reading Circle benches are there to remind you of all that exists between the large scale planetary bodies down to the small scale microscopic plankton organisms. In amongst it all you will find the human element and I hope the Reading Circle – the circle of reeds – will inspire stories, conversations and play to help us understand the natural balance of life.’  Karen Hansen


THORNCOMBE WOODSkarenhansen tts bench 1 web

Exhibition and work-in-progress of contemporary sustainable design in furniture. Using local woodland material Karen tells the story of making, from tree to finished piece.

Hardy’s Birthplace Visitors Centre, Thorncombe Woods, Higher Bockhampton, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8QH.

Open 10am-4pm daily



A closer look at natural structures:                                 With found material from the woods you will have the opportunity to look through microscopes and hand-lenses, discover how plants work and have a go at drawing the beautiful details you see. FREE sessions.                 Monday 30. May 10 – 12.30, limited spaces

Trees and their ecology:                                                                                                                               “A guided walk through Thorncombe Woods to look at the ecology of the woodland environment as a whole dependent on the  geology and topography of the area and with a closer look to explore the characteristics of the individual tree-species and their immediate habitat and under-storey of flora and fungus. ”                           Thursday 2. June, 10.30 -12am , £4 donation welcome

Hapa -zome workshop:                                                                                                                               “Hapa-zome or ‘leaf-dyeing’ is a creative method using the natural forms and pigments of plants to create a unique print design onto fabric. The pigments are bashed out of the plant using small pebbles or wood to leave a near perfect print. You will have time to forage for materials in the woodland and will be shown the basic method of Hapa-zome.”                                                                                                                                                   Monday 6th June, 10-12 am. Cost £6

Woodland management and local timber use at Thorncombe and Puddletown Forest.                          “A guided walk through Thorncombe wood and Puddletown Forest to look at trees and the material we extract for our timber needs. How do we manage the balance between wildlife conservation and timber use? “

Date to be confirmed, £4 donation welcome

Spaces limited for all of the above – so please book 01305 251228 or hardysbirthplace@dorsetcc.gov.uk


TWO MAKEfinsished-cabinets-2

Two Make plots the shared output of ten pairs of established designer / makers who have created new work together. The partnerships are diverse, ranging from life-long friends who live in different parts of the country, makers working together for the first time, and makers who wanted to learn new skills. Two Make explores the process of collaboration: sharing ideas, working through problems, encountering risk, and exploring uncertainty.

Curated by Miranda Leonard in partnership with Dr. Nicola Thomas, University of Exeter and the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen.The exhibition is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Arts Council.

‘On the basis of our use of material in wood and glass and their respective qualities of resilience and fragility we are working to create two multi-layered, modern and colourful pieces which have within them the story and depth that reflects the dialogue between friends who challenge and support each other ‘                                 Karen Hansen & Rowan McOnegal
Catch this touring exhibition at the Museum in the Park, Stratford Park, Stratford Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4AF

from 1 January 2017 to 19 February 2017.




The new Through & Through Swivel Seats are installed at Hardy’s Birthplace Visitors Centre.

The seats are constructed from sawn Cedar planks which have been cut from trees sourced at Batcombe Woods near Evershot.The planks were extracted from the wood and transported to my yard, where they were sawn into planks on a portable Woodmizer Mill. After being stacked and airdried over the summer, some of the wood was cut into leg components and further dried to a lower moisture content in a dehumidifier. The legs were turned and fitted to holes drilled in the prepared planks and the whole construction will now dry and acclimatise on site. Cedar is a naturally durable and very stable softwood. Other Sweet Chestnut trees from Thorncombe Wood have similarly been sawn through and through into planks and stacked for drying. They will in time be made into hardwood swivel seats.

The swivel action allows the seats to be arranged into the desired position to accommodate various uses and groups of people and to be stored away in a minimal space. The planks are resting on each other and are therefore at incremental heights, allowing all ages and sizes to make comfortable use of them.

The seats were designed and made for the ‘Of the Wood’ project at Thorncombe Wood near Dorchester and are part of the story of what happens when you fell a tree and convert it to timber for use in daily life.

‘Of the Wood’ wishes ‘to celebrate and tell the story of wood and its distinctiveness through uses, skills, interpretation and creativity’

For further information on sustainable use of our local woodland resources and how to get involved please use the contact form


THE ELECTRIC IDEAelectric-tramways

In its time the Bournemouth Electric Tramway system provided much needed public transport from Poole to Christchurch and was completed in 1906.

To avoid unsightly overhead wiring on the central section from Poole Hill to Lansdowne, this part of the system was initially equipped with the rarer conduit system of current collection. Strengthened by horseshoe shaped cast iron underground yokes set every 3ft 9ins, a concrete walled conduit was laid beneath the road surface.  Due to continual complications in the changeover mechanisms from overhead wire to conduit supply, and the increased cost of maintenance, this rare system was abandoned in 1911 to allow the overhead trolley system to run throughout.

When redeveloping the traffic system around Horseshoe Common in 2014 several of the specialised cast iron yokes were uncovered.

‘The Electric Idea’ sculpture wishes to highlight the importance of the development of new clean ways of transport both then and now.

Designed and made by Karen Hansen for Bournemouth District Council.

In the spirit of development and challenge the project has involved  techniques in large scale steam-bending as well as iron and bronze casting and I thank all the people who lend a hand in making it come together.



Commissioners: Cherwell District Council in collaboration with housing developer Careys New Homes.

The seating design was developed on the basis of visits to the village and the site during 2013 as well as consultation with the local community of Milcombe. Through the research period, with walking and observing, speaking to people, reading the historic documents available and thinking of how  ‘Oak Farm’ fits into the bigger world picture, various ideas came forth but the main focus has stayed with Oak itself.

The final design was therefore inspired by Pendunculate Oak – Quercus Robur (Latin: ‘Sturdy’) and what it represents:

Pendunculate Oak is native to the UK and most of Europe. Both pendunculate and sessile oaks are without doubt our most important wildlife trees in the UK and they support many hundreds of species. ‘Among these are the larvae of several hundred moths including the festoon, frosted green, small brindled beauty and blotched emerald, as well as the rarer false mocha and heart moth. The oak is a devoured foraging tree for many species such as blue tits, great tits, tree creepers, chaffinches, woodpeckers, wood mice and dormice and the acorns are enjoyed by jays, wood pigeons, squirrels and wild boar. Long-lived or veteran oak trees provide a variety of decaying and dead wood habitats which support many varieties of wood-boring insects. Cavities in the tree provide nesting space for owls and bats such as the noctule, Bechstein’s, barbestelle and natterer’s. Decaying oak supports a wide range of fungi’

‘Research by the Forestry Commission following the recent concern about the conditions for the presence of Acute Oak decline decease has been linked to the co-occurrence of the Agrilus biguttutas beetle.’

It is this ability to share and support life, whether it is beneficial or detrimental to the tree itself, that I would like to highlight via the design. In view of climate change and the support of a sustainable future, biodiversity is crucial to our long-term survival.

Translating these thoughts to the Milcombe community and towards the prospects for developing a good relationship between old and new, I wish to draw attention to this generosity of spirit and richness of community, with the hope that both new and old residents will respect the past, present and future variety of folk, remember to look for and value the hidden detail and keep a positive attitude to the richness of life.

Design: The proposed seating creates a comfortable space for people to meet and communicate and the positioning on site allows anyone from the village or passer-by to use the facility.

Within the structure are carved elements showing oak plant detail and images of other plant and animals species that form part of the oak ecology and biodiversity.

The seat is constructed from Dorset cleft green and air-dried Oak.

With best wishes for the future of the community

Karen Hansen



The exhibition explores aspects of the relationship between furniture and textiles – occasionally predictable, often surprising, always beautiful. A fusion of handmade wooden furniture together with delicate hand woven, stitched and sewn textiles.A table 2 karen hansen

The exhibition features my new A-Table-2. This table design derives from using small green round Ash logs. Each of the A2 legs is made from half of the split Ash, which after cleaving goes on to be turned, shaped and dried into the final component.The legs are detachable for easy transport.

The elliptical A2 table seats 6 – Dim: W:1000 x L:1480 x H:730mm. The extendable version with a loose 480mm leaf insert accommodates 8 people. Available with rectangle top.

The table is treated with the traditional Scandinavian natural soap finish.

WOOD & FIBRE  runs from 13. Sept – 26. Oct at Walford Mill Crafts  in Wimborne



UNFOLD – Exploring the process of collaboration

Creative practitioners combine their mediums to develop new and innovative results.

Karen has been collaborating with aluminium artist Caroline Parrott.wall-lamp.1-png

“We were keen to make a functional item and settled on the idea of lights quite early in the process. Initially looking to combine laser cutting techniques in both wood and aluminium to assist the construction detail and decoration, we changed direction to focus on a bent and laminated wood design with a rolled aluminium shade dyed with colour and surface pattern. From the success of the adjustable wall reading light we are now looking to develop designs for freestanding desk lamps”

UNFOLD runs from 5 April – 18 May at Walford Mill Crafts  in Wimborne


Exhibition: April 8 -12, 2014

INSPIRED – Festival of Silver.festival-of-silver 

A selling exhibition of contemporary work
by Furniture Makers and Silversmiths

The Goldsmith’ Centre, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 5AD

Tues -Wed – Friday opens 10am – 5pm
Thursday late opening 10am – 7.30pm
Saturday opens 10am – 4pm



Featured Artist: Nov 2013 – Jan 2014

Contemporary Applied Artscaa

Karen Hansen has recently become a member of CAA – the home of the best in contemporary British Craft – and a selection of her latest work is currently on show at the new gallery in 89 Southwark Street, London.


Exhibition: Oct 26 – Nov 23, 2013

seta-tableMarshwood Vale Arts Awards

Winners of the awards exhibit work alongside the judging panel. Categories include Painting/Drawing, Photography, Sculpture, Ceramics, Textiles and Design. Karen is the joint winner of the Design award showing the new SETA Design for table and stools. Looking at natural form the design takes inspiration from a close study of the horsetail plant.


Design Launch Sept 2013

SETA Table & Stoolhorsetail-stool

Looking at the microscopic detail of the prehistoric horsetail plant – equisetum – how it relies on pressure from within to stabilise the lightweight outer ring of the stem – and how the branches are formed and extruded through the nodes, I have translated and condensed this beautiful natural framework by using only a minimal amount of structural components. The simple composition incorporates the dynamics between the basic sphere, triangle and circle, to give a sense of movement

The structure is built of slender wedge-shaped components extending from the inner to the outer circle and interlocking in a simple triangulation. It is a ‘knock down’ construction for easy transportation and storage.

The ball is available in colour and I am currently looking at the possibility of supplying the design with the ball element as a customised 3D print to individual specification.

The Seta design was selected as one of the winners of the Marshwood Vale Arts Awards – Design 2013

Exhibition: July 27 – 9 Sept 9, 2013


The exhibition explores the power of the circle through a variety of different and unexpected mediums.

Join us for the launch on Saturday 27. July from 2-4pm

Walford Mill Crafts, Stone Lane, Wimborne, BH21
Open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm







EXHIBITION: JULY 9 – August 3 2012


Preview exhibition showing previous work by each of the Exploratory Laboratory artists alongside evidence of their research processes for the project.

The Gallery, AUCB Bournemouth.


EXLAB Artist bursary

As part of the Exlab project Karen was granted a professional development bursary managed by Dorset Visual Arts.

‘The award has allowed me to develop a new approach to my work with Design & Natural Form and explore and understand the latest digital tools in 3D-modelling and prototyping.

Having the opportunity to study the history of plant development based on fossil records and looking at the microscopic detail of plant structure is the beginning of a new strand in my efforts to promote sustainable design. Based on the detailed study of the ancient Horsetail plant I am experimenting with 3D printing, laser-cutting and new materials. The work is reinforcing my understanding of the interdependency of all life and opening up the view to Biomimicry.’


Design Award, 2012

Bespoke ceremonial-wedding-seatGuildmark no. 442

The Worshipful Company of Furnituremakers, London – awards their Guildmark no. 442 to Karen for her excellence of design, materials, craftsmanship and function for the Ceremonial Wedding seat for two in Ash.


EXHIBITION: September 24 – Oct 30, 2011

Women in woodWOMEN WORK – IN WOOD

WOWOWO – a touring exhibition to celebrate the work of leading female contemporary furniture designers and makers working in wood, debuts at Walford Mill Crafts, Dorset, on September 24th 2011.

A select group of international, established and emerging designer makers have responded to a design brief to develop and encourage innovative design in furniture using sustainable processes and materials. The exhibition includes work by Tomoko Azumi, Karen Hansen, Akiko Kuwahata, Lorraine Moore, Katharine Fernie and Alice Blogg.

Some exhibits will have been developed as speculative work by the artists exploring any aspect of furniture-making and others will have been designed and made to commission for a client setting out specific criteria. The design development has in each case been documented to illuminate the decisions regarding techniques and process. These narratives, as well as the more personal deliberations to do with career paths, will form part of the exhibition showing the richness of skill and approach and add to the debate about design, responsibility, opportunity, expectation etc.

The WOWOWO exhibition is the first dedicated showcase of contemporary work by woman designer makers and has been curated in collaboration by Karen Hansen and Walford Mill Crafts.

WOWOWO will be at Walford Mill Crafts in Wimborne from 24th September – 30th October and the London Metropolitan Works Gallery from 24th November – 22nd December.


Installation, April 2011

Thornhill-Bridge-Community-Gardens-seatSCULPTURAL SEATS
Thornhill Bridge Community Garden, Islington, London
The commission used the limbs and trunks of the large trees felled on site as part of the landscaping plan undertaken with J&L Gibbons, London .



Low log seating was sculpted and groups of children from the local Vittoria Primary School carved their nature based designs into the seats.


salisbury-1-4One hundred years of change, Bourne Hill, Salisbury

Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex opens the Wiltshire Council Bourne Hill Offices in Salisbury on Wednesday, 30th March 2011.

In connection to a major restoration and extension programme for the Bournehill premises, Karen was commissioned to transform a 100 year old Sweet Chestnut tree into seating for the Magnolia Court and entrance area at the offices. During the period from autumn 2006 to final installation in 2010 she worked to develop the concept design – through site observation, workshops and consultation with local people and historic research into life and events in Salisbury over the lifetime of the tree.

Focusing on the tree as a symbol of longevity bearing witness to change and acknowledging the strong spiritual connection, we as humans have to these giant living organisms, led to the development of four seat designs representing four generations living through a hundred years of change.

The tree was converted into appropriate sections and then stored for seasoning with smaller sections dried in a dehumidifier. The main construction work was carried out using chainsaw, arbotech and carving gouges.

1. Germination
The new leaf emerging from the seed.

2. Youth
The young stems growing up create a split and diverting paths in life. The seed remains as a continuum with the spherical shape symbolising the wholeness in change.

Two individuals have developed to be comfortable in their own space. The sphere remains as the link between different points of view.

4. Roots & Seeds
The old roots and vital foundation that generally remains unseen is crossing paths with the new energy in the seeds to create the unpredictable and inevitable future. This seat is made from the main branches of the tree.

Exhibition: 20 March – 1 May 2011

The Arts & Crafts Legacy

21st Century Furniture III – A selling exhibition of today’s designer makers presented by The Millenery Works Gallery, 85-87 South Gate Road, Islington, London

EXHIBITION: 18-26 September, 2010

london design festivalVictoria & Albert Museum. London Design Festival

A handpicked selection of contemporary furnituremakers are invited to exhibit their latest work at the V&A Sackler Centre supported by the British Furniture Confederation.
The London Design Festival has developed a unique partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum – the world’s leading museum of art and design. As the Festival Hub, the V&A is the first point of call for visitors to the Festival; there are resources and information available alongside a number of specially commissioned design installations and displays plus a wide range of events throughout the Festival week.

Monday 20th September

Meet the Designer Maker

Gallery 220, Sackler Centre
11.00 – 17.00
Karen Hansen, Alun Heslup, Nick Langan, Simon Yates will be available to discuss their work and practise.


WORKSHOPS: June – Oct 2010

totempoleCourse Dates 2010

June 3 & June 6
Introductory day carving courses / Dorset Artweek

July 10/11
Pole carving for the family

Aug 25/26/27

Sept 2/3
Masks & Grotesques

Sept 24/25/2
Totem carving

Oct 2/3
Masks & Grotesques
Contact: Karen Hansen Tel:  01935 83580

EXHIBITION: Sept 6 – Oct 4, 2009

greenwood-bench21st Century Furniture – Making the Future

An exhibition of Today’s Key Designer Makers
Seymour Place, London


story pole about the environmentIn collaboration with Real Ideas Organisation-Rio

The project aim was to develop awareness of holistic living and how we can pass on the world to the future – in a lively and positive way.

The children, a great group of 9-10 year olds – had the opportunity to spend time in the local woodland environment – to study, work and play and debark the tree, which had been chosen for the pole.

Back at school we worked on drawing and choosing images to be carved into the pole and the tree was moved and laid up in the school grounds. The children spent many enjoyable hours carving and painting to complete the pole.

The pole was unveiled in celebration on July 13 2009.

EXHIBITION : May 21 – June 7, 2008

DAWThe Little Art Gallery

Beaminster, Dorset
Exhibiting as part of Dorset Art Week


EXHIBITION: July 19 – Sept 14, 2008

ccanw-2Wonder Wood

Inspirational Contemporary Designers from the South West. 
“Wonder Wood” is the climax of a series of exhibitions in a year-long “Wood Culture” festival which has celebrated the beauty, usefulness and sustainability of wood and explored its many uses in contemporary
architecture and design.

The exhibition draws on the work of 20 designers in wood across the South West region, from established makers to this year’s graduates, ranging from innovative steam-bent seating to a woven boat and a timber bicycle. Most work will be for sale.

Exhibition launch: Saturday 19 July, 12noon-3pm.

Admission free


PUBLIC OPENING : May 17, 2008

teenshelter, thornford
Thornford village playground project wanted to provide facilities for children of all ages and therefore dedicated an area to the teenagers of the village. A keen group of young people worked hard to fund raise through The Youth Capital Fund and their successful bid allowed for the design and making of the Teenshelter – an area of covered seating.

Karen designed the project to allow the teenagers to make their own mark on the cedar structure by carving images into the wood and laying mosaics into the base of the structure. A series of workshops took place before the installation and the final outcome is a true indication of community pride of place. The formal opening took place on the 17th May 2008.

EXHIBITION: May – Oct, 2007


Exhibition of art in the grounds of the Sir Harold Hilliers Gardens, Hampshire.


Public Commission : 2007

pilsdon-penCreative Footsteps Project, Wessex Ridgeway, Artsreach & The National Trust

Creative Footsteps is a project based along the Wessex Ridgeway led by local poet, James Crowden. James walked the Ridgeway and on his travels wrote poems, which reflected the geography, geology and natural history of this long distance path. Sections of verse have been incorporated in to specially commissioned sculpture, which now punctuates the route from Ashmore to Lyme.

“She gave me eyes she gave me ears
humble cares and delicate fears.”

The 65 mile long Wessex Ridgeway track is a rich tapestry of chalk ridges, steep grassland fields, copses and thick ancient hedgerows. The Ridgeway enters Dorset from Wiltshire at Ashmore, crosses the Blackmore Vale before finally descending to the sea at Lyme Regis.

The gate and stile was made for The National Trust site at Pilsdon Pen, Dorset

An exhibition of photographs and poetry is currently touring Dorset.


WORKSHOP: Spring, 2007

beaminster st marysBig Ears, Beaminster School, Dorset

Carving project for all of year 6 pupils. Based on the theme of listening – the children worked together to create a giant pair of ears – named “The Listening Post” which has been installed as a sculpture in the school grounds.

© 2008 - 2019 All works copyright Karen Hansen | Admin