Karen Nicol


Karen Nicol is one of the most talented and popular mixed media artists working today.  Graduating with a Masters in embroidery from The Royal College of Art over 40 years ago, she was made Royal Designer for Industry by The RSA in 2015 and is an honorary fellow of the RCA where she was founder and senior lecturer of the Mixed Media course, research fellow and visiting professor for many years.

Karen creates works for an abundance of high-profile clients and brands in fashion, interiors and art, her works feature in public and private collections globally.  


Karen’s gallery pieces specifically centre on animal themed works which she describes as ‘couture creatures’ - ranging from Napoleonic polar bears to jewel encrusted deer to fringed, sequined zebras all created with incredible dexterity.  Most of the materials she uses are sustainably sourced from car boot sales and flea markets, which she magically brings to life using a range of skills and tools, her favourite being her ancient Irish Singer machine.  Her studio is a treasure trove of fabrics, gems, sketches and objets d'art – a melting pot of inspirationmuch like the rest of her home which she shares with her husband, collage artist Peter Clark. 


Karen originally set out to study painting or sculpture but couldn’t escape the versatility and diversity of textiles as a medium, having grown up with her mother and sister both being embroiderers.  Her father was a coal man “but with the mind of an engineer; constantly designing and creating contraptions with an innovative look at everything”.  So, it seems fitting that Karen’s pieces are a blend of creativity and imagination.  Technically brilliant and undoubtedly beautiful, her skill and sensitivity to her subjects can’t help but draw you in.


Clients include:

Casablanca, Schiaparelli, Giles Deacon, Alexander McQueen, Jasper Conran, Rooney Mara, Black Rock, Shell Oil, Welbeck Hotel, Anthropologie, Clements Ribeiro, Bamford, The King of Qatar, The Pope, Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Vera Wang, John Rocha, Julien Macdonald, Betty Jackson, Matthew Williamson, Bruce Oldfield, Markus Lupfer, Tracey Boyd, Michiko Koshino, Givenchy, Chanel, John Boyd Textiles, Louella, Osman Ousafzada, Antonio Beradi, Browns, Lulu Guinness, Mulberry, Jaeger, Harvey Nicholls, Harrods, Liberty, Mario Testino