In the Studio with Artist Karen Kimmel


Karen Kimmel knows she is an artist—now she is out to help others discover the same about themselves.

When she was a child, reading and writing didn’t come as easily to Kimmel as it did to other kids. But when it came to art, she flourished. “I was always fascinated by systems and how things are organized,” says Kimmel. As an adult, Kimmel is at the helm of a creative enterprise that encompasses everything from a children’s line of art supplies (Kimmel Kids) to craft workshops for the developmentally disabled (Art Exchange) to a handful of high-profile interior design projects.

Activities in her sunny studio in Los Angeles’ Atwater Village range from color-coding thousands of pom-poms and hand-tying hundreds of dream catchers to building graphic tepees or sorting ingredients for dozens of mini–succulent gardens. “I wanted to create a place where it’s safe to be creative,” says Kimmel.

Inspiration is found in the perfectly organized boxes, trays and cubbies that line the walls. Filled with organically shaped stencils and brightly colored pencils and markers, the boxes hold nearly the entire Kimmel Kids archive. Kimmel currently is prepping for an event on April 27 called Crafting Community, where she will play host to families with young children at the Ace Hotel Palm Springs for a weekend of creative workshops.

“As a mom, I’m passionate about finding ways to do activities with my kids and connect with the artist community,” says Kimmel, whose events have proven so popular that she’s been hired by heavy-hitting brands, such as J. Crew and the Hammer Museum, to stage similar workshops. “I love how a collective experience can also be original, because everyone leaves with something different.”

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