Karen Chapnick was born in New York City. She graduated with a Master of Arts from University of California in Los Angeles, California. In 1976, she immigrated to Canada establishing a residence in Vancouver, British Columbia. Known as a colourist, in her earlier work, she used the medium of hand dyed and braided sisal, and constructed large panels of interlocking braids. Later she combined painting with the braiding structure. The surface texture resulted in beautiful colour effects. Her work was exhibited in Canada, the United States, Japan, Europe and Africa.