Karen Thiessen was born in a Russian Mennonite community in Southern Ontario. In 1987, she graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Arts degree and in 1996 she earned a Textile Diploma from the Sheridan College, School of Crafts and Design, Oakville, Ontario. In 1999, Thiessen graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art in Textiles and Art History from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her work often exhibits a combination of contemporary textiles with collage and mixed media. She uses digitally generated images and picks used material and recycles it in her textiles and multimedia collages. Themes in her artworks are inspired by her Russian Mennonite heritage. Thiessen is a recipient of grants from the Ontario Council for the Arts, and has won awards for her work including the Mary Diamond Butts Award in Embroidery, Ontario Crafts Council in 2005, Toronto, Ontario; the Watermark 2001 Juror’s Choice Award, Halifax, Nova Scotia and others. Her work has been exhibited solo and in group shows across Ontario, in Canada, the United States and Korea. Her work can be found in the collections of the Nova Scotia Art Bank in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia and in private collections.