100th anniversary, 8th of May 2021

Karen's centenary
100th anniversary, 8th of May 2021
2022-04-07 16:02:41 • By Tina Sinding Møller Dam0 comments

Tina’s exhibition of works made at Skals School for Design and Needlework, with Tina’s mother, Sinne, cousin Susanne, Tina, Katrina and Karen and Norman Finch

In many ways my auntie Karen was like a female Peter Pan. Very modern and with the capacity for seizing the right moment in her own very visionary, clever way. What she believed in, she aimed for, and turned into reality. And like Peter Pan her arena was the whole world, with all the people who believed in her and her creative and timely skills as a professional weaver, and who witnessed her inventing textile conservation as a new worldwide profession.

Her family was always a great part of her consciousness, while she showed her many abilities and excelled in doing so. She shared her life with us, and she enjoyed spending time with us. Throughout my life Karen has always been present and still is. Despite the distance between UK and Denmark I saw auntie Karen, uncle Norman, cousin Katrina, Katrina’s husband Alan and their sons Joshua and Jacob frequently. She was very generous and always brought joy and presents for her family. Karen and Norman visited me many times in Denmark. I was honoured that they took time out of their busy calendar to see me and my exhibition of works made at “Skals School for Design and Needlework” in 1985. In 1994 they even managed to meet me at Holmenkollen, close to Oslo in Norway.

Her birthday has been celebrated in my home, and we have had so much fun together visiting interesting sights and all kinds of museums in different countries. It has been a great privilege and a wonderful learning experience to be around Karen, for example when we visited her Textile Conservation Centre at Hampton Court Palace. In 1999, my father Laurits, my husband Erik and I had an unforgettable time joining the very special celebration in Winchester, when Karen received her Honorary Doctorate from Southampton University.

Karen and Norman Finch with Tina and Erik M. Dam at Holmenkollen, Norway

In 1996 Erik drove Karen and myself to Honiton in Devon to visit auntie Grethe and uncle Jim. She never distrusted Erik’s abilities in driving on the “wrong” side of the road. Visiting Stonehenge on the way to Honiton was a fantastic experience; we will always remember it.

When I worked in Bromley in 1986, she and Norman gave me a safe haven to come to, letting me stay in Katrina’s top room in their house in Ealing. I always felt very welcome, and a part of the family with Karen’s clever way of organizing and sharing their house. Norman spoiled both Karen and I with his combined English and Danish cooking, spiced up with his wonderful sense of humour. They also gave me my lovely cousin Katrina, for whom I am eternally grateful. She and Alan have added so many great memories to my mind, so many exciting experiences to my life. In April 2018, we even had the privilege and closeness of sharing Karen’s last days.

Karen gave Katrina and myself, together with our families, a fantastic, and adventurous musical experience, when she invited us to see “Peter Pan” with her in the Millennium Dome in 2010. Through that show she wanted us to always remember her. And we do. Our common love lives forever.

Family and friends assembling for Karen’s Honorary Doctorate ceremony at Winchester, on behalf of Southampton University. L-R: Kirsten Dovey; Jenny Fitzgerald-Bond; Karen Finch; Dr Ruth Sinding (Karen’s sister); Tina Møller Dam and off to the right Laurits Sinding Møller (Karen’s brother) and Grethe May (Karen’s sister)

Karen took me to places that she loved sharing with me, and enlightened my world by showing me that when you believe in something, it can come true, just like in the world of Peter Pan. For that I am eternally grateful.

Tina Sinding Møller Dam May 2021

Original Danish text

På mange måder var min tante Karen som en kvindelig Peter Pan. Meget moderne og med kapacitet til hurtigt at gribe det rigtige øjeblik på sin egen meget visionære og kloge måde. Hvad hun troede på, sigtede hun efter, og det gik i opfyldelse. Og ligesom Peter Pan var hendes arena hele verden med alle mennesker, der troede på hende og hendes kreative og rettidige færdigheder som professionel væverske, og som var vidne til hendes opfindelse af bevarelse af tekstiler som en ny verdensomspændende profession.

Hendes familie var altid en stor del af hendes bevidsthed, mens hun udøvede sine mange evner og udmærkede sig med dem. Hun delte sit liv med os, og hun nød at tilbringe tid sammen med os. Gennem hele mit liv har Karen altid været til stede og er det stadig. På trods af afstanden mellem Storbritannien og DK så jeg faster Karen, onkel Norman, kusine Katrina, Katrinas mand Alan og deres sønner Joshua og Jacob ofte. Hun var meget generøs og bragte altid glæde og gaver til sin familie. Jeg har haft mange besøg af Karen og Norman i Danmark. Jeg var beæret over, at de tog tid ud af deres travle kalender for at se mig og min udstilling af værker lavet på ”Skals Skole for Design og Håndarbejde” i 1985. De mødtes også med mig på Holmenkollen ved Oslo i Norge i 1994, da jeg arbejdede i Norge.

Tina and Karen visiting Stonehenge, UK

Hendes fødselsdag er blevet fejret i mit hjem, og vi har haft det så sjovt sammen med at besøge interessante seværdigheder og alle slags museer i forskellige lande. Det har været et stort privilegie og også øjenåbnende at være omkring Karen og f.eks. besøge hendes Textile Conservation Centre på Hampton Court Palace. Min far Laurits, min ægtefælle Erik og jeg havde en uforglemmelig tid, da vi deltog i den helt specielle højtidelighed i Winchester, da Karen blev udnævnt til æresdoktor i 1999!

I 1996 kørte Erik Karen og jeg til Honiton i Devon for at besøge tante Grethe og onkel Jim. Hun stolede altid på Eriks evner til at køre i den “forkerte” side af vejen. Besøget ved Stonehenge på vej til Honiton var en fantastisk oplevelse, vi vil altid huske.

Da jeg arbejdede i Bromley i 1986, gav hun og Norman mig et sikkert tilflugtssted at komme til, da jeg fik lov til at bo i Katrinas topværelse i deres hus i Ealing. Jeg har altid følt mig meget velkommen og som en del af husets medlemmer og ikke som gæst med Karens smarte måde at organisere at dele deres hus på. Norman forkælede både Karen og jeg med sin kombinerede engelske og danske madlavning krydret med sin vidunderlige sans for humor. De gav mig også min dejlige kusine Katrina, som jeg er evigt taknemmelig for. Hun og Alan har tilføjet så mange gode minder til mit sind og spændende oplevelser til mit liv. Selv Karens sidste dage i april 2018 havde vi det privilegium og den nærhed at dele sammen.

Tina and her family visiting Karen in London

Karen gav Katrina og jeg sammen med vores familier en fantastisk og eventyrlig musical oplevelse, da hun inviterede os til at se “Peter Pan” sammen med hende i ”The Millennium Dome” i London i 2010. Med det show ville hun have os til at huske hende for altid. Og DET GØR VI. Og vores fælles kærlighed lever for evigt.

Karen tog mig til steder, som hun elskede at dele med mig og oplyste min verden ved at vise mig, at hvad du tror på, kan gå i opfyldelse, ligesom i Peter Pans verden. Det er jeg for evigt taknemmelig for.

Tina Sinding Møller Dam maj 2021