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  • Your Hunter Valley Magazine

Meet the Maker: Up Up & Away for Local Maker

Karen Rowe can’t remember a time when she wasn’t being creative. From winning art awards in primary school to trying her hand at almost every craft she came across, putting her creativity into practice has been a lifelong passion. It’s little wonder then that the founder of the popular Handmade in the Hunter Market isn’t satisfied with simply organising the artisan event, which is held several times a month – she runs three of her own stalls as well, selling everything from handcrafted novelty items to hot air balloon mobiles.

"I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t creating... and then in year 8, I learned to sew, and it opened up a whole new world."

“Over the years, there isn’t much I haven’t tried – macramé, knitting, leadlight, calligraphy, jewellery-making, cooking, woodwork, Celtic illumination, folk art, cross-stitch, tapestry, embroidery, mosaics, tie-dying, decoupage, card-making – the list goes on and on.

“However, I seem to always come back to sewing in some form.”

Karen’s sewing skills are certainly evident in the products she lovingly handcrafts for her Up, Up & Away Balloon Mobiles stall.

Featuring everything from one-balloon designs to her most challenging project, seven balloons arranged in an ascending spiral, her whimsical mobiles are a hit with customers of all ages.

“Many people falsely assume that mobiles are for babies only,” the Lorn woman said.

“In fact, they can be used as a valuable educational tool to assist in numerous developmental stages, spark the imagination as well as promoting emotional well-being in children up to the age of 12.

“Using the fabric design and the addition of a toy creates the child-like whimsy that appeals to ‘kids’ of all ages. It’s this bit of fun that has a middle-aged man buying a Spiderman mobile for himself or the white-haired grandma taking home a Mickey Mouse one because it made her giggle every time she looked at it.”

Appropriately, Karen will launch her new line of night-light balloon mobiles at the Night Glow event at Roche Estate on April 13. You can also check out Up, Up & Away Balloon Mobiles at this month’s Handmade in the Hunter Markets, which will be held at Kevin Sobels Wines on April 6, 13, 20, 21 and 27. For more information visit

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