Karen (Kotchea) Cumberland was born and raised in the small northern community of Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, where she has practiced traditional artwork from a very young age. Originally guided by her mother, Karen made her first birch bark basket when she was just 10 years old. That basket earned her $60 at the local craft store and motivated Karen to refine her talents. Since then, she has established herself as one of the community's premier basket artists. Karen's baskets are very popular with collectors and can be found in galleries throughout Canada.
In 2007, she was chosen as an artist to represent the Northwest Territories at the Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Yukon. Much to her delight, Karen sold all of her baskets in the opening day. Karen was also a featured artist at the inaugural Adäka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse in 2011.
Along with basket making, Karen also enjoys beading, quillwork, hide tanning and fish scale art.
“In our family, art is a tradition. My mother sewed all the time and I started in her footsteps when I was six. Each piece I create is the result of many steps and a lot of time and patience.”