in memory of karen

On 26 September 2012 we lost our dear friend Karen Coyle.

Eight years or so before Karen came to the LightnUp Workshop, commonly known as “the shed’, she had seen a Lantern Parade when she first arrived in town, and just knew she wanted to be involved. She asked if she could volunteer....

Karen had a deep passion, and a natural talent for ‘lantern making' which blossomed over the years until almost all the lanterns in a parade would have been touched by her hand. We worked together, played together and latterly travelled together.

We even went CAMPING - the funniest thing was when she 'did Woodford' - in a tent!! And braved the wettest ever Bellingen Global Carnival. We travelled way out west to Forbes and Dalby and wondered at the magnificence of the vast firmament above, admired the Art Utes, and giggled at Bogangate.

Generous in sharing her skills and passing on her love of beauty and colour to anyone young or not so young, Karen was a firm fixture in the 'shed'.

We all remember that laugh - a husky belly laugh echoing around the lantern shed, interspersed by the odd expletive or demand to 'turn that damn music down!!'

Then of course there was the constant coca cola – and those RED FROGS!

... and the 'Visor' - Laura Bensi reminded us of that..."the practical function of this visor is to keep my hair out of my face..." laughed Karen.

The Lantern Workshop has a tradition of having a Shed Dog and after we lost Jack a few years ago, Karen’s devoted companion Kasey soon found her place in the shed. Patient and friendly Kasey put up with the shed kids attentions and followed her beloved mistress everywhere.

The kids adored Karen, they would hang about her work area and ‘help’. Her patience was amazing, imagine teaching a 2yr old to dry brush a lantern..... she did.

My grand daughter would run straight over to Karen's work-table every time she came to the shed ….

And Karen was BRAVE – I would toss an idea to her, a challenge, and she would grab it and turn it into something amazing.....and HUGE!

Imagine a 50 something year old woman crawling around over the concrete floor of the Lismore Showground pavilion, in the middle of winter, painting our amazing 12m high 'main image' only to see it burn to the ground a few days later!!

LightnUp, Lismore and beyond lost a special friend and artist. Karen's memory lives on in her work and in the hearts of the communities she touched with her love. Long will she continue to light up our lives. ♥ Jyllie

Some words from Karen's friends -

Love you so much Karen, you will be greatly missed! You were so creative, kind, loving, strong, supportive and bloody hysterical with your awesome sense of humour and cracker of a laugh! Wren loved hanging out with you at the shed and my heart weighs very heavy at the news of your passing, you've left some very big shoes to fill and the shed won't be the same without you. Love to your family and may your beautiful energy finally be free to spread light and laughter to all corners of the universe as it did here on earth within the hearts of your friends and family ♥ Laura

RIP Karen Coyle. The lives of many have been illuminated thanks to your beautiful light. Her lanterns were lovely, too ♥ Evie

My love to Karen's family. It was a pleasure to have worked alongside her, she was a true artist. It was always a beautiful sight to see her lanterns dance and her images burn to light up the night. ♥ Joshy

More Images of our fond memories here...

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