From Mayor to Bag Lady of Snohomish

I started making these beautiful tote bags in 2019, just as I was finishing 12 years of service as a Councilmember and 7 years as Mayor of the City of Snohomish. At this time, I also reprioritized my long-standing career as a visual artist, working as a painter, printmaker, and public artist. The art market dried up and unsold work accumulated. I cleaned my studio, donated some print portfolios to museums, and gave art supplies to schools, but keeping enough to start painting again. 

Along with this general approach to deep cleaning, I started sorting through fabrics I have collected over many years. I had used these fabrics for making crazy quilts, unique bedspreads, curtains, tablecloths, and creative throw pillows. All ancillary to my career as a visual artist, all to enhance my eclectic home and to give as gifts. 

These sorting and cleaning activities were at a time when we, at City Council passed a plastic bag ban.  I had a Eureka moment with these fabrics! “I’ll make tote bags for my grocery shopping.”

At first, the bags were simple, mixing and matching existing fabrics. Then, I needed more fabric for the bag linings and started shopping at a local thrift store. I found an ever-changing abundance of drapery, tablecloth, bed sheet, shower curtain, and upholstery fabrics. A friend had access to some remarkable Indonesian cotton. All of these became my palette, and beautiful tote bags became my part-time occupation. I balanced sewing…a kind of sitting meditation…. with continuing to teach at my yoga studio, where I promote an active range of physical activities and abiding attention to self-care. 

So, all of these bags, approaching 700, now called KAREN GUZAK’S HANDMADE BEAUTIFUL TOTE BAGS. These are made from repurposed fabrics in my continuing commitment to reusing, recycling, reducing, and making beautiful things. And doing my small part to contribute to the greater good. 

Bags are commodious, packable, and measure 20 wide x 16 tall x 4 inches deep. Most straps fit over your shoulder, and some bags are washable – not all. 

Sorry, I cannot accept Returns nor Refund your purchase price.

Annual Snohomish Women’s Network Party

“Our year came to a close with the always-special SNW Member Holiday Party.

This year, our group was able to give back $2,500 to local organizations in the community, including the Snohomish Farmers Market, Snohomish Boys and Girls Club, Snohomish Community Food Bank and the Snohomish Senior Center.

Want to join us in 2018? Check out our website for more information and we’ll see you in the New Year!”

Thanks to Sarah for the photos and the quote above from the groups Facebook Post

Karen’s Run to Preserve Our Local Government Falls Short

THANK YOU SO MUCH for your donation to my campaign. I’m disappointed that I will not be your Mayor. The vote was close, but not enough to win. Still, I feel great gratitude for the over 170 people who supported me by giving to my campaign, and the hundreds of volunteers who gave of their time and their enthusiasm.

We did a good job:

• Placing over 650-yard signs plus 12 supersized ones;
• Mailing to voters four times – one letter plus 3 jumbo postcards;
• Advertising aggressively online, reaching over 9,000 residents with over 82,000 impressions and a high click-through rate of 6.5%;
• Hosting 3,500+ visitors to with multiple video views;
• Keeping our Karen Guzak 4 Mayor Facebook page relevant and interactive, responding to comments and questions daily;
• Sharing about 10 positive Herald and Tribune Letters to the Editor;
• Attending 12 community Meet & Greets and 4 candidate forums;
• Hosting two community-wide fun events: Kanines for Karen Dog Walk,
and the Community Celebration at the Feather Ballroom;
• Doorbelling with the Kindness crew about 90% of Snohomish;
• Calling and following up with strong supporters to Get Out The Vote;
• Sign waving for two weeks each election with over 150 friends;
• Receiving endorsements from the Governor, the Herald, and more;
• Welcoming donated display ads at KlaHaYa Village and Snohomish Inn.

Please visit News & Events for a browising stroll down memory lane.

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Spirit of Snohomish Award

Spirit of Snohomish – Karen Guzak, Yoga Circle Studio
“Recognizing her devotion and commitment to improving our City for the benefit of residents and businesses.”

Karen’s pictured with Marci Volmer, Board President, and Rod Ashley, the past president.

Coffee with the Mayor

Held at the library on Karen’s Birthday, May 21, a question about Snohomish water rates inspired Warner to put together a thumbnail history of our water system.