Born in Rotterdam, The Netherlands in 1949, Lena’s family immigrated to Canada in 1958 in search of greater opportunities. From an early age Lena pursued her passion for art through painting and drawing despite her discovering skill with mathematics and computers. Ultimately she focused her attention on the pursuit of a degree in Mathematics so as too practice a profession in Computer Programming.
In parallel with her career, she continued to take courses and practice many different artistic disciplines before discovering an aptitude for fibre arts. She studied batik with Johnny Goh in Montreal for several years. Batik allowed her freedom to experiment and has influenced her art to this day. Her batiks were featured in the Vancouver Gay Pride art show in 1982. While in Vancouver, she attended classes with Barbara Heller in Tapestry Weaving which taught her about the relationship of texture and color.
After moving back to Montreal in 1984, she began to study surface design at the Visual Arts Center with Regine Mainberger . It was at this point that Lena developed major allergies to the fabric dyes used in batik and surface designs. Serendipitously with encouragement from Regine, she began knitting small dolls.
In 1992 Lena and her family moved to Nova Scotia, which sparked the beginnings of a spiritual renaissance. As she explored alternative healing modalities, it began to influence her artwork. Over the next few years, the dolls evolved from knitted to needle sculpted cotton. In 2000, she won second in the cloth doll category and third in mixed media at the Canadian Doll Artist Association Conference in Ottawa.
After moving back to Montreal in 2003 and improving and developing her skills as an artist, Lena moved to Edmonton to be the primary caregiver to her aging parents. Her dolls have taken the forefront of her artistic pursuits.
Many things inspire Lena’s soft sculptures. Sometimes it is the fabric or a found object, but mostly it is her meditation and the issues she sees in her healing practice. Many of her dolls also address the issues of women and their life experiences. She incorporates symbols from her ancient pre-Christian European heritage to rediscover an authentic European “aboriginal” vision of connections to the Earth, ecology and healing on many levels.