Paulla Keen – Meet the Designer

Paulla Keen

Paulla Keen – Meet the Designer

“Every human being has the right to make something wonderful with their hands.”

Born in Liverpool, UK transplanted to Cornwall, UK as a teenager and has been living in Amsterdam, Netherlands since 2000, Paulla rarely holds still!

Professionally, Paulla is a Social Worker and Autism Specialist who has worked with children and families for over 35 years. This work, she says has ‘been one of the greatest pleasures in my life.’ In 2011, Paulla founded and is Director of a non-profit center (Ark) for children with autism and complex developmental challenges. Employing the DIR/Floortime (Developmental, Individual differences, Relationship-based) framework, the center features a host of colleagues from diverse backgrounds. Creativity and especially sensory art activities fill a good part of each day. For more information, and to enjoy some of the children’s art, check out their website at
Through her work at Ark, Paulla has proven that her art philosophy of ‘everyone has the right to make something wonderful with their hands’ enriches well-being. She states, “It is an emotional necessity and should ALWAYS be acknowledged and supported.” Paulla finds inspiration by being around children who find joy despite their complex challenges. Their tenacity and uniqueness fill her with awe and renew her belief that the freedom to create and play can help us all develop and grow.
Inspired by the work of Kaffe Fassett, Paulla is a life-long creative. Her first love is textiles, especially sewing, weaving, spinning, felting and punch needle work. Her favorite colors are the vibrant and jewel tones often found in India and Africa.
In 2022, Paulla discovered the YouTube videos of PM artist Studio, falling in love with Patricia and Mariah, while becoming fascinated by their work with the gel plate. Thus, Paulla was launched into the world of mixed media and Makers of Mixed Media Art / Artists. She began designing stencils in order to develop the shapes and styles she wanted to use. Her favorite PM Artist Studio stencils are Wonky Net and Melty Morocco, as they are versatile and multi-use artist’s tools.
When Paulla is not working with children, designing stencils, encouraging others or creating art, she and her husband live in a small apartment in Amsterdam. The apartment’s diminutive size lacks a dedicated art space, but Paulla still creates in her small galley kitchen or on the coffee table. She is an avid cook who enjoys making and trying all kinds of cuisines.

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