Embroidered drawings and forensic taphonomy

My passion project, Molly- a true crime analysis, centres around a 63 year old Vancouver cold case.

On January 15, 1953, the skeletal remains of two children were found in the forest of Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  The victims became known as the Babes in the Wood.  The physical evidence indicated that the children were killed using a hatchet and confidently pointed to the involvement of a woman, likely the children’s mother.  Unsolved for over 63 years, the double homicide still haunts the city and fuels the imaginations of Vancouverites.  Several theories have been explored and many leads and tips have been followed; yet the identities of the two victims remain unknown.

Molly- a true crime analysis illustrates my research into this heartbreaking mystery.

Sparrow feet, a gift from Hannah Ackeral

My involvement initially began as a volunteer researcher on the Babes in the Wood task force from 2003 to 2004.

This passion project- an illustrated book- is as much about the PROCESS and my deep involvement as it is about the cold case and the ultimate “end” product.  And yes- that process.  The creative process is incredibly magical and rewarding.  The project is directing itself in a sense, and I am following and trusting.

The book will include text (facts and interpretation), illustrations (including magic realism), photographs, primary sources, physical evidence, circumstantial evidence and artifacts.

I am currently reworking the text and illustrating.  I am experimenting with embroidered drawings.

Why embroidered drawings?

Certain drawings (in particular chapter headings) are embroidered as a means to reflect the act of connecting the dots and weaving together timelines, evidence and research.  The stitches are footsteps on a map.  It reflects deep thought and the passage of time.  It is historical.  Traditional.  Sacred.  It is about strengthening the fragile.  It fascinates me that a medium so cheap and easily torn such as newsprint becomes strong and hardy when layered and sewn together.  It can be manipulated and folded, handled, and only gains a lovelier patina.   There is something magical in that.


… And when they were dead
The robins so red
Brought strawberry leaves
And over them spread;
And all the day long,
The green branches among,
They’d prettily whistle
And this was their song-
‘Poor babes in the wood!
Sweet babes in the wood!
Oh the sad fate of
The babes in the wood!’

“The Babes in the Wood,” Anonymous (ca 1595). Public domain.

The Babes in the Wood, in progress

For serious inquiries, contact: Peter Breeze

Stanley Park. Birds. Angel whispers. And Pledge Drive.

I walked around Beaver Lake today.  I was infused by the profound beauty of nature.  Warm sun.  Blossoms.  Skunk cabbage.  Herons were dancing in the wind above the lake, ducks were courting and playing, chipmunks and squirrels scurrying.  Chestnut-backed chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches landed on my hands.  I describe the feeling as angel whispers.

I took a few photos.


And drew my collected observations:

Drawing 1: March 28, 2016. China Marker on Newsprint 16″ x 24″

Stanley Park Scenes 72-hour PLEDGE DRIVE!

Until March 31, 2016 9 PM PT.

I am raising funds to renew and upgrade this blog and to purchase art supplies!

For every $20 pledged, I will draw a new scene from my daily observations of animal and bird activity in Stanley Park.

Pledgers of $20 can choose to receive the upcoming e-book version of Drawn Together- Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art by Roar and Kat Thorsen!


You can choose to purchase a drawing for a $75 or more donation.  

The rest of the drawings will be donated to EVERGREEN HOUSE residential care facility, Lions Gate Hospital, North Vancouver to celebrate my father, Roar Thorsen (who lived at Evergreen House 2007-2012 and who loved drawing and being outside in nature) and to thank the staff who made our lives so happy.  

Roar and Kat at Evergreen House April 2012

Pledgers can choose to have their names included on the donor list!

To pledge:

Donate via email transfer to britakatarina@gmail.com

or donate via PayPal


If you are pledging to pre-order the e-book include a note/email address with your donation!

If you wish to purchase an original drawing (they will be shared here) for $75.00, include title of drawing and your mailing address with your donation! 

If you enjoy my art blog, please consider a small donation!  THANK YOU!

And the next chapter starts: releasing our book to the world! We did it, Dad!

Wow. HERE IT IS.  OUR BOOK.  OUR BOOK.  Can you believe it?  After all the coffee meetups and work sessions with my father, all the joy and camaraderie, and pain and tears, and laughter and art making- we are finally here.






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Soon, you’ll be able to order the book directly through my blog and local bookstores as well as online catalogues.

Until then, find us on AMAZON!

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Dad’s memorial planning is in the works.  We are allowing the time and attention it deserves.  Stay tuned.

Multiple book launches, book signings and accompanying workshops are also being developed.

Backers on our Indiegogo campaign will be receiving their rewards shortly!


Dealing with bullies, 1937 Norwegian style. My father recounts. #vintage #photography

Recall that I’m writing a book with Dad, about how he uses art to find purpose and meaning after his stroke.

I’ve pulled out old photographs and albums for him to peruse and the stories coming out are remarkable.

Me, on the left, my brother ,Anders, on the right, in Grums Sweden ca 1964.

I found Dad’s baby album.  Wow.

One recurring story that Dad has to tell me every time he is reminded of his childhood home (Sandesundsveien 43, Sarpsborg, Norway)…

… is the day when he was followed home by bullies from his class.

I always get reminded about the bullies when I think about that house.  I was about 7 years old.  Bullies followed me home after school.  I walked through my front gate and all of a sudden a rock landed beside me.  I saw red and ran after them and threw the rock and hit one of them in the back of the head.  When you get attacked you forget you are a nice little boy.  I was in a blind rage and it was a dramatic moment.  The kid had a huge wound on the back of his head and I recall that he was bleeding.  

I was called in to the school principal.  “What happened?” he asked.  I explained the whole incident and how I didn’t expect the rock to hit the kid bullseye in the back of the head.  The principal listened and understood.  I was not punished.  The bullying stopped after that.  

I found a class picture and Dad immediately pointed “them” out.

The tall one on the left was called “Big Red” and his little sidekick was a plump little shit whose name, I think, was Arne.

This photo was taken before the incident.  It’s like turning back the clock.  I remember that we were told to stand along the wall in the back of the school.  We were standing on blacktop.  

Dad, age 7

Life is like photography, we develop from the negatives.