About the artist
Born to a family with diverse artistic and creative skills in the Pacific Northwest, Karen Ehart has enjoyed more than 25 years of art glass experimentation.
In 1984 she picked up a glass cutter and was ruined for any kind of real job. She soon opened a stained glass studio in Alabama, designing and fabricating custom work for homes, churches and businesses. She also did glass restoration work on some beautiful old homes. During that time she began melting glass together in a kiln and incorporating pieces in her stained glass work. She then began making glass jewelry and this led to a wholesale jewelry line sold to boutiques and galleries.
In 1990 she returned to Portland, Oregon where she worked for a major commercial art glass studio and Uroboros glass factory. During her time spent in Portland kiln work became her focus.
A move to Hawaii in 1992 inspired many new design ideas. The intriguing petroglyph symbols found on cave walls and lava fields began showing up in her art pieces as well as the sea creatures she encountered while snorkeling the coral reefs.
Spending much of her mainland time hunting native American rock art led her to the deserts of the Southwest. She fell in love with the wide open spaces and dramatic scenery of Arizona and moved there in 2002. It was in Arizona that she developed the torso series and began concentrating on the skulls and the kiln cast pieces.
In May of 2007 she moved back to eastern Oregon to be nearer her family and the great northwest. She currently divides her time between eastern Oregon and the Seattle area where she also maintains a studio.
Since her return she has been greatly influenced by two relatively new industries to the area: bronze foundries and wineries. She has lately been concentrating on the study of sculpture with an emphasis on bronze work and has begun a series of cast bronze and glass pieces. Collaborating with Cougar Crest Winery on highway 12 near Walla Walla, Washington she has also produced some one-of-a-kind mixed media pieces as well as gourmet eating and entertaining accessories.
Glass is a fantastic medium for many reasons. It has a flexibility in dealing with light unlike any other substance. Kiln work is ideal for my design style because a piece can be designed cold on a kiln shelf and then fired. There is no immediate need to finish a piece since it isn't worked in a fragile hot liquid state. That means I can continuously experiment with the look of a piece before firing.
I am drawn to exploring sculptural possibilities while combining bright, rich colors and the interplay of light, both reflected and transmitted, through glass and fired metal oxides.
I hope my work will continue to evolve for as long as I am able to pick up my glass cutter.