Karen Robbins had early training and experiences creating and appreciating art. From ceramics, to drawing to painting, Karen always had an interest working with her hands and playing with color. She began college studies in art and theater arts in 1984 at the University of Massachusetts where she spent two years before transferring to the University of California to pursue a career in film production. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 1988, Karen spent several years in the San Francisco Bay Area working in the film industry.
Although she had worked with many art forms, Karen had not experienced working with hot glass until she met Dana at San Jose State University, demonstrating glass blowing at an art department open studio. So intrigued by this incredible art form, Karen immediately decided to capture the students on video, working with the molten glass. Soon after, she was invited by the glass instructor at SJSU to videotape the demonstrations at the Glass Art Society’s annual conference in 1994.
As her interest with glass continued, Karen decided she wanted to learn how to blow glass. In the summer of 1995, right before she and Dana were married, Karen had an opportunity to go to the Pilchuck Glass School. It was here for the first time, she picked up a blowpipe and tried to work with hot glass. A six week experience at Pilchuck was so influential, it motivated a career change from video production to glass blowing, and a life change from living in the SF Bay Area to living on a ranch in rural New Mexico.
After 20 years of working together with hot glass, Dana has trained Karen to be a valuable blowing assistant. She does the majority of the design, shape and color selection, and assists Dana blowing the glass. He is responsible for the skilled execution of each piece, and does all labor intensive polishing and finish work. In addition to working in the shop, Karen also takes care of all the marketing, customer service, inventory and business management, while Dana handles of all the technical needs of their shop, keeping the equipment running properly. Hard work and a team effort have made their business a very successful partnership.