With a mom who was an art teacher, its no surprise Karen was interested in the arts at an early age. She loved working with her hands, creating things and playing with color. Drawing, painting and sculpting, Karen was exploring a variety of mediums from the time she was able to hold a brush and crayons. Continuing her art education, Karen began college in 1984 at the University of Massachusetts. Here she studied Theatre Arts, Acting, Set Design, Lighting and Costume Design.
Although she enjoyed the classes she was involved in and the people she was working with, the winters in Amherst proved to be too cold. In 1986, Karen transferred to the University of California in Santa Cruz. This change in schools prompted a shift in career direction. Since California had better opportunities to work in film, Karen changed her major from Theater Arts to Film & Video. After successfully completing her studies at UCSC in film, she earning a BA degree 1988. She then spent the next several years in the Bay Area working in the Production industry.
Although Karen had experiences working in many art forms, creating blown glass art was not in her repertoire of skills. She had no experience working with hot glass until she met Dana at San Jose State University in 1990. He was demonstrating glass blowing at an art department open studio. Karen was immediately intrigued. Before she knew it, she was capturing the students on video, working with hot molten glass. Soon after, the glass instructor at SJSU asked Karen to videotape all the demonstrations at the Glass Art Society annual conference in June of 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. Her six week adventure at Pilchuck was so influential, it motivated a career change from producing videos to creating blown glass art. Her trip to Pilchuck also inspired a life changing decision. A physical move from living in an apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area to living on a cattle ranch in rural New Mexico.
After all these years…
It has been over 20 years of working together with hot glass, and Dana has trained Karen to be a valuable blowing partner. She does the majority of the design, shape and color selection, and assists Dana in 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 hotshop, Karen takes care of all the marketing, customer service, inventory control and business management. In return, Dana handles of all the technical needs of their shop, keeping the equipment running properly. Lots of hard work and a team effort have made their business a very successful partnership.