From an early age, Karen discovered that she loved making things with her hands. Drawing, painting and sculpting, playing with forms and experimenting with color, she explored a variety of mediums from the time she was able to hold a paintbrush through college. Choosing a career in the Arts, Karen began her formal art education in 1984 at the University of Massachusetts. She spent her tenure there studying drawing and painting, as well as Theater Arts classes in Acting, Set Design, Lighting and Costume Design.

Though she enjoyed her experiences at UMASS, the winters in Amherst were a bit too cold. For her junior year in 1986, Karen decided to transfer to a the University of California, Santa Cruz. After moving to the west, though still taking art classes, she shifted her focus of study to Film and Video Production, earning a BA degree in 1988. After graduation, Karen spent the next few years working in the Bay Area in Film and Video, until she met the glassblowers at San Jose State.

Although Karen had worked in a variety of art forms, she had no experience working with hot glass. In the winter of 1990, when she attended an open studio in the glass department at San Jose state, little did she know it would be a life changing experience. Dana Robbins, a graduate student and Teaching Assistant in the glass program, was demonstrating the art of glass blowing with his classmates at the hot shop on campus. Karen was immediately intrigued by Dana and his talents. Before she knew it, she was capturing the glass students on video, working with hot molten glass. As her passion for glassblowing increased, so did her opportunities to work closely with glass. The instructor of the class, Mary White who was co-coordinator of the conference, asked Karen to videotape all the demonstrations at the Glass Art Society annual event in June of 1994.

Her exposure to this art form was continually building until finally Karen decided she wanted to learn how to blow glass. In the summer of 1995, Karen had an opportunity to attend 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 adventure at Pilchuck was so influential, it motivated a career change from producing videos to creating blown glass art. Soon after, Karen and Dana entered into a relationship and began the start of their lifelong partnership. Her trip to Pilchuck also inspired a life changing decision to move with Dana to New Mexico and build a hot shop. They decided it was time to move from an apartment in the Bay Area to Dana’s family cattle ranch in Stanley. 

It’s been over 27 years since they moved from California to New Mexico. After all this time, working together with hot glass, Dana and Karen are the best blowing partners. She does the majority of the design, shape and color selection, and assists Dana in creating 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 hot shop, 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 marriage and their business a very successful partnership.