Having parents who also worked in the arts, it was no surprise that Karen discovered at an early age that she was interest in creating art. She loved working with her hands, making things and playing with lots of color. Drawing, painting and sculpting, she continued to explore a variety of mediums from the time she was able to hold a paintbrush and crayons through high school. Deciding on a career direction in the arts, Karen began college in 1984 at the University of Massachusetts, where she studied Theatre Arts, Acting, Set Design, Lighting and Costume Design at their state of the art Performing Arts Center.
Though she enjoyed the classes she was enrolled in, the winters in Amherst proved to be too cold. In 1986, Karen decided to transfer to the University of California, Santa Cruz. After moving west she shifted focus in her studies. California had better opportunities to work in film, so Karen changed her major to Film & Video Production. After completing her studies, Karen earned a BA degree from UC Santa Cruz in 1988. She then spent the next several years in the Bay Area working in the Production industry.
Although Karen had worked in a variety of art forms, she had no experience working with hot glass until she met her future husband Dana at San Jose State University in 1990. He was demonstrating glass blowing with his class mates at an art department open studio. Karen was immediately intrigued and enamored by Dana and his talents. Before she knew it, she was capturing all the students on video, working with hot molten glass. Soon after, the glass instructor asked Karen to videotape all the demonstrations at the Glass Art Society annual conference in June of 1994.
As her interest and passion for glass increased, 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 word renowned, 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 to move with her husband to the country and build a hot shop! A physical move from living in an apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area to living Dana’s family cattle ranch in rural New Mexico.
It has been over 25 years since the move from California took place. Over many years of working together with hot glass, 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 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 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.