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KAREN KARNES
1925 - 2016

Jul 12, 2016




Karen Karnes  

November 1925 - July 2016 Karen Karnes passed peacefully at home on July 12th, 2016. She was a towering figure of the postwar studio pottery movement, pioneering salt-glazing in the 1960s and wood-firing in the 1980s. Her work opened undreamed of possibilities of expression for the handmade pot. For the many potters who knew her, she was a mentor whose work embodied the creative power and singular voice to which we all aspire—her life in complete harmony with her creative vision. Karen Karnes was our artist. Her outspoken honesty, wit, and physical grace were unique and irresistible. The solidarity and love for her colleagues and nurturing support for younger potters changed careers and lives. - Mark Shapiro It has been a great privilege to know and represent Karen Karnes, one of the great artists of our time. From her earliest days her work has been strong and sculptural, including her functional pieces. She followed an inner radar true to her artistic vision and could always be counted on for the truth. -Lucy Lacoste



Karen Karnes passed peacefully at home on July 12th, 2016. She was a towering figure of the postwar studio pottery movement, pioneering salt-glazing in the 1960s and wood-firing in the 1980s. Her work opened undreamed of possibilities of expression for the handmade pot. For the many potters who knew her, she was a mentor whose work embodied the creative power and singular voice to which we all aspire—her life in complete harmony with her creative vision. Karen Karnes was our artist. Her outspoken honesty, wit, and physical grace were unique and irresistible. The solidarity and love for her colleagues and nurturing support for younger potters changed careers and lives. She participated in many of the significant cultural moments of her generation, placing handmade pottery squarely in the midst of more than one avant-garde setting. Karnes was wont to speak her mind and lived by her own rules. In fact, early in her career, a customer who owned a gallery came in and asked the cost of a casserole that caught his eye at her Stony Point showroom. Hearing her response, he asked what the cost would be for a dozen. She told him that she would have to charge more for each one because she would not enjoy them as well, making so many. Her answer was like so much of how Karnes moved through the world: unforeseen. - Mark Shaipro

It has been a great privilege to know and represent Karen Karnes, one of the great artists of our time. From her earliest days her work has been strong and sculptural, including her functional pieces. She followed an inner radar true to her artistic vision and could always be counted on for the truth. -Lucy Lacoste