«Karen Karnes (November 17, 1925 – July 12, 2016) was an American ceramist, best known for her earth toned stoneware ceramics. She was born in 1925 in New York City, where she attended art schools for children. Her garment worker parents were Russian and Polish Jewish immigrants, and the family lived in the Bronx Coops. Karen was influenced in many ways by her parents' communist philosophies, and has professed respect for working in small communities.
In 1967, Karnes first experimented with salt-firing at a workshop at the Penland School of Crafts.Karnes' more recent work deal with contemporary vessels, which are given different attention to design than her original pottery. She still today makes many traditionally functional forms. Today Karen primarily fills her kilns with more contemporary forms, but she continues to produce casseroles, teapots, cups and bowls.
Another of her most well-known forms is the cut-lid jar, a form she first made at a workshop with Paulus Berensohn. Karnes continued to experiment with this form from the late 1960s until she stopped throwing.
Karen decided to live the rest of her life on a farm, working with clay and using old firing practices such as wood and salt firing. In 1998, her house and studio burned to the ground because of a kiln fire.With the help of donations from a large pottery sale, Karen rebuilt her country house and studio. She received a Graduate Fellowship from Alfred University, and more recently won a gold medal for the consummate craftsmanship from The American Craft Council.Her work is displayed in numerous galleries and permanent collections worldwide»