Karen Wallace

Karen Wallace

About The Artist

Karen Wallace • Columbia, MD

I create kiln-formed glass decor in brilliant colors and complex designs for people who love vibrant color and luscious lines. Whether it’s a modern-day take on the traditional murrine construction of 16th century Murano, Italy, or carefully-engineered flowing and mingling, I enjoy creating special glass components and then designing vessels and wall hangings around them. Elements of a finished piece have frequently undergone several firings on their way to the final artwork.


Artist website

Q&A with the Artist

Tell us how your work is made.

Everything starts with sheets of colored glass. Techniques range from simply cutting the sheets and stacking them in geometric patterns to harnessing the liquid properties of glass to create rippling organic flows and complex patterned cane at molten temperatures. Once elements — sometimes hundreds of them — have been placed together and fused into a solid mass, I shape it with diamond-plated saws and lapidary tools and use further heat work to bend it into soft forms.

What makes you passionate about the medium you work with?

We think of glass as a clear, transparent barrier between us and the outside, the heat, the cold, the rain, the dust; preferably so colorless and flawless that it disappears. But glass can also be vibrant and full of energy, and I never tire of the transformative magic that happens in the kiln, turning cold, disparate chunks of rigid material into a flowing whole.

What is something unique about you or your practice?

I handcraft diverse individual elements that go into my final compositions in a succession of trips through the kiln, and I blend hard science like geometry, math, and chemistry with organic forms and patterns to showcase the magic of glass as a medium.