Robyn's Nest Pottery


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Meet the Artist

  • About This Artist

    Karen McKee is a studio potter working primarily in porcelain for over fifteen years. She has been attracted to clay for quite some time but returned to seriously making pots in 2005. In addition to using the wheel, she also includes slab construction and various glazing techniques. The use of Mishima (a Korean technique of incising design into clay), stencils and glazing applications can be found in her work. All design work is hand painted with underglazes and a final glaze application is applied to insure food safety.

    McKee is inspired by taking a ball of clay and watching it take shape into a mug or dish, casserole or teapot. There are so many ways to explore this medium whether functional or sculptural. Patterns and imagery, color and line can be found on her pots weaving nature into and around her pieces. She creates backgrounds using stamps and underglazes. Birds, bees, flowers and hummers find their way onto her pots in lively brushwork and color.

    McKee is always open to learning different techniques with clay. She has taken workshops at Touchstone Center for Crafts and has been influenced by the styles of many potters including Jen Allen, Christy Culp, Dan Vito, Ben Carter, Sarah Anderson and Carole Epp.

    It is her hope that her pieces will be used as they are intended—serving, drinking and cooking, from her hands to yours, an offering.

  • Q&A With This Artist

    A: All work is created by me using various methods, including wheel and hand building, glazing and underglazing as well as brushwork. My designs create a rich but subtle background, leaving the main design to be seen clearly and prominently. I use porcelain clay, fire in an electric kiln to 2232 degrees.

    A: The sheer joy and wonderment of watching my hands create beauty from mud sums up my passion for this medium. Adding to that is the joy it brings to the person who purchases my work. This is an important and vital connection - an offering from my hand to yours.

    A: My business is named after my daughter who had a brain injury when she was four. There were many people who came into our home to help with her behaviors and life skills. One special woman, Migdalia loved to watch me interact with my daughter and with my clay. One day she said, "Karen, there is always something good happening at the Robyn's Nest." My eyes shone as I told her that she had just named my business!

    A: Each time I open my kiln it is like getting a beautiful gift. In this moment all the design flaws, imperfections or struggles with my clay body float away. I'm truly grateful I am able to create pieces that bring pleasure to so many people.

    A: There have been two people that have inspired me throughout my journey with clay. Carol Monsebroten first introduced me to clay in 1970. She was an established potter, while I just played in her studio from time to time. She went on to make beautiful pottery, some of which I still have. I went on to make beautiful babies before returning full time to clay and honing my craft. Carol would send interesting articles to inspire me as I worked through different bodies of work and was always a phone call away to hash out difficult imagery or glazing applications.

    The second person who has influenced me is Christy Culp. She has been with me through my ups and downs, periods of doubt and periods of pure joy! I have been able to rely on her as a sounding board if my work wasn't accepted into a show. I've also been able to celebrate with her when my work has been accepted! She has been a source of inspiration and love as I continue to perfect my craft.

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