Karen Elem received her degree in art education from the State University of New York at New Paltz. After retiring from a 37 year career teaching ceramics, sculpture, drawing and painting at Saratoga Springs High, she is now a resident studio artist at the Saratoga Clay Arts Center in Schuylerville, NY.
Karen has continued her teaching at the Clay Art Center’s “Kids and Clay” program. Her art has been included in numerous juried and invitational exhibitions. Her work received recognition as “Best in Show” in the national juried show, “Intermedia 2015” and “The Saratoga Clay Arts Center 5th Annual Member Exhibition”. Her art has found homes in private collections.
I am drawn to the medium of clay because of its flexibility and versatility. Being a lover of nature I revel that I can create something beautiful from something that is mined from our earth and which can last for hundreds of years.
Because of my studies in drawing and painting, I think of my clay vessels as three dimensional canvases upon which I can create my design ideas. Inspired by many years boating and camping on Lake George, as well as numerous trips to tropical locations, I intermingle classic pottery forms with the shapes, colors, textures and patterns found in plant and animal life. I often employ raku and saggar firing methods, in which smoke and fire, coupled with chemical and organic matter color the surface of the clay, mimicking design and patterns reminiscent of the beauty found in nature.
My journey in the making of each of my pieces gives me great peace and joy. It is my hope that my passion translates to the viewer.