Karen Karnes in front of her salt kiln, 1976.
Author Profile
Karen Karnes

"[Karen] 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." --Mark Shapiro (blog.nceca.net)

Karen Karnes (1925 - 2016) was a major icon in American craft, she wrote and was the subject of numerous articles in Studio Potter, many of which are now available to the public. 



Karen Karnes photographed by Robert F. George, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1977.
My parents immigrated to this country from Russia . . . Their background was not in art and they probably would have discouraged me if they thought I'd "end up" as an artist.
For twenty-five years I worked in my studio in Stony Point, New York, with an oil downdraft kiln which had forty five feet of packing space. For the last ten years of that time I fired mainly the forty cubic foot, natural gas salt kiln I had built.
Ram Press - Vol. 15 No.1, December 1986
My first experience with clay was in 1950. I modeled forms from which I made a press mold and produced two or three pieces. I also made models for a group of lamp bases that were reproduced by casting.