Karen James is a largely self-taught Ceramics Artist dedicated to exploring the intersection of functionality and artistry. She received her BA in Visual Arts and English Literature at the University of Western Ontario, Canada in 1996, focusing on painting, drawing, and contemporary prose, and became a practicing visual artist for the next 25 years. As a hobby and pastime, Karen took ceramics classes at local studios in each city she lived with her family over the years. It wasn't until 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, that Karen began a focused journey in Ceramics and fell in love with the medium. Her goal is to share her approach to ceramics in an attempt to make the routines of daily life more connected to creative living.
As a Painter for most of my artistic life, one of the things I have come to discover and love about Ceramics is that it can be both functional and a source of storytelling and connection. This is a concept that motivates my current work, as I strive to balance simple forms and basic utility with the character and whimsy of my previous two-dimensional work.
In my surface designs, I favor clean lines and charming imagery, often drawing from the natural world and personal experience for inspiration. I embrace a sense of humor and the element of surprise in my illustrations, allowing even the more serious themes to be touched with lightness and approachability.
The creative process, for me, is as important as the finished piece. Sgraffito is a meditative practice that connects me intimately to each creation, producing an inherent flow to the design and a surface texture that adds to the tactile experience. My selective palette, primarily monochromatic, invites me to add splashes of color where elements of the narrative can be highlighted, further adding to the dynamic energy of the ceramic surface.
My intent is to create pieces that resonate with individuals and make the daily routines of life a little more delightful. Each ceramic piece is a celebration of the ordinary, playfully imagined, often with a touch of the fantastic. I see my work as a reminder that the objects we use every day can carry the spirit of creativity with them. That spirit of creativity is something that has the potential to connect us all.